There are seven candidates running for three seats on the Brookville City Council, making it one of the most crowded races in Montgomery County on the November ballot.
We asked all seven candidates what their priorities are if elected.
Here’s some of what they had to say:
Q: What are the biggest problems facing the community? What do you propose doing to tackle these challenges?
Bob Apgar: Now, the recession seems to be ending. However, money is still tight. Now is the time to review the entire budget to determine what must be done and what would be nice to do. Safety, infrastructure, maintenance items, preventive maintenance and security items are a must. Also we need to determine just how we are doing things now and how we can change to save money.
Stephen C. Crane: The biggest problem I see is lack of transparency between the city council and Brookville citizens.
Currently the reasoning behind proposed capital improvements isn’t being communicated well to us. When improvements are needed, it’s important to keep costs down and to engage citizens in decision-making.
An example is the new firehouse. It’s essential that civil servants are provided the tools they need to do their jobs. What isn’t clear is why $6 million dollars of taxpayer money is required to build the firehouse.
It’s alarming that Brookville citizens weren’t given an opportunity to vote on the firehouse funding, as it was passed as an emergency measure. In the past years, emergency measures have been used by the council to fund many projects that appear non-emergent.
Using emergency measures bypasses citizens’ rights to decide where our taxpayer money goes. It is time for us to make a change in leadership, and ensure our voices guide decisions made by the city council.
Sherron Henry: We are in a transition. We went from a village to a small city. Some of us do not like change, but change is inevitable. We must work together to make positive changes..
Jerri Letner: The downtown area of the city has been in decline for years with only a few long standing businesses still left. The buildings are so old that the will cost a lot of money to bring up to code.
What a great job the new Krafty Mamas place uptown has done. they saw a vision for that type of store and worked to put it in place. I would like to seek an investor that is willing to provide the financing it takes to bring the city buildings that remain up to code working closely with city officials.
The infrastructure needs plenty of updates even with all of the great work that our service department has done. We have identified areas of opportunity that need immediate attention already.
But we also need to keep in mind that the budget for these infrastructure improvements is high and though they need to be done we are going to have to approach these improvements in a most effective way to be less of a burden on the citizens yet still getting the job done.
Curt Schreier: At this time Brookville is facing the issue of decreased state funding and a decrease in tax dollars due to loss of employers while trying to grow and implement various improvement projects.
Also, there is a disconnect between citizens and city government and how money is allocated and what projects can be completed within budget. There are some citizens that want to maintain the small community feel and see city government pushing things through that might not be wanted.
There needs to be a stronger connection and communication between city government and the community. I would propose some regular meetings between council and a citizen group that is appointed to represent various views. A result would be to have a priority of needs and an avenue for communicating what is needed and why. That would foster a partnership and allow for better success.
Kim Wilder: One of the biggest problems facing the community of Brookville is the current lack of trust between the community and most of the city council. Citizens expect their opinions to be heard, however this was not the case in June 2016. I feel this essentially started the lack of trust that the community now has with the city council.
I propose that the city council be as transparent as possible with the citizens of Brookville. Perhaps all documents that the council members view and vote on during the meetings could be made available online for the public to view via the new city website prior to each meeting.
I would also like to see the city council meetings streamed live on YouTube and then left for folks to view at their convenience. Not everyone is available to come to council meetings.
Many have kids, kids activities, prior commitments, work, etc. By making these things available online, more people could be made aware of what is going on in our community at their convenience.
James Zimmerlin: Transparency. As evidenced by recent elections and the repeal of the Income Tax Credit Reduction, there is a clear disconnect between the citizens of Brookville and City Council.
Frankly, City Council must do a better job with proactively engaging residents; and that starts by simply asking residents what they want out of their local government.
If elected, I would strongly push for a comprehensive Citizens Satisfaction Survey. Not only will this allow City Council to find the pulse of the community, but will also afford the citizens of Brookville to opportunity to evaluate the performance of city leadership.