My Priorities

"Let's BUILD A Better Westfield Together"

"Living in a growing community is a blessing, but also presents challenges and opportunities. Keeping in mind that all homeowners will pay a 1% property tax, plus approved school referendums, it becomes incumbent on elected officials to list their priorities for taxpayers and be accountable for adhering to those priorities. Here are the priorities I will keep in mind as we work to have Westfield become the best place possible to live, raise a family and even live in retirement."

Priority One - Public Safety

Public safety is the highest priority that elected officials can have for their community. We must continue to have the best fire and police departments possible that includes salary, training, and the equipment needed to maximize their ability to serve the citizens. We must keep the great people that we have and also have the ability to attract the best, as we continue to grow. But public safety is more than fire and police--safe, well-maintained streets, sidewalks and trails are also important issues. Crumbling infrastructure projects a poor image and is a safety issue. Once you get behind in preventative maintenance and equipment replacement, it becomes more expensive to catch up

Priority Two - Maximizing Resources

Maximizing resources to ensure Westfield has all of the taxpayer money that it is due. Tax rates do not impact tax bills. The rates of the City, school, library, etc are all added together to create a denominator. Each individual tax rate is then divided by this denominator to determine the approximate amount each will receive, subject to limitations imposed by the Department of Local Government Finance. Whatever is not collected by the individual taxing authorities or is in excess of what the state allows, goes to the County. Thus, if you lower the City tax rate, the City will receive a smaller amount, but the savings does not go back to taxpayers, but goes to the County. Therefore, your tax dollars are not spent by Westfield, but by the County. I believe Westfield tax dollars should be spent in Westfield for the benefit of Westfield citizens. Any candidate for council who says they will lower tax rates to lower bills does not understand municipal finance.

Priority Three - Strategic Planning

We need to develop a strategic plan to guide our spending and to communicate to developers and citizens the direction the City is headed. The City needs to facilitate the development of this plan with our citizens. But even more importantly, the City needs to report the progress to the citizens on a regular basis as well as posting that progress in an easily accessible place on the City website. The more transparency, the greater the likelihood for developing trust.

Priority Four - Working Together

Working with each other, the schools, the library, the township and the county. The City can do things that impact other taxing authorities. Working together doesn't mean agreeing with everything, but working to understand and find the best solution for any challenge. Elected officials need to talk and discuss items in a civil and open manner. The negative publicity Westfield has received from the media about the behavior at council meetings tarnishes our reputation and image, and likely has a horrible impact on corporations who may be looking to expand into Westfield. Working TOGETHER on whatever challenges come our way is how we solve those challenges.