What changes to the parish budget and tax structure will you consider to stabilize finances, meet state mandated expenses and invest in parish infrastructure?
What we do have is the ability to levy special taxes in order to raise funds for particular projects and needs. If left with needs that are expressed by the citizens and they favor a sales tax that is dedicated to a specific project with a sunset, then I will get behind the citizens in their request (Example: the airport tax). However, until it is proven otherwise, I hold the position that we have a spending problem and not a revenue problem; therefore, no new taxes. We shall devote our resources to things, parish infrastructure, that are valuable to the people — families first — the voice of the people must be heard.
It is clear that projects are becoming more complex. There is not a one-size-fits-all form of financing for them. It very much depends on the place, time and particulars of each project — we will need to be open and creative in our funding structure.
We shall develop a budget built on priorities and not needs alone that is accomplished through a needs assessment process!
The importance of a strong infrastructure is undeniable. It enables trade, powers businesses, connects workers to their jobs, creates opportunities for struggling communities — thus the need to invest in our infrastructure to provide for a thriving and prosperous community.
We must continue to grow and diversify our economy if we are truly committed to strengthening our parish infrastructure. A vibrant economy would do marvelous things to our revenue coffers!
In terms of state mandates, all state mandates shall be funded as required by statute as a priority.
How will you promote sustainable economic development, that doesn’t add to consolidated government’s financial burden, and diversify the local economy?
We are no longer a single focused economy. We should not have to be reminded that government is informed by the business community and the citizens. We shall continue efforts to diversify our economy, and to do so, we must put our best foot forward: welcoming entrances into our parish/our city; clean up blighted property; repair our infrastructure, strengthen our education system; review codes, taxing structure; continue to promote our assets; continue to grow in the areas of health care, technology and in the promotion of small businesses.
Our economic strategies must embrace the four pillars of a healthy community: Infrastructure, Safety, Economy, and Education.
We need to be forward thinking in our actions — become those dreamers and no longer accept status quo. The oil industry was a drawing card and until we bring back the magnetism of our economic market, our housing market will remain stagnant!
Given the large number of vacant commercial buildings in our community, we need to engage our realtors in the collective promotion of those buildings for business development — thus, we place property back in service and those buildings do not become a burden to our community.
Citizen confidence in our economic market as well as trust in our government are worth noting.
I question: Are we over-regulated (from taxes, to construction, to licensing), is our infrastructure adequate, is access to credit sufficient, is our labor market flexible enough (single focused training), is the entrepreneurial environment encouraging enough to attract new businesses?
I sometimes feel that we are so focused on the public sector; and rightly so, we have not given sufficient attention to the private sector in our economic growth efforts. Thus, the importance of correcting those things that plague our communities so we can better focus on economic growth. I extend my appreciation to all who have come before us to make our community better — the footprints are laid — we need to build on that foundation. We have so much to offer culturally to our citizens and visitors — our heritage speaks volumes!
How will you make available more funding to repair and improve roads and other infrastructure in our district?
*Regain the trust and confidence of the citizens to invest in our crumbling infrastructure so that potholes are only faint memories.
*Inform and educate the public with full disclosure. We cannot burden the quality of our assets to future generations.
*Must budget for the operation and maintenance of an asset when it is constructed, which may lead to lower spending on maintenance later.
*Maintenance problem is the lack of a stable stream of funding sufficient to keep the system in a state of good repair — identify adequate, predictable funding.
*Encourage greater private-sector participation in road building and maintenance. It is imperative for the public and private sectors to rethink the way they do business. These forces while they are incredibly diverse, they do share an underlying need for modern, efficient and reliable infrastructure.
*Streamline regulatory review and permitting at all levels. We can’t afford anymore to be restrained by unnecessary regulations in the UDC that do not recognize the immediacy of the infrastructure crisis we’re facing.
*Use of competitive bidding on projects.
*Prevention is cheaper than cure; therefore, we must be aggressively proactive — deferred maintenance is not an option.
What will you do to invest in drainage infrastructure and develop policies and strategies for stormwater management in our district?
There must be Regional partnering with surrounding parishes as well as within our own parish of Lafayette working from a master stormwater management plan.
Must identify sustainable revenue through collaboration with our local, state and federal partners to restore channels and rivers to original capacity. Proactive strategies may include the dredging of the Vermilion River, stormwater diversion projects, need for additional gates, pumps, creation of barrier reefs, revise stormwater management policies (when to open/close gates/locks), creativity (not status quo) in our thinking on how to better manage our stormwater.
Must be a collective effort with all partners coming to the table to include citizen engagement.
Our local parish efforts to improve water detention/retention, channel clearing, etc. must continue.
Complete drainage impact studies must be required prior to new developments.
Efforts to mitigate the stormwater matter cannot be accomplished in isolation of the whole!
How will you manage parish population growth and development patterns to address rising maintenance and infrastructure costs and mitigate flood risks?
Zip codes should not define one’s destination in our communities.
Barriers must be removed (bad bridges, substandard roads, lack of sidewalks) to allow citizens to easily move from within and out.
We must strive together to raise the living standards for our citizens.
Continue to diversify our housing options in our communities, with affordable housing at all levels of the economic spectrum.
Make public transportation more appealing for the regular riders as well as the business commuter by advancing cost effective solutions.
We must be innovative/creative in our decision-making when addressing projects with sensible solutions!