Bedford is not perfect but it is home. It is where we lay our heads and night, and it is the community that we chose to raise our children in. It is safe, it is clean and it is central. We are a great community– a great community whose better days are ahead! I take this responsibility with all sincerity. People trust me to make the same common sense decisions they would if they were sitting on the dias. They also trust me to ask the tough and sometimes uncomfortable questions. I am not afraid to do either. Shannon and I also feel that it is important to give back to the community that helped raise us. The way I look at it, this is my way of repaying a debt someone paid before me. In doing so, and if elected for a third term on the City Council I will work for the following initiatives:
Fight for local control of the city budget. State officials who ran on “local control” are now seeking to control local budgets. Although their fight in some instances and other cities might have merit, I am the one responsible to you when it comes to our city budget. They do not know the intricacies of our local finances. You do, and if it gets out of control, you throw people like me out of office. I will continue to fight for true local control, and I will continue to fight for a city budget that keeps the tax rate in line as well as preserves the philosophy of “cash customers” for short term capital items.
Strategic Planning. Without a roadmap, it is easy to get lost. The council has not put together a strategic plan in at least 2 years. We have met in “work sessions” and discussed lofty goals, but we have not put pen to paper and charted our progress. We need a checklist and metrics so that we can prove to you that we have done our jobs. I have called for a strategic planning session, and I will continue to push hard on our mayor to get that meeting called.
Residential Revitalization. We are often asked by businesses “shopping” for new locations what incentives we can offer. Many times these agreements center on sales or property tax rebates or a reduction or waiver of building permit fees. I want to take similar action when it comes to renewing our residential home stock. I will propose a plan with the following basic criteria: If you purchase a home, demolish it, and build a new home your city property taxes will be “frozen” for a period of 5 years regardless of the increase in value. After the 5th year, you pay the current rate on your property’s assessed value. I would also work with other tax jurisdictions to see if they will match our agreement. This program will spur a residential building boom in Bedford.
Phase Next – Bedford Boys Ranch. Phase 1 is complete and everyone is in agreement that it is spectacular. The disappointing part is the remainder of the park. I will be a leader in smart responsible planning as we come to you, seek your input, and ask for the funds necessary to complete the Boys Ranch revitalization.
Bedford Commons. A plan that has been 3 years in the making seems to garner progress and then progress stops. I owe it to you for you to be better informed about this development and its progress. This will be a tremendous catalyst for Bedford’s economic future. This project will give Bedford a “downtown” and will serve as a hub for the arts, for living, for pleasure and for commerce. I will continue to be your advocate for this project and one of its strategic thinkers as we move forward and break ground soon!
External Communications. I will continue to press our staff into opening their horizons when it comes to the way the city communicates with you and the world. There are untapped, restricted funds, which can be used for marketing our city. I envision a small “studio” in which councilmembers, our mayor, staff, board and commission members can reach out directly to you to tell you what is going on in our city. This includes upgrading our council presentations, moving our video stream to HD, making our televised meetings actually viewable and able to be heard. I also envision production quality mobile cameras to capture our exterior events and other things going on around town. If we want to reach people, we have to go to them, and that is usually in their living room or on their computer. The least we could do is make those presentations presentable and professional.