One of the many things I've learned in political office is one can never make everyone happy when changing the status quo. I write this in response to Rick Blatchford's letter of April 24. Please research his past writings, or ask to see his many emails to Council members past and present; according to Blatchford we are all liars, scammers, or worse.
Now for the facts. It is openly acknowledged that Mount Airy's financial reserves are far in excess of what any government should hold. If government has reserves far in excess of its needs, then I'd say government has collected too much in taxes and fees. So, I'm pushing the town to: first, establish an official reserve policy that is sufficient to cover any emergencies; second, establish a safe and reasonable balance in the town's checking accounts to pay our bills; third, if there is an excess, ask the community what to do with it. Currently, the town has no policies or plans on financial reserves.
How much can the town afford to spend for the Flat Iron building, or a community center, or Rails to Trails? Are we really budgeting properly for future infrastructure needs? Can we afford the startup costs for a municipal police force? We won't know until we can fully understand our financial picture and establish sound fiscal policies.
Is this a radical idea? No, it is a responsible idea. Leadership is about identifying challenges and trying to solve them. Change is a collaborative process where ideas are offered until a consensus is