Thursday, October 24, 2013

Who to Elect?

As I look at the Chubbuck Mayoral and Council Races I see two basic questions that the citizens must decide. 

First, has the status quo from the last eight years been good enough? When I look at this question I have to look at what has happened in the last 4 years in particular. The best thing is the addition of All State and the connector (Knudsen Ave.) between Hawthorne and Yellowstone that gives an alternative exit for those wanting to take a left on Yellowstone from the side streets. The things that concern me though have stayed the same until election time has come around. The typical promises of getting the existing roads maintained suddenly becomes a top priority. Promises are made and we're supposed to believe it will be different this time. 

The second issue is how our money is spent. Chubbuck doesn't stand up to scrutiny very well on this. Instead of looking at all funding in the City, the current record shows that most of our City Government are happy to keep the status quo. We have seen continued development while existing streets and neighborhoods fall into disrepair. Work that was supposed to be done four years ago still isn't completed and existing streets continue to deteriorate. The first work on maintenance will not take place until FY 2015 because another $150,000 needs to be put into the budgeted account before 5 miles of road can be chip sealed. It will require adding $300,000 to that account every year to maintain the 10 year cycle that some of the candidates are alluding to. So far we haven't seen that account funded to that level ever.

Using those parameters I believe some candidates stand apart from the others. I know I've been listed as anti- TIF but I believe that the current zone should be restructured. The All State area should remain as an Increment Area. Yellowstone Commons should also remain as an Increment area. The rest should be closed. This would release enough money to the City's General Fund to do adequate maintenance on the streets immediately. We should also open new Urban Renewal districts in the Syphon and in the Industrial areas of Chubbuck on the Western side. That would help bring living wage jobs and good basis for other retail outlets Chubbuck residents have long wanted. 

The only Candidate for Mayor that has asked these questions and is at least willing to look at changing how Chubbuck finances itself has been Brent Marshall. Marshall seems to be the only one that realizes that taxes play into the ability to attract business. Due to our TIF arrangement, we have one of the higher levy rates in the area, and yet what do we get for those tax dollars?

In addition to Marshall, I believe that Glen Cranor's experience with the railroad would serve Chubbuck's Citizens well. Cranor has been throughout the country as a safety and technical authority for the railroad. He understands the need of using funds wisely and the need for maintaining safe work environments. Finally, Ryan Lewis in his role as an attorney has worked with clients concerning ordinances being applied in Pocatello. Someone with the understanding of what makes a good ordinance (law) on the Council would make a nice addition. Lewis will tell you he has no bone to pick with the City he just wants to serve. That would be a refreshing change.

Chubbuck will grow. Commercial growth can actually mean lower taxes. What we get for our tax money has to show our commitment to our community. Streets, an actual concern for Citizens, and adequate police and fire services have to be a priority. 

I support Marshall, Cranor and Lewis to fill our needs as a community. I hope that you will consider these men and vote to have them as our next City Government. I believe they are the best fit to allow our City to grow but maintain what's special about our community.