Why did you decide to run for office?
I love our city and enjoy doing things to help our city. I need to do more. I love this community. I have invested my time, passion and money here and I want to see Seymour grow to be a thriving community that I know it can be. We are not all the way there, but we are on the brink of being a thriving community. We have a lot of investments here and if we play things smart, we can build this community up even further.
What are the three biggest issues the city faces now and in the future? And how would you help address those issues.
Budgets: We have to make investments here and we have to maintain our city, but we also have to do so in a fiscal manner. As a business owner, I understand budgets and know how it is to work with a small budget or the need for more money. I will use that experience to help guide the city.
Vision: I believe Seymour is on the brink of being an even better city than what it already is. We need people in office who have a vision for the future and for what our citizens want. I have been a part of several projects to help make the community better. I have helped with smaller projects like the Seymour street piano. While the piano was a small project, it has connected so many folks around here. I plan on using this vision to help make Seymour better.
The railroad has been a big topic for the city as improvements are being made to the rail infrastructure for more, heavier and faster trains. Are you in favor of a second railroad overpass? Why? How should the city pay for it?
I think the city needs to explore every option to help with the railroad issue. I’ve heard that in the next few years, when CSX upgrades the rail system, that there could be as many as one train passing through every hour-and-a-half. That’s a lot of trains. My biggest concern is the fact that the hospital is on the west end of the town while the majority of emergencies occur on the east side of town, so one overpass has to happen. If the city were to explore a second, we would have to see if it would improve things that much or if it is feasible. Sometimes the things we want, or even need, are not feasible and if a second one isn’t, then it can’t happen. One overpass has to happen. To pay for it, we need to explore grants and every possible proposal to build it. I think collaborating with other cities to see what their ideas would be a great idea and I would volunteer to do that on behalf of our city.
There has been recent progress on downtown revitalization, but many agree more needs to be done. What do you feel the city can and should be doing to improve our downtown? How much, financially, should the city be involved in revitalizing the downtown?
This is something that is at the forefront of our town. Many people care about the downtown and preserving it. I think the city should make a great environment and give incentives for business who choose to come downtown. A start is simply keeping the downtown looking nice. Our Department of Public Works employees do a great job of that right now and we need to continue it. I think the city needs to support those who are trying to help downtown. Perhaps waiving certain fees – if it is feasible – to business that locate downtown. We also should work with those who want to improve downtown. For example, when I wanted the Seymour Street Piano installed, I went to the city for approval. They liked the idea and a few good friends made it happen.
Employee health insurance is one of the biggest costs for the city. Do you feel there is any way the city can help curb those costs? What ways would you suggest?
This a very important topic, one I have seen in my business the last two years become more challenging. I look forward to working with city council and the mayor to see how we can absorb this cost or budget for it correctly.
A recent study of the city’s parks and recreation facilities showed the potential need for more soccer and baseball/softball fields and an indoor recreation facility along with a system of multipurpose trails. Do you think these amenities are needed in Seymour? Why? How much should the city be willing to invest in these projects?
I have sat in several meetings locally where these type of facilities are being talked about. I believe the groundwork for this type of thing is happening out there. We have great facilities available in our community who present a lot of opportunities to our city already.
Many people complain about the condition of city streets and roads. Do you feel the city is spending enough money on this work? If not, how do you propose the city raise more money to do this?
I feel there is much to do when it comes to our city streets. I am excited to work with the city council to develop a serious game plan for fixing the road conditions in Seymour.