As a Portage City Council Nominee, I plan on focusing on these 3 areas:
Responsible Growth and Revitalization
Increase Transparency with the Residents
Encourage Small Business.
After attending numerous city council and planning commission meetings this year, it’s clear to me that we need new leadership with improved communication and transparency in the Portage City Council.
I support the residents call to action on SpeakUpPortage.com
The city of Portage is extremely healthy and something to be proud of, however, it’s too healthy when you start to look deeper. We need to implement a line-item review of the balance sheet with an eye on reducing property taxes for Portage residents.
I support the revitalization of Portage and the surrounding area when it’s done with fiscal prudence.
A large percentage of the recent city council meetings center around inadequate affordable housing, public safety, and the preservation of natural resources. Implementing programs to provide more affordable family housing requires a multi-faceted approach that involves various strategies. I would begin by first examining land that is available to be developed, which includes looking at abandoned or dilapidated commercial properties before clearing any undeveloped areas. It is essential for Portage to consider the significant role that our green spaces have in the fight against climate change.
Over the past few years, we have seen inflation negatively impacting everyone, however, when you look at the Portage balance sheet, the city is very healthy which includes growth in “income from earned interest”, which implies that the city has a healthy reserve. As such, I would examine the possibility of lowering the tax rate to ease the burden of citizens impacted by the current inflation.
On a regular basis, I plan to improve the communications of projects that are in the discussion and planning stages and include financial impacts of these projects. I would leverage the Portager newsletter and online portals to improve communications with the residents. City Council needs to communicate progress on the master plan. We should also provide a reoccurring online poll of the residents to collect feedback on the master plan and other projects in the planning stages.
I plan to implement a line-item review of the balance sheet with an eye on balancing the implementation of proposed capital improvement projects while also lowering the financial impact to the residents.
Communication and collaboration are key to positive outcomes for Portage.
Collaboration begins by aligning on the goals and priorities for the city, which have also been communicated to the residents and which map back to the city master plan. Once you have alignment, you dive deeper into the implementation and communications plan.
Communication begins by improving the frequency and depth of the communication by sharing development ideas with the residents before they get to the planning commission and by including financial impacts to the residents.
I plan to promote and encourage regular meetings with local employers on job growth and workforce development policies that foster improvements for the greater Portage area.
Over the past several years I mentored Computer Science from my alma mater, Illinois State University. I have seen how mentorship for college students can be successful in helping students land employment opportunities. I believe the greater Kalamazoo area would benefit from a mentorship program led by local business owners to encourage others to enter occupations that are in high demand for the area. I would encourage regular meetings with guest participants and speakers discussing various careers related to local business.
I believe that my background as a Small Business Owner will help with what I believe needs to be addressed in Portage. In my current occupation, I work with Fortune 500 companies to solve complex organizational issues which involves building cross functional teams to collaborate and resolve big issues. My organization and facilitation skills could be leveraged to foster positive collaboration between the residents of Portage and the City Council.