Regain Control of City Spending
To restore the financial health of our City Government we should:
Suspend discretionary travel for one to two years.
Reduce staffing levels through attrition.
Assign one staff member the task of seeking grants and/or use an independent grant writer.
Institute a budgeting process that starts earlier in the budget cycle.
Make Our City Safe Again
I am opposed to any reductions to personnel in the Police Department’s patrol division. In order to respond quickly, safely and forcefully, we must have an adequate number of officers on patrol. We need them on our streets – and in our neighborhoods.
I want to see more trust for our officers and more respect for the uniform. That’s why I support the program that sends them into the schools. I want our young people to know that when they seek safety, they can run to an officer, not away. I believe that this program can build personal relationships with our youth that will pay dividends for years to come, and may even inspire some of our grade-school students to eventually seek careers in law enforcement.
Increase Enrollment at SIUC
Enhance the ongoing, cooperative initiative to grow enrollment at Southern Illinois University with active participation by the City of Carbondale, Carbondale Convention and Tourism Bureau, Carbondale Chamber of Commerce and the Business Community. More students means increased revenues from sales taxes and the growth of new businesses to serve them. When our businesses prosper they reinvest in their properties and in our community.
We don’t often think about prospective students as tourists, but that’s exactly what many of them are. They come from the Chicago area or some other far-flung location, and when they arrive they spend the night in our hotels and eat in our restaurants. Bringing prospective students here to visit should be just as much a priority for Carbondale Tourism as attracting hunters or campers. I support strengthening the continued efforts of Carbondale Tourism to work with SIU to bring highly qualified youth to visit our city and make sure they leave feeling welcome and happy enough that they want to spend the next four years of their lives continuing their educations here.Once students enroll here, we need to make sure they have a positive experience while getting the best education possible. This means we can’t let landlords abuse students, and we can’t let students abuse their neighbors. We need to make sure our police serve and protect students, and make sure students know we won’t tolerate destruction or violence.
Keep encouraging Carbondale Tourism, Carbondale Main Street, the Carbondale Music Coalition, Carbondale Community Arts, the Varsity Theater, the Park District and others to hold special events and festivals, maintain support for the Sunset Concerts, and explore other ways to make Carbondale fun and safe.
Protect, Preserve and Restore Our Neighborhoods
Protect, Preserve and Restore our neighborhoods in cooperation with our Neighborhood Associations, the City’s Planning Services and Development Services Divisions and our Police Department. Consider the implementation of the Safe Neighborhood initiative. We should also:
Continue to support existing City incentives to assist home buyers with the purchase and upgrading of the housing stock in our core neighborhoods.Work to identify programs and create new initiatives to encourage families and professionals to purchase and settle in these neighborhoods.
Continue to work with Neighborhood associations to identify areas of infrastructure that need attention.
Encourage the Neighborhood Watch program as a way to increase communication between our law enforcement, and our residents and their safety needs.
Stop the conversion of garages into living space. This forces parking onto our already crowded streets.
Protect our water supply by upholding the current moratorium on fracking, and resist any and every attempt to privatize the City’s water system.
Revitalize Our Downtown
Pursue revitalization of our downtown based on the recommendations of independent consultants using the findings of the Downtown Advisory Committee. This committee had the difficult task of distilling decades’ worth of efforts and conversations into practical, applicable initiatives which will help define Carbondale for years to come.
Some of these initiatives such as a Year Round Farmer’s Market on Washington Street and the burying/relocation of overhead utility lines along Illinois Avenue, are already under study by our City Staff and if approved, could possibly start within the year. I will actively pursue both of these projects, using public/private partnerships.We can and should be the region’s leader in healthcare, arts and entertainment. We should continue to encourage and assist Southern Illinois Healthcare and other health care providers with growing their services. SIU has excellent facilities for entertainment and the arts as well as athletics. Bringing more events to these and other facilities within the city should be an immediate priority.