In 2013, your donations, your support made it possible for me to serve as Kalamazoo's Vice Mayor for the first time. I was grateful for the opportunity and have worked steadily to strengthen Kalamazoo's fiscal framework and build toward a solid future for our region.
I am running for re-election to the City Commission to keep working toward that goal and ask you to join me at this pivotal time for Kalamazoo.
As a City, the biggest challenge we face right now is the structural disconnect between the cost for basic operations and available revenue. Revenue is not growing fast enough to support expenses. As a City Commissioner, my response has been to advocate both careful stewardship of resources and creative, practical responses to maintaining core services.
But each year that we pave fewer streets or repair fewer sidewalks or lay off more public safety officers or close parks, we run the risk of making Kalamazoo a less desirable place to live.
We need to find a balanced solution that seeks efficiencies and identifies funding opportunities - the kind that will support high quality City services today and tomorrow. I believe that the work of the Blue Ribbon Task Force, the Priority-Based Budgeting process, and expanded dialogue with neighboring cities, towns and townships will identify approaches to stabilize City revenue.
When all is said and done, the viability and appeal of Kalamazoo is central to the economic health of the region. As we manage fiscal challenges, my focus will continue to be supporting ideas and investments that ensure thriving neighborhoods and a vibrant downtown.
Whether you vote by absentee ballot or at the polls on Tuesday, November 3, I am grateful for your commitment to Kalamazoo.