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City Council ward races

October 29, 2011
The Marietta Times

Questions:

1. What are two of the biggest issues right now in your ward and if elected, how would you address them?

2. What part do you think you can play in helping to balance Marietta's budget? What abilities or ideas would you contribute?

3. The renovation of the armory continues to be a divisive issue in the city. How would you like to see the project move forward and what should your role be?

1st Ward

Roger Kalter

Age: 61

Address:?138 E. Spring St.

Party: Democrat

Occupation: 17 years Marietta Times journalist; 2 years Youth Cultural Center (now Boys and Girls Club); 9 years Marietta Family YMCA youth program director; 10 years owner Kalter & Son Enterprises lawn care.

1. Getting a representative share of city services in the 1st Ward and providing representation for everyone - including the elderly, under 18 year olds and those who feel undervalued and ignored are top issues in the city's largest geographic ward. Getting attention for the Cytec chemical cleanup, fracking sand cleanup on Greene and Warner streets and mold problems resolved in Rivercrest Apartments are serious issues needing long-term attention. Streets in the 1st Ward are being damaged by pooling water around plugged catch basins because streets are not being regularly swept. The $489,000 Greene Street paving last summer already is showing cracks as is the two-week old paving on Channel Lane. We must make sure that jobs are done correctly the first time because we don't have the money to do them a second time. We must build our local economy by making the 1st Ward and greater Marietta a more desirable place to visit, settle, start a business or invest money. The continuance of River Trail Phase III 1.5 miles in the 1st Ward during 2012, building the River Trail Marietta College connector from Third Street to Don Drumm Stadium in 2013 and eventually crossing Duck Creek toward Reno and connecting Marietta with Devola all are long term goals for improving our community's health, transportation, recreation and economy. Small businesses should be not only encouraged, but help and assistance should be provided whenever possible, both through networking and the offer of a guiding hand in the start-up process.

2. I can help insure Marietta's budget is balanced by paying close attention to financial issues on an ongoing basis. The city faces a $300,000 deficit in 2012 and $1.2 million in 2013. Negotiations currently are underway between the Marietta City Administration and unions representing Marietta's three unions: firefighters, police and teamsters. Agreements on new contracts with significant modifications of benefits and wages (85 percent of the general fund budget) can help us get into a more healthy economic atmosphere for the city's finances. If elected to the 1st Ward Council, I would receive the proposed 2012 budget days before I would be expected to approve it on Jan. 1. After reading and studying the budget proposal, I would talk with knowledgeable parties about it so I not only clearly understand it, but also can discuss it in detail with 1st Ward residents. I will work diligently to insure that city money is spent only after thoughtful consideration and then make sure that the city gets what we have paid for with hard-earned tax dollars.

3. After being part of a citizens' committee more than 15 years ago that developed a business plan presented to the city as it considered ideas for using the $2 million Smith Trust, I am thrilled that council has agreed to advertise for bids for the $3 million project. We need to closely monitor the armory renovation schedule so that construction may begin next year and we do not lose more grant money. At the same time, we need continued council, community input and cooperation in the project.

David White

Age:?52

Address:? 112 N 7th St. Marietta

Party: Republican.

Occupation: Self Employed Photo and Graphic Artist.

Offices held: I have been First ward Councilman since January 1, 2008.

1. Cytec Property on Duck Creek. This is a very complicated problem. About a year and a half ago, Cytec applied to Ohio EPA for a "final modification" in its site remediation plan.

I immediately began pushing for a resolution from the city of Marietta protesting any such modification until the toxic waste dump is dealt with. The Cytec property contains somewhere in the neighborhood of 50 acres. These are divided, for cleanup purposes into several areas. Some of the "high ground area is complexly un-contaminated. Most of the flat ground is contaminated with multiple and myriad contaminants. The most significant area we are dealing with is the "North Landfill Area" which is not really a landfill at all. In every sense of the word it is a dump. It is a 60 foot deep ravine in which Cyanamid dumped unwanted substances over several decades. I have pressed for, and continue to hold out for nothing less than total removal and off site disposal in an approved facility. My ultimate goal is to return this site to a viable commercial/manufacturing site.

