On the fiscal side the Senter administration and the Republican candidates pledge to continue to build balanced budgets that provide quality municipal services within established and anticipated revenue streams. Living within our means has never been more important.
The Republicans pledge to continue a consistently level and low tax rate. The current administration has refused to implement the maximum available tax levy for 3 successive years. Instead, working together, Mayor Senter and Clerk-Treasurer Hutchings have presented to the City Council balanced budgets that resulted in a tax rate that has not increased over the last 3 years.
The administration pledges to continue to release when warranted tens of millions of dollars in Assessed Valuation captured in Tax Increment Finance (TIF) areas managed by the Plymouth Redevelopment Commission. Releases of AV were $30 million dollars in 2011 and $20 million dollars in each 2009 and 2010.
Mayor Mark Senter plans to continue with Municipal Asset Development. There is a pledge to complete the expansion of the Pine Road Water Plant and refurbish the equipment at the Ledyard Street Plant without a water rate increase. Expansion of the Pine Road facility will increase the production of water for our City by one third. It will also build redundancy into the water production system. This expansion will be paid for from money already in the bank captured by the Tax Increment Finance zones. Refurbishing the equipment at the Ledyard Street Plant will enhance the overall quality of our water throughout the system. These efforts will be funded by the existing water rate revenue stream as previously issued Water bonds are paid in full and retired. By managing this project in phases, the creative financing just mentioned will result in no water rate increase related to this project.
The Republican candidates pledge to continue efforts to develop River Park Square in a phased, fiscally sound approach. Like beautiful Centennial Park, this new downtown park will evolve and develop gradually as resources become available, and will have to be in large measure self-sustaining. In addition, the demolition of the old Cook Building shall remain a priority for the spring of 2012, followed by the completion of the South Gateway Project.
Mayor Senter Clean Neighborhood Initiative will continue to move forward. The Senter administration pledges to re-emphasize the enforcement of the Unsafe Building and Premises chapter, along with the Refuse and Public Nuisance chapters of the Code of Ordinances. The administration shall focus upon, and allocate sufficient resources, to address troublesome properties throughout the City. Strict procedures will be implemented notifying property owners of the immediate need to mow excess weed growth, secure vacant and dilapidated structures, and ultimately demolish unsafe buildings. Timelines for compliance will be established and all work on the properties will be at the owner’s expense. Voluntary compliance will be the objective; but if necessary, compliance by court order will be the final enforcement measure.
He also pledges to continue efforts in the area of methamphetamine detection, eradication and education.
Looking at economic development Senter’s administration pledges to continue their support of re-aligning and re-structuring the cultural platform from which local economic development efforts are consolidated with the resources of our neighboring towns and county government in order to maximize the cost effectiveness of outreach initiatives. We have made great strides in recognizing that an economic success story in Argos, in Bremen, in Culver or Bourbon is as much a success for Plymouth. This cooperative attitude must continue and be strengthened.
The platform pledges to continue to pursue and support opportunities of public/private partnerships between the City and the private sector. The recent effort of PIDCO (the Plymouth Industrial Development Corporation) re-defining its corporate mission to include downtown revitalization is an example of the private sector recognizing its responsibility to lead, as opposed to relying on local government. Another example is the successful completion of the techFarm project.
Management Enhancement is Senter’s final priority for re-election. He will continue to seek innovative ways to streamline the management and optimize the efficiency of city government and its delivery of services. Mayor Senter’s initiative, supported by the City Council, to consolidate the functions of two boards into the jurisdiction of just one Board of Public Works and Safety has resulted in streamlining the policy management of all City departments by the same board members (except for Parks and Aviation that by statute have their own boards). In addition, the Mayor’s initiative bringing the Water and Sewer Department under the supervision of one Utility Superintendent has greatly enhanced the efficient operation of both municipally owned utilities.
And last, but perhaps not at all least, the Senter administration will continue its practice of appointing to the various boards and commissions citizens with particular expertise and passion on the subjects within the specific board’s jurisdiction. The selection is based upon those with the enthusiasm and excitement to make a positive contribution to our quality of life; and we are all the better for it.