Monday, July 6, 2015

Syracuse is great place to live!

Syracuse is doing well. It has been a pleasure to serve in such a remarkable city for the past 3 1/2 years.

We still have some challenges ahead. I, with the majority of the current council, have dedicated over $10 million to infrastructure in Syracuse. We are still catching up. In March of this year city staff completed a city-wide 1-5 year capital projects plan. The estimated cost for all projects in the 5 year plan is around $20 million. While we may not be able to complete all of the proposed projects on the list within 5 years. But next to public safety in importance, infrastructure and public works is a vital function of government. Functional infrastructure is also integral to business support.

Four years ago when I ran for city council, I advocated against bonding and raising taxes or fees to pay for infrastructure needs. During my time on the council, we have allocated over $10 million to much needed infrastructure projects with no new bonds or taxes. I will continue to prioritize and allocate funds to our ongoing infrastructure needs while maintaining and working to improve our healthy fiscal balance.

I will continue to work hard to ensure that our local government is responsive to the citizens it serves, create positive economic development and growth, increase and defend individual property rights, build collaborative relationships with other elected officials and governing bodies, and maintain our community values.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Thank you, Syracuse!

I appreciate all the support and work my team put in.
My message has been about the meat of the issues we face and the best solutions we can implement. I believe my message resonated with the residents of Syracuse and I look forward to carrying on the work I began. I hope that as my fellow citizens, you will continue to communicate your ideas and concerns to me and the other members of our newly elected and current governing body.
Here are the election results:
Karianne Lisonbee     1498   22.59%
Craig A Johnson         1438   21.69%
Daniel Schuler            978     14.75%
Douglas J Peterson    974     14.69%
Alan L Clark               912     13.76%
Matthew D Ocana      803     12.11%

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Sunday, August 7, 2011

We must repair and maintain our roads, but I am against the "road maintenance" fee and bond that the Mayor and Council are proposing.

Here is the latest power point by the city (linked from the homepage of the city website)

Long-term costs for road repair are estimated at around $12 on a 5 - 10 year plan.  

Currently the plan to meet these costs consists of a $3,000,000, 10 year bond at a cost of $500,000 in interest plus fees. The payment at current interest rates will be $350,000/year. The B&C road fund sits at around $650,000/ year. The current budget has appropriated $311,000 from the B&C to pay for equipment, wages and benefits of street employees for the upcoming year. If we bond, the rest of the B&C funds will go to the payment on the bond.

At the August 9th Council meeting the Mayor and City Manager talked about assessing an $8.00 road maintenance fee.  The City Manager said that the fee will make a significant dent in the total projected cost. But the numbers point to the need to bond again in the future or raise taxes and/or fees again to cover the cost for long-term maintenance of our roads. Instead of the "tax, borrow and spend" plan we need to cut spending and stop borrowing.

Monday, July 18, 2011

My latest article informing citizens of the proposed "Road Maintenance Fee" in the Islander

Non-government option for building communities
Subheadline: An interview with Saratoga Springs Mayor, Mia Love

There are good things that communities want—a city rec center and pool—a state-of-the-art playground—a modern library—etc. But these wants compete with economic realities. How should communities pay for these wants? Some cities attempt to close the gap through more government (e.g., taxes, fees, bonds, etc.). Others approach this problem with ideas and methods that recall the past.

Recently, I heard Mia Love, Mayor of Saratoga Springs, Utah speak. Her ideas on the role of government in growing communities seemed to be a refreshing return to a not-so-distant era. I interviewed her to find out more. In this article, I relate my interview with Mayor Love and compare her story from Saratoga Springs to the current proposal by Syracuse City to raise funds through bonding and a fee.

My article informing Citizens of the proposed tax increase in the Islander

Syracuse Officials Propose a 28% Tax Increase
Public hearing on the proposed budget changes is set for June 14
Nobody likes taxes, but some are necessary. This year, Syracuse residents face a possible 28% tax increase. Expected revenue from the proposed increase is around $450,000 per year.
City Manager Robert Rice said, “All that money, every bit of it, will go directly to road repair.” He added that Syracuse also gets Class B and C road funds from the state to assist with road work. Rice explained that this increase would amount to an average of about $75 per year, per household. He said, “For 20 cents a day, you’re going to get significant improvement in the roads.”
Class B and C road funds from the state are to be used strictly for roads. Prior to the current mayor and council, these funds were diverted to pay wages, fund the move from a part-time to a full-time fire department, and other expenditures. Mayor Nagle explained, “These decisions created a structural imbalance within our budget wherein one-time money was used to pay for ongoing needs.”
With our road funds depleted, the mayor and council seek to cover the shortfall through a tax increase. Mr. Rice said that, in two years, the city “will reevaluate and look at how other revenue is catching up.” If there is no improvement in revenue, the extra tax may stay in place.