As I campaign people are asking me great questions about my positions. I will share my answers to those questions below so the voters of Oshkosh will know exactly where I stand on the issues that matter to them.
Yes. TIFs are a powerful economic development tool that are working in Oshkosh. As a member of the Plan Commission I have always asked tough questions and kept a critical eye on the underlying assumptions of proposed TIFs. We must always ask if the project could be done without a TIF, and always be conservative when investing the people’s money in a TIF-funded project.
My top priority is maximizing the quality of life in Oshkosh so that people and businesses want to be here. That means empowering our neighborhoods, maintaining our parks, increasing walk-ability, embracing inclusion and diversity in all we do, and providing top-notch government services. It also means keeping our tax climate favorable to business and residents to ensure Oshkosh is a place where businesses can flourish. I also support GOEDCs activities in providing performance-based loans for entrepreneurs who want to innovate in Oshkosh.
There are several critical issues, when addressed, that will set Oshkosh up for a prosperous future.
1) Our racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps. Some will say this is a school district issue, I say no, this is an issue impacting us all.
2) Fall prevention. As part of my day job I had the opportunity to analyze data showing that falls are too prevalent among our senior population, and that individual fear of losing one's home is a critical barrier to solving this public health concern.
3) Getting development of Oshkosh Ave, Jackson Street, and the Sawdust district right. I have been honored to be on the front lines of these projects through my work on the Plan Commission, and we must continue to make smart decisions that balance the need to attract development with the long-term needs of our community.
4) Weaving diversity and inclusion into the fabric of our government. Oshkosh is getting more diverse, and we must embrace that diversity as the asset that it is.
5) Collective impact. There are so many great organizations doing great things to make Oshkosh a better place. The city can play a strong role in measuring, and facilitating, the collective impact of our public, nonprofit, and private sectors.
Like a home mortgage or car loan in your personal life, some debt is necessary in government. However, we must be careful about 1) Our total debt-service costs, and 2) The beneficiaries of any debt we take out. As a member of the city Long-Range Finance Committee I helped craft a debt policy that limits our total debt to a manageable level, and ensures the council takes into account social equity when taking on new debt.
As a member of the City's Long-Range Finance Committee I am supportive of the body's work on replacing special assessments with a more equitable alternative. I support the latest monthly fee proposal, but would also be supportive of more categories depending on factors such as road impact and parcel usage.
That is a bit of a trick question as our property tax levy is largely a function of the state cap linking revenue increases to increases in assessed value. But, I believe that to be competitive we must maintain a favorable tax climate for business and residents. Currently our property taxes are comparable to peer cities like Appleton. I would not allow taxes to get to a point where we compare poorly to our peer cities. We need a strong tax base, and that takes policies that attract business and residents.
1) As the president of the Millers Bay Neighborhood Association, I have seen firsthand how neighborhoods can win grants, form great plans, but have difficulty with implementation. If elected I will make implementation of neighborhood-driven projects a priority.
2) I also think we can improve the transparency of our government by taking a more proactive approach. Specifically, I will work to create a performance dashboard that gives residents up-to-date performance and budgeting information in an accessible format that empowers us all to know what our government is doing, why they are doing it, and whether they are doing it well.
3) I am guilty of being a bit of a fiscal hawk. If elected I would support a review of all of Oshkosh’s contracts with 3rd parties to ensure we are getting the most for our money
Yes. The city has a moral responsibility to ensure our employees make a living wage. We also have a responsibility to vet 3rd parties to ensure they too pay their employees a living wage. We do need to our homework to be sure we are in agreement about what constitutes a living wage and apply the standard fairly.
I think the current situation is satisfactory, but we must be vigilant about ensuring we pay competitively to attract and retain talent. This challenge become greater given state funding freezes.
I support a review of our contracts with 3rd parties, and support the use of 3rd parties for provision of government services when it would improve performance and save money. All things equal I prefer to keep the capacity within government, but recognize contracting out can be beneficial.
1) Our racial and socioeconomic achievement gaps. Some will say this is a school district issue, I say no, this is an issue impacting us all. It signifies a challenge we face as a community in providing opportunities for all.
2) Getting development of Oshkosh Ave, Jackson Street, and the Sawdust district right. I have been honored to be on the front lines of these projects through my work on the Plan Commission, and we must continue to make smart decisions that balance the need to attract development with the long-term needs of our community.
3) State revenue freeze. The capacity for us to provide quality services to Oshkosh residents is threatened by state limits on our revenue generation capacity. We will need to find ways to cope with this issue.