There's a lot of concern from city residents about activities on Jackson and State Street. Do you consider those streets problem areas and if so, what should be done about them?
Yes, I do consider sections of Jackson Street and State Street problematic. Safe neighborhoods are a crucial priority for our city. I would add that there are other streets in the city that are also cause for concern. I support the use of regular police partner foot patrols in the most troubled neighborhoods. Given that we pay Genesee County taxes in addition to our city taxes, we should seek and utilize support from the Genesee County Sheriff's Department also.
What level of code enforcement do you favor to deal with seemingly problem properties?
I don't accept the premise that we should have different levels of code enforcement. If a property owner is in violation of city code, he/she should be afforded reasonable notice to rectify the violation or be cited as per the code.
How should garbage collection be handled in Batavia?
It is clear to me at this point that the city does not need to be in the trash collection business or involved in any service that can be provided for effectively and efficiently by the private sector. Certainly, the city shouldn't be providing trash totes with tracking chips to local residents. Let's leave the trash tote business to the stores that sell them. Furthermore, I never quite understood how our cost for the use of a trash collection service should be connected to our property assessments.
Why should those owning homes of a higher assessed value be forced to subsidize the cost of garbage collection for those homeowners with lower assessments? Lets keep in mind that many of those higher valued homes, paying the biggest portion are our senior citizens living on fixed incomes. When the city taxpayer picks up the tab for trash removal we create a dis-incentive to recycling and subtly encourage less responsible management of solid waste. All that being said, my wife and I chose to remain customers of ARC. But, it was our choice. We believe in the mission of the agency. Choice improved the existing system and allowed people to tailor trash removal according to their specific needs.
I don't agree with the rhetoric about too many trucks on the streets and garbage piling up all over the city. The change in trash collection has promoted new businesses and employment opportunities. Competition and choice should be welcomed. Council candidates promising a return to a city run mandated trash service have neglected the reality that this would require voiding all of the private trash removal contracts currently in effect with local providers. Furthermore, those candidates should recognize and publicly acknowledge that they are running on a platform that if realized would likely put new trash service providers out of business.
What should be the city's role in economic and job development be in Batavia?
I do not support economic development corporations. Providing tax breaks and incentives for some while excluding others seems patently unfair. Growing bureaucracy in order to counteract the negative tax effects of an already too large and intrusive government seems counter intuitive. Whenever we as citizens give an unregulated EDC the power to grant financial favors we encourage cronyism and pay to play political patronage.
If the choice came down to either A) raising taxes and maintaining the city's own police department and/or fire department; or, B) consolidating police protection with the city or going to some form of volunteer fire department, which option would you choose?
One need only look around the city and county to realize that we have far too many government owned buildings and too much duplication of services.The vision for the future has to be SHARED SERVICES. We do not have the luxury of raising taxes. Our city, surrounding towns and villages and the county of Genesee need to work cooperatively to share the expense for those services that are important to our safety and well being. If I must choose, I choose option B.
Are you satisfied with how the city is run? Are there changes you would like to make? If you were going to change one thing about how the city operates, what would it be?
I believe that every single member of city council genuinely cares about our city. I don't feel they have all taken the opportunity to regularly communicate with voters and develop a shared vision for our future. City Council should be providing a vision, one crafted with direct input from the people. Our city manager's job is to provide the guidance and expertise to turn our shared vision into a plan for action. My observation in regularly attending council meetings is that too often the vision and direction is coming from the city manager to the council. We need more transparency and trust and less top down management at city hall.
Why did you decide to run for City Council?
I decided to run for City Council because I believe that we need new ideas on City Council. I don't profess that I have all the answers but I won't be afraid to ask questions. I bring a new libertarian perspective that isn't always shared by my democrat and republican friends. But debate on the issues is healthy. I intend to offer people a responsive, transparent voice on city government. I am not a lifelong politician and I don't intend to become one. I run for City Council to be of service to a city I love, not for my own greater glory. I would appreciate your vote of support on November 5th and beyond.