Street Rebuilds. There are several streets in first ward which have problems going far beyond patching or repaving. Some of this is due to land slips, and some is due to poor neighborhood planning that was done a century ago. Grandview has major slipping problems and needs to be rebuilt, upper Orchard Street has a section which is slipping over the hill, Warner Street is poorly drained and needs to be rebuilt. The problem with rebuilds is that they are very costly. Rebuilding one street can often times cost more than our entire annual paving budget. For this reason I have always considered it prudent to seek other funding when possible.

2. The part I play in balancing the budget is several fold. First, I am a frugal person. I look for economies in every contract we approve. The city already has a balanced budget, the law requires us to have a balanced budget. But that is a technicality. What we have is a budget that is "structurally imbalanced." This means that although the budget works to the extent that we finish the year in the black, it is only achieved by dipping into the carryover amount. This is NOT sustainable. We need to create a budget that is not only balanced for the stated year, but is structurally balanced to perpetuate a healthy city fund. I also work constantly to find ways to make Marietta more business friendly.

3. The armory project needs to be completed?.soon. The administration has relied on grant funding. I approve of this to a certain extent. The business plan (which at the time of this writing has not yet been presented) relies heavily on funding from sources that make it unsustainable. Anyone who believes that the armory will be completed and NOT cost the city taxpayers money is fooling themselves. It is inevitable that it will cost money. I intend to see it through, but I will make every effort at every juncture, every step of the way to make it have as little burden as possible on the taxpayers.

2nd Ward

Michael McCauley

Age: 70

Address:?509 Whites Road, Marietta

Party:?Democrat

Occupation: Retired

Offices held: Marietta City Council, Second Ward - Four Years

Marietta City Council, At Large - Six Years

1. I have received more complaints about the streets in the second ward than about any other issue.

The percentage of the streets' budget dedicated to brick streets has been reduced to less than 1 percent of the total street budget. This is due in part to the use of the streets' budget to leverage grant dollars for asphalt paving projects. The state has mandated handicapped curb ramps be installed on all new paving projects. We are using CDGB monies for the ramps, which reduces the availability of funds for ramps on brick streets in the second ward.

I have worked hard and will keep working for the second ward's share of this funding.

A second issue is sweeping the streets. People in the second ward take pride in their homes and neighborhoods and expect the city to do the same. I will advocate establishing and following a sweeping timetable, similar to the successful leaf pick-up schedule, for the second ward.

2. At the start of the economic downturn in 2008 my opponent, Randy Wilson, was chairman of the Employee Relations Committee. Under his leadership this committee approved a pay and benefit package which included an annual 3 percent pay increase for three years. This agreement also included 100 percent paid medical insurance. The effect on the General Fund has been devastating.

As a member(s) of the Finance Committee I have worked hard with the rest of the committee to offset the damage of this earlier legislation.

I have years of experience, on both sides of the table, with wage and benefit negotiations within the public sector. I feel confident we will reach an equitable solution in time to develop the 2012 budget.

I am committed to reducing the cost of city government while maintaining quality city services.

3. As a member of the Public Lands, Parks, & Buildings Committee I have worked diligently on this issue. The grant funding for armory construction will start to evaporate in July 2012. Council needs to authorize construction bidding with definitive cost numbers. During the bidding process a viable business plan must be developed. With this information and with citizen input, council can make decisions which will finally move the project forward.

The Marietta-Washington County Convention and Visitors Bureau has agreed to take the lead by agreeing to both develop a viable business plan for the armory and to be the anchor tenant. I believe their leadership is essential and will enhance the project's role in contributing to the economic growth of our central business district.

Randy Wilson

Age: 52

Party: Republican

Occupation:?Unemployed

Offices held:?Served as 2nd ward councilman 2008-2009

1.The two biggest challenges of Second Ward are resolving a parking issue with the college and trying to help keep crime down in the ward. I feel that we must work with Marietta College on providing more parking spaces for their student and staff. The neighborhood is residential and residents want a place to park. The citizens have proposed a solution to council but I feel that it needs to be looked at very closely. If we sell the parking spaces to the residents then what would happen, the parking problem would probably move to another neighborhood. Marietta College is an asset to the community and sitting down with them and seeing if a solution could be resolved.

Residents of the second ward have formed a neighborhood watch and it is very successful. Recently, they have had numerous thefts again. I would try to help them when they feel that they are not getting the response from the police department. At a recent meeting, it was discussed with Sgt. Hupp and he offered solutions. I feel I could help them advocate their concerns if not getting the response they are wanting.

2. The budget will be tight in the coming years. I would look at what are cities Marietta's size are doing to keep their budgets balanced. We would work with the new administration on any recommendations they would have to solve the budget problems. We could study each department and see if we could find trimmings in their budget. A fix would be to create an environment that business wants to come to Marietta so we could increase our tax base.

3. The armory has been a topic of interest for the last decade. I see where council after months of no activity has decided to do this right before the election. I think we must define what the mission of the armory is going to be. I would like to see a business plan before any construction on the inside is started. I would like to get all parties involved together to see and hear their ideas. I understand that the CVB is going to be the lead in this project. Do we have to give them something in exchange for it? I don't know what all the grants they have are for but feel that would try to keep the appearance of the armory looking good for our tourist. I know there have been numerous proposals for the building but we need to find one that does not burden the citizens on keeping it open.

3rd Ward

Steve Thomas

Age:?56

Address: 713 Warren St., Marietta

Party: Democrat

Occupation:?Part-time instructor at Washington State Community College

Offices held: No past political offices held.

1. My first issue is the lack of city services in my ward. I will work with other council members to see that the budget allows for these services. I will also seek out both federal and state grants to use in the departments where funding is needed. I will see that my ward gets all necessary services i.e., street paving, snow removal, leaf collection, and police and fire protection.

My second issue is the failure to return phone calls made by constituents. I will be available 24\7 for phone calls, and will visit my ward's residents to listen to their concerns. I will work hard as your Third Ward City Council Representative to be your advocate and voice in city government.

2. I will be an active member of council by working as a team member and helping make the right choices to move the city forward by increasing the city's fiscal outlook . The general fund is the city's largest operations fund with 85 percent going to benefits and salaries for safety services, and only 15 percent going to run the city. I will work with the city departments to see where we can cut spending. I will also work with the city development department to seek grant money to help work on city projects to cut back on city expenditures. I will work in my ward to bring business opportunities through the use of the community reinvestment act. I will work with the hospital to get their institutional zoning which will create additional jobs that will, in turn, increase city income taxes. I will work on the Muskingum Valley Watershed Grant to help finance the repairs needed to solve the drainage problem in Rathbone. With this project we would raise property values, thereby increasing the city tax base in this area.

3. Marietta is a city of history, and I believe that the armory is an integral part of that history as several generations of veterans from different military branches have passed through its doors. The general public are aware that there are needed repairs to restore the building to once beautiful condition. This building and the Veterans' Memorial Walk both honor veterans who served our country in times of strife. In order to keep grant monies flowing to pay for the renovations necessary, we need to move forward on proposed plans. To make the monument a transportation hub would increase tourism and patronage to the downtown businesses in that area. My role in this project would be to be a voice for the veterans and the non-veterans in the community to make this dream a reality. I propose that we keep this project moving to keep it another part of the historical downtown area.

Debbie Scott

Age:?55

Address: 626 Ninth St.

Party: Republican

Occupation:?Marketing Coordinator

Office:?No previous public offices.

1. I learned from the door to door campaigning that the issue citizens talked about was the condition of the alleys in their neighborhoods. I would have to address this with the streets committee and find out where we stand on funding for repairs. The condition of the city streets is the priority, then we would have to look into the number of alleys and repair where the funds would allow.

The other issue is the Rathbone area drainage problem. The city cannot fund this entire project; nor can the homeowners. We should contact the Muskingum Watershed Conservancy District to see if the taxes they have been collecting from all of us could be allocated to help cover the cost. We would also have to consider seeking grants.

2. Tough decisions are going to have to be made in order to save money. Every department should take a good look at their expenses and make cuts where they can. The police and fire departments are already operating understaffed.

3. When a firm business plan is in place we should have a better understanding of how to get this moving forward. If elected to represent the third ward, I will work along with everyone involved to ensure that we keep pushing to get this project completed.

 
 
 

 

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