Friday, October 30, 2009

Kerry Gauthier

Fourth District - vote for one
See questionnaire here.

1. Sidewalks
The City does have an ordinance requiring residents to shovel their walks during the winter months. I believe that the City should find ways to inform people of their responsibility to do so through community announcements and other public relation tools. Many of our neighbors are physically unable to clear their walks, especially after a winter storm. It would be my hope as good neighbors we would help each other out. Unfortunately, there are some individuals who will not fulfill their responsibility to clear their walk. We will need to make efforts to get their cooperation through encouragement, warnings and in the end enforce the ordinance.
2. Recycling laws, overflowing garbage containers
Again, I believe we need to make people aware of our recycling laws and our garbage ordinance. It is not possible for the city to spend time making sure everyone is following the ordinances. Therefore, it will become more important for neighbors to develop positive relationships and encourage compliance. The City could promote compliance through issuing flyers in the water and gas bill and also request or require solid waste companies to insert information in their billing to customers.
3. Skunks, birds and animal control
It is unfortunate that we do not have the resources to implement an animal control program to deal with skunks and other troublesome animals. Residents need to be reminded that they need to take measures to secure their waste / garbage.
4. Sale of small liquor bottles and single cigarettes
I believe that selling of individual cigarettes may be illegal as all cigarette packages must have a tobacco stamp. I will need to investigate what limitations that state law places on selling such things as individual cigarettes and small bottles of alcohol.
5. Dealing with less state support
The City finds itself in a financial crisis caused by Governor Pawlenty’s misuse of unallotment authority. As a result the City has cut positions and raised taxes. I believe we can not afford any further cuts to city services. We are required by law to balance the budget. Therefore, it will be important for the city to be creative in finding new revenue streams. Raising taxes should be a measure of last resort.
6. Economic development in Central and East Hillside and Lincoln Park
If elected, my intention is to call upon the administration to develop a process for formulating a long range economic development plan. This plan should build upon the reorganization that has been done in city hall, the comprehensive plan and the upcoming uniform zoning code. The economic development plan should also build on our strengths such as being a regional health care center, higher education, aviation, shipping and tourism. It will be crucial to have citizen input in developing this plan. The administrations efforts to be more user friendly to development should cut the time it takes to complete projects and create jobs. Any tax incentives that the city can use for economic development, such as Tax Incremental Financing (TIF), should only be used for those developers that are willing to provide full time jobs with living wages and benefits, such as health care. It is important to promote an attitude of being good community members by developers and the city. It is important that bringing new good paying jobs will take time and require all of us to be proactive.