Why are you running?
I believe a return to core services and functions will benefit West Chester today and provide a solid footing for future generations. My experience in the private sector has forced me to work extensively with other professionals and companies. I want to use that experience to find new ways to solve old problems while civilly working with the other Trustees and the Township staff to accomplish our goals.
What makes you the best candidate?
I have spent more than 25 years in the private sector working with every size company from small entrepreneurial start up to multi-national Fortune 100. During that time, I have served in many roles from sales to information technology to executive leadership. My unique business background and focus on technology allow me to approach problems and issues from different angles, many times taking a step back and then approaching the issue from a new perspective. These are the exact skills that government lacks and so desperately needs. No other candidate can claim the diversity of experience I have to offer West Chester.
What specific services are you willing to cut?
I believe a system of priorities is the proper way to determine where expenditures should be reduced. I suspect, however, that each of the four candidates running for West Chester Trustee will agree on this simple answer. It is the manner in which we would prioritize those reductions that I believe we would vastly differ. First of all, I believe that in every decision, all West Chester communities and business districts should be considered equally. The people and business owners deserve a voice in the decision process as well. Weight should be given to governmental services and the long term effect of special projects, both from a financial and on-going maintenance perspective, must be considered as well.
What fees or taxes are you willing to raise in order to keep or expand government services?
I believe the massive expansion of government services that is trending in our country today is one of the major sources of our economic problems. Keeping taxes low and government small creates an environment where individuals and business can thrive. West Chester’s motto, “where families grow and businesses prosper,” demonstrates my commitment to running a smaller, smarter government where needs come first and assessing the impact on future generations is considered with every decision.
What services are you willing to share with other governments?
West Chester depends heavily on a symbiotic relationship with Butler County and I would continue to embrace these benefits. The county engineer is a valuable asset to our township and fits nicely with many of our core services such as road maintenance and storm water management. I want to work with our county auditor as well, to follow his lead on economic transparency solutions.
West Chester has seen great residential and commercial growth in the past decade. How do you weigh the need to increase the city’s tax base with community concerns about the potential effect of development on the quality of life for city residents?
Attracting business and development to West Chester is not at odds with quality of life for our township residents. In fact, I would argue that as our business base grows and develops, the tax burden on the residents of West Chester is lessened and the options for employment, shopping and entertainment increase. Respect must be paid, however, to the land use plan in order to prevent traffic issues and commercial interests from creeping into our residential areas and green spaces.
What are West Chester’s three largest hurdles and how would you work to overcome those issues?
The items of highest concern are controlling spending, increasing transparency and restoring business friendly yet reasonable zoning regulations. I have always struggled understanding how government has such a hard time controlling spending. As a businessman and as a husband and father, it has always seemed pretty simple. Those things that can be classified as “needs” come first, if there isn’t money left over for the “nice to haves,” then you do without them. Additionally, never let your spending exceed your income and always save for a rainy day. These simple concepts can and should be applied in government as well. As trustee, those requests which fall under core services must be given higher priority than the special interests, and building up the rainy day fund should be deliberate.
When examining ways to increase transparency in government, it helps to consider community members. As residents and community members we want to know when decisions affect us. As trustees, we must provide and make available the details of the decisions that affect all residents as well as individual neighborhoods. Public discussion and voting on township legal bills should never have been removed from the meeting agendas. Technology is used extensively in the private sector for discussion and dialogue; the township should embrace it as well.
Zoning regulations exist for a reason and are intended to create a balance between living and working in our community. In recent times, however, West Chester has on occasion taken too much liberty in the interpretation of our zoning rules. The Liberty Tax incident, for example, displays an interpretation of a regulation in a way that has in effect targeted a small business owner in our community. It is critical for the continued growth of our township for us to demonstrate that we value business owners and show prospective new businesses that West Chester is a great place to live and work.