This is a really good question. I honestly do not think that any one of these are more or less important than the other. Now here is why, in order to do anything we must have the Public Safety of our citizens where it needs to be. The rest all go hand in hand. In order to have job growth, we need Public Safety and ISO ratings lowered to make our city look enticing for retail jobs. If we get more jobs in our city then this will help restore home values by having people who live in our city back to work. There again it is going to all fall back on Public Safety to have enough officers on the street to control the gangs and violence in town so that people who are looking into moving their business into our city will know it is a safe place to work and live. At this point, the taxes are very important because we need the money to fund the Public Safety Officers, but it does not help if we are spending our money in other cities. Sure we need a new High School and we have a new school board member who lives in La Vergne now. We as a council should work closely with him/her to represent our city and our need for a new high school. I have heard that there was one approved to be built that will take some students from La Vergne, Smyrna and Blackman so that will help some.
QUESTION 2: Do you believe property taxes should be increased in La Vergne?
At this point I can not answer yes or no. All I have to go by so far is the city budget I paid for. If elected I would like to do some research on where our money is going and see if there are any areas where we could cut back and save some money and not have to raise the taxes. If I had been given a more detailed budget then my answer may be no. There are multiple areas I have questions about that could save the city money. First would be the water treatment plant. The way I understand it is the city owns it and pays for the chemicals, but then turns around and pays a company to run it. My figures may not be correct, but I think that is somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 million dollars. If we are really paying for the chemicals and own the plant why don’t we just hire someone to run it and a couple of helpers. I have been told that the city contracts out to have city hall and some other properties mowed and the price of doing this is between $18,000 and $30,000. It can not be found in the budget anywhere. I know it is mowed by someone other than the city because I have seen them doing it. They could be doing it out of the goodness in their heart but I doubt it. The city provides insurance to the employees which I think is great! But has anyone shopped around to see if they could get the same insurance coverage at a lower rate? These are just a few of the ideas I have. These all may have been addressed and studied already and we may be getting all of these services as cheap as possible. If we did raise taxes I feel like we could do as many other cities do and raise it for a determined amount of time and go back and reevaluate it and see if it would be possible to lower it once the city was financially stable again. I will only vote to raise taxes when I have been shown there is no other option.
QUESTION 3. What is the highest level of education you have completed?
My education started with EMT school in 1992 while I was a Senior in high school. That was a 6 month course at night. Then in 1995 I attended Paramedic school which was about 18 months long and required multiple training hours on top of class work. Now in order to keep these certifications I must attend at least 40 hours of continuing education every 2 years. Here is a list of the other classes I have had in the last 5 years:
1. NFA’s Initial response to hazardous materials: Basic Concepts July 24, 2008
2. NFA’s Initial response to hazardous material incidents: Concept implementation. August 6, 2008
3. TEMA Radiological Monitor and Instrumentation course: August 20, 2008
4. Emergency response to Terrorism: Basic Concepts: September 3, 2008
5. FEMA Introduction to the Incident Command system. ICS-100
6. FEMA Introduction to Incident Command System, ICS-100 for Healthcare/Hospitals
7. FEMA Incident Command for single resources and initial action incidents, ICS-200
8. FEMA Incident Command Systems, Intermediate for Expanding Incidents ICS 300
9. FEMA National Incident Management System, IS-700
10. FEMA National Response Framework, IS-00800b
11. FEMA Introduction to the Incident Command System, ICS-100 for Higher Education
12. Vehicle Rescue- Operations Level
13. Hazardous Materials Operations Level
14. NAACS Board of Certification for Air Medical Communication Specialist, Certified Flight Communicator
15. Advanced Cardiac Life Support
16. Pediatric Advanced Life Support
17. International Trauma Life Support
19. Pre-Hospital Trauma Life Support
20. Response to Domestic Violence
21. Emergency Vehicle Operations Course/ Vanessa K. Free Certification
22. Rope Rescue Class
Now having listed these accomplishments isn’t to toot my own horn, it was to give you an idea of the classes I take regularly. Most all of these classes require some type of recertification every 2 years, so it is difficult to just tell someone my highest level of education. There are more classes I have taken but it would really take too long to keep listing them as most are irrelevant to the position I am running for.
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 would try to work with all the council members to hopefully start at the top of the Administration and allow each and every employee to have the opportunity to do their job. Try and get the city back to where it runs itself and council members and the Mayor deal with City Government issues and stay out of daily business. I feel we would only need to step in if the City Administrator was not doing his job and that would be when we would need to look for a new one. If we can make our employees happy they will make La Vergne more desirable for everyone. We want our city to be the one everyone wants to come to work at and live in, not to be the city you start in and leave.
QUESTION 5. Why should I vote for you?
I feel you should vote for me because I am willing to listen and research decisions that involve each and everyone of us that live and work in La Vergne. I am honest and hardworking. I have to make quick decisions on a daily basis that involve fast thinking and peoples lives. I try to study and research as much as possible before I am required to make a decision . I do make mistakes at times but I am not too hard headed to admit when I do. I want to be someone that you will see on the street and know you can stop and tell me if you have a problem. I volunteer a lot of time to the city already and feel that if elected I would be able to devote more time to the place I call home. I want to thank Kathy for the opportunity to allow all of to express our ideas and concerns for the city of La Vergne through her website. I would also like to thank everyone who has supported thus far and hope I get the opportunity to serve the citizens of La Vergne as your next Alderman.