Properly structured public private partnerships would be very positive, particularly in the area of redevelopment. It is a city's responsibility to provide an adequate infrastructure framework to encourage the investment of private dollars. Under certain circumstances, a joint investment in a facility can be warranted. We have successfully created key facilities using this method such as our Fall Festival Amphitheater on the Town Green.
Realigning SR 120 as it crosses the railroad tracks is a very important project for both safety and capacity reasons. We have a project in the works but I am working with staff to look at a potential refinement to make it a better project for the long term.
Improving the look, the messaging and the value of the Peachtree Industrial Blvd corridor. I am working with a citizen lead group on a number of elements. First, a name change as this is no longer an industrial corridor. Then public art, property maintenance and addition of sidewalks are my priorities.
Completion of the sewer system along the Buford Highway corridor is important to allow for future implementation of the vision of a beautiful urban development. We are working to get a TAD approved as one financing tool. Pursuing State Infrastructure Bank financing is another tool I am pursuing with staff.
We have what is by definition a weak-mayor council as the day to day operations are lead by a City Manager. This does not suggest the Mayor is weak as some might think. Rather, it just suggests that the Mayor and Council are a policy body, setting the vision for the city with a staff to run the operations. At our size and With the right staff in place this is a very effective way to run our city as the Mayor and Council are part-time and should not be micro-managing the operations side of the house. In Duluth, the elected officials all bring different skills and backgrounds to the conversation which allows us to be thoughtful across a wide range of topics.
I am comfortable having a moment of prayer at the meetings. Everyone is invited to participate but this invitation also allows those who do not believe to not join in. We currently have citizens who come to meetings regularly and do not pray; they do not object to others doing so. Our country has a strong basis in prayer and part of our heritage is the right to choose to be faithful or not. I choose to honor that foundation.
Open books are the best way to accomplish sound budgeting practices. Years ago we established a citizen review committee to work with our staff on developing an initial budget. Together they bring recommendations regarding tradeoffs between service and expenditures. We have healthy discussions and debates with the council ultimately deciding what fits the long term needs of the City. It is my role as a Council member to maintain a broad view of all the needs of the city and its citizens in my decision-making.
I would support public-private partnerships where there is a demonstrated return on investment or substantial benefit to the citizens. Given that private money follows public investment for example in infrastructure such as sewer and water lines, roads, developer ready sites, ect. To support this viewpoint the state of Georgia created the Downtown Development Authority Law for just such a purpose.
Duluth has the same challenges as all cities. There is a need for expanded sewer coverage in select corridors, roads and parking in the downtown area. Once elected I will thoroughly investigate the most efficient and financial beneficial options to address the challenges we face.
The council-manager form best describes the City of Duluth. With a highly qualified and experienced city manager the education process of the council with regard to complex issues and laws will shorten the decision making process.
I have never been offended to accept blessings or well wishes from anyone, any religion or any philosophy.
Businesses and households face these same dilemmas where wants and needs have to be balanced. Historically Duluth has generated a budgetary surplus. Additional revenue sources need to be attracted to Duluth. A focus should be placed on enhancement of our economic corridors, highlight economic development by revising the city organizational chart so that Economic Development is on par with other department heads and review and streamline regulations and applications so that only pertinent data is requested thus enhancing the prospects for Duluth to attract and retain businesses.