While I do not feel that any of these issues are least important, I will explain what needs to occur first and why.
1. Increase the number of public safety personnel. In a recent economic development assessment class I took, it was very specific on public safety issues that are promotional points for your area. The number of police officers on your force and how many patrol cars available were high on the questionnaire. Crime statistics were noted as well. The question regarding how many full time firefighters and what is your city’s ISO were also top on the list of important questions retail developers ask before entering into your area. The ISO determines insurance rates set forth in your area. The higher the number the higher your insurance premiums. Not only is this important for future growth in the commercial aspect, but it also a major factor in restoring home values. The most important aspect, it keeps our citizens safe and comfortable in their homes and community; therefore, they want to keep their residence in La Vergne and future buyers will put La Vergne top on their list of places to move to.
2. Economic Development. In order to create a positive environment in this city, we must create a better revenue source. Number 1 and 2 go hand in hand. I have proven we must have number 1 to get number 2, but we need new commercial development to help finance the public safety program as well as the other needs of the city. With economic development comes my number 3.
3. Job Growth. When new jobs are created, more revenue is brought into your area. Citizens begin to make money and they begin to settle back down into their comfortable homes and begin to care about what is once again theirs. The recession caught a lot of residents off guard. People were laid off and homes were lost. Hopefully, a new council will come into play in November that will work together to seek out new opportunities that will create new jobs. Thus bringing home values up.
4. Explore and implement ways to restore home values in La Vergne. If you will notice, number 1 thru 3 is a beginning to help this very important issue. We MUST do a major cleaning of La Vergne. I want our current ordinances followed and I want the new council to begin work on strengthening certain ordinances that will clean up how we present our city to future residents as well as future commercial development. I want ALL developers held to high standards and I do not want corners cut to make a quick buck at our city’s expense. Right now, the city has had to pay for roads, water line problems etc. that should have been done by developers. Because of bond issues, the city has had to foot the majority of the bill to correct or finish roads in certain subdivisions. Someone always has to pay in the end and I am tired of it being our taxpayers.
5. Tax reform. If we can implement the 4 items above I feel that we can overcome any major tax increases and citizens can live a very comfortable life in this Great city. I also want a major forensic audit done to make sure all funds, equipment etc. in all departments are where they should be. I think this is generally good idea if new council goes in because the books would start fresh and anything after the audit the new council would be held totally accountable.
6. Work with county to build new high school. This is last on the list not because it is least important, but because it is our school board member’s job to fight that battle; however with that said, it is our job to support him and go to meetings and stand up for our children. I know all about this area as I started in 1994 fighting for the schools that we now have in La Vergne. As I finish with question number 1, you will notice it is all one big circle that makes it all work
QUESTION 2: Do you believe property taxes should be increased in La Vergne?
As long as we have the same administration in city hall, I will never vote for an increase in property taxes until I can prove with out a doubt where every single penny is going and prove to the citizens that all employees and department heads are doing their jobs; therefore, reducing the major pay outs in law suits. We are going to have to spend a little money in order to get question number 1 off and running. In order to sell your home for full price, it must be in good condition and everything working right. Same theory holds true for promoting your city to future commercial development and future residents. We are going to have to spend money on upgrading our water and sewer to areas that have potential for this type of growth. Should a tax increase ever happen, I would prove where every penny of an increase would be going.
QUESTION 3. What is the highest level of education you have completed?
• I attended the University of Tennessee at Martin for 3 years. With 82 credit hours. 1978-1981
• I have over 75+ hours with MTAS which includes all 3 levels of elected officials
• Have completed courses with Federal Emergency Management Agency: IS-100 Intro to Incident Command System, IS-200 Resourses and Initial Action Incidents, IS-700 National Incident Management System, IS-800 National Response Plan, ICS-300 Intermediate ICS for Expanding Incidents, Only current elected official with ICS-400 Advanced ICS Command and General Staff, ICS Overview for Executives/Senior Officials
• Tennessee Emergency Management Agency over 60 hours of CERT Training (Community Emergency Response Team)
• State of Tennessee Fire Service and Codes Enforcement Academy 4 hours in Power and Duties of the Planning comm. And Board of Zoning Appeals
QUESTION 4. Many of La Vergne’s Problems have been caused by decisions made by past elected officials and poor administration. While we can’t change the past, we can address past mistakes in order to build a better future. What would you do to restore La Vergne’s good reputation as a desirable place to buy homes, raise families, and entice more jobs?
I know I am repeating some things but they deserve to be repeated. We must start with a fresh face in administration. I feel the city leaders set the tone for the city’s environment. When employees are made to feel inferior to their surroundings and superiors, respect is lost and this shows in their job performance thus reflecting into the community. I want our employees to enjoy their jobs and to feel appreciated by all; therefore, causing the ripple effect to transpire. I would implement performance evaluations for all employees, department heads, and city administrator. We, as city employees are a service to the citizens and must realize that the tax payers are truly our boss. I want any future department heads and the city administrator to reside within the city limits of La Vergne. When the department heads have to live with the decisions that they make, some of those decisions would be different. If they are spending tax payer’s money, they would be spending their tax money; therefore, they would be watching it a little closer. People always want their home town to be the very best! Now, I want it to be said that I think we have great employees. Current department heads that are doing their job would not be made to move into the city; however, if and when they leave their position, I want to see it passed that the new department head would be required to live with in La Vergne. I want politics removed from running the city and the departments allowed to do their job. Ethics will be put into our city government. We have a wonderful diverse environment in our city and I want everyone to be treated equally. I have always treated people how I want to be treated and I expect the same from our staff. Everyone follows the same rules and regulations. Next, I want the community to feel welcome at the city hall and at meetings. I would love to change how the citizen’s comments are handled. I want my citizens to have an open voice and feel that what they have to say is important. No more hidden agendas. I want our city government to be completely open and the citizens kept well informed. I would love to see all workshops, meetings, and budget hearings etc. shown on channel 3 that are not currently shown. I want a professional atmosphere established within this city and the highest of standards set forth. When you expect perfection, you will receive perfection. When you act professionally, you are treated professionally.
QUESTION 5. Why should I vote for you?
Answer: You should vote for me because I am in it for all the right reasons. I want to see that the needs of the citizens of La Vergne are met with integrity and honesty. I have proven time and time again the love that I have for this community and the residents that live here. All are equal in my eyes. I do what I do from the heart and I spend my time studying and trying to learn as much as I can to help this city head in the right direction. What you see with me is what you get. In this election, I can not stand and draw this big beautiful picture that the day I might be elected everything is going to automatically be perfect and all right with the world, but I can promise you one thing. I promise to do my job to the very best of my ability and never back down from getting this city back on the right track.