Monith Ilvavarasan answered my written questions first person.
Karla Brown answered my written questions first person.
Jerry Pentin did not answer my written questions first person, nine weeks after I provided my written questions to Jerry Pentin, his campaign manager Bryan Gillette provided written response to me for my questions.
Question: If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing?
Monith Ilavarasan response:
Historically our city has had strong financial footing. However due to COVID-19 we are facing a budget shortfall for the first time in a long time. To put our city on firmer financial footing I would do the following.
Make low interest loans available to preserve the small businesses within our community. Small businesses often have a stake in our community and buy local. A restaurant owner I know downtown sources his produce from the farmers market & local grocery stores.
Prevent large big box stores from moving in. Big box stores have the capitol necessary to price out local businesses. Also, much of every dollar spent at a big box store leaves our community, unlike dollars spent at local businesses.
Pause any "downtown restoration" projects funded by the city, in these times of being cash strapped we cannot afford vanity projects.
Karla Brown response:
1. Continue to use the IRS code section 115trust to set aside funding that will assist the city in our management our long term liabilities associated with pensions.
2. Continue to outsource city services such as landscaping work, the golf course and tennis complex employees. Outsourced employees are not participants in the city's expensive long term retirement liabilities.
3. Limit vacation for payouts of employees to 4 weeks maximum. The current program allows employees to save vacation time for years, and then take large cash distribution in lieu of time off. Some employees have cashed out sums in excess of $50,000! Vacation is intended to use, not build like a bank.
Jerry Pentin Campaign response:
Unfortunately, this recession is not my first rodeo. During my eight years on Council, I worked hard on pension reform to bring our budget back into the black. I am always committed to good financial stewardship, in good times and in bad. I would continue to help run this city with fiscal restraint, continuing with our conservative approach to fiduciary responsibility. Our conservative approach to funding our programs sometimes causes programs to take longer but, during times of crisis, we are in a more secure financial situation. I will continue this strategy.