Why are you running for office?
A. Noblesville needs to be more competitive. We compete with suburban communities all over the nation for jobs and people and we must distinguish ourselves by doing a better job of building our community. The contrast between Noblesville and other Hamilton County communities is striking and it’s because we suffer from a lack of visionary leadership. We’ve planned the work, now we have to do a better job of working the plan. We have a Comprehensive Plan, an Economic Development Plan, an Alternative Transportation Plan and more. They are good plans, we need better execution.
B. We need to recognize and deal with today’s economic reality. For the first time in many years, the city is operating under a deficit budget in 2015. We plan to spend more this year than we take in. That’s not a disaster but it’s also not sustainable. I don’t believe the current mayor is prepared to make the tough choices needed in this new economic reality that resulted from a recession and state mandated tax caps. This is the mayor that shortly after being re-elected asked for a 10% pay increase for himself while the rest of the city workers received 2.5%. We need someone more in tune with reality.
C. We need some fresh ideas in City Hall. All organizations: business, government, non-profit, religious, benefit from an occasional infusion of new blood. After ten years, especially when the mayor has funded the candidacies of half the city council, inertia takes hold, people start doing things by rote and stop asking good questions. Elected public service isn’t meant to be a career. Politicians should give their best for one or two terms, leave things better than they found them, and step aside for a new generation. This administration is well-beyond its freshness date. It’s time for a change.
What are your qualifications for the office you are seeking?
I bring a wealth of business experience to this job, having managed large and small operations, from advertising departments in newspapers at the nation’s largest corporations (Lee Enterprises, Gannett) to publishing a newspaper for a small family-owned business (Schurz Corporation) to running my own small business for the past seven years. I have lived in a brand new house in a brand new subdivision (Noble West) and in one of the city’s oldest neighborhoods, and I understand the concerns of both constituencies. Most of the businesses on the square are my customers. I volunteer for a variety of non-profits, including the Noblesville Preservation Alliance, HAND, Noblesville Main Street, Noblesville Chamber of Commerce, the Boys & Girls Club and the former Promising Futures. I am a Rotarian. I am plugged into the community in many ways and know the concerns of a variety of residents in town. My business (publishing the Hamilton County Business Magazine) takes me into other Hamilton County communities and I can bring a collaborative spirit that’s necessary to thrive in the 21st Century. I have a vision for Noblesville’s future that is missing from the current administration. I recognize the factors that make our city so appealing and I want to enhance and improve them. I bring a vision for the future with a respect for the past that will serve us well as we further develop our downtown and the outskirts of Noblesville. Finally, I bring fresh ideas and new perspective that every organization needs from time to time.
What would you like to accomplish while in office?
I would like to energize the effort to invest in our downtown, especially the initiative to expand across the river. We have plans for a new park on the west side and we will be living with the results of decisions being made right now. After attending some public meetings I am not confident that the current administration has a clear vision for what the west side should be. I have ideas about that and would like to make sure the west side is developed properly. I would like to develop more trails that work as transportation options as opposed to just recreational opportunities. We need to do a better job of connecting our trails and making sure they go places where people live, work and shop.I would like to change the culture in City Hall to have healthy respect for our built environment. We have signs posted all over town that we are a “Preserve America” community but this administration has shown a disregard for historic preservation. The city itself tears down buildings that change the character of our neighborhoods , permits developers to tear them down without regard to their historic significance, and is often late to the table when our historic landmarks are being threatened. I will improve that track record and make sure we are living up to our “Preserve America” designation. I will step up the effort to accomplish the goals outline di or Comprehensive Plan. They are ambitious but we aren’t making sufficient progress.
How do you define fiscal responsibility?
Fiscal responsibility entails being a good steward of the public’s financial resources, ensuring we have a dependable revenue stream and effective cost control. Our tax revenues are precious and the administration must ensure that we are using them as efficiently as possible. Although the city isn’t a business, government should employ the discipline required to run a business. That is, make sure your expenses don’t exceed your revenues, squeeze the value out of every dollar, and invest prudently without exposing the city to unreasonable risk. The city of Noblesville is operating under a deficit budget this year. Although that’s not catastrophic, it also isn’t sustainable and we will correct that in the first year of my administration. The tax caps imposed by the state have put new pressures on municipalities to run themselves efficiently. We must make it a priority to find new revenue streams or maximize those in place. One major strategy must be to recruit more businesses so the tax burden doesn’t fall so heavily on residents. We have the second highest municipal tax rate in the county; the revenue should be there to run our city effectively. Cost containment, balanced budgets and a diverse tax base will be the keys to effective fiscal management.
What will you do to promote transparency to the citizens when you are in office?
I am a professional communicator. I own and publish magazines; transparency is ingrained in my professional DNA. I approach this opportunity as an average citizen with nothing to hide and every intention of shining a bright light on the workings of city government. That’s one advantage of switching executives from time to time. A fresh outlook reveals the flaws of previous administrations and provides an opportunity to reset old and tired policies. Among my ideas to improve communication with the public.
-I will maintain good collaborative relationships with other stakeholders in our city, many of which I am already connected with.
-I will respect the watchdog role of our local press and make every effort to keep information flowing.
-We will use social media and other technology to stay in touch with constituents.
-I will institute regular meetings with the business community to stay abreast of their concerns and assure them that the city is interested in their welfare.
-I will remain visible in the community, interacting with formal and informal social and business groups in an effort to stay connected.
-I will attend neighborhood association meetings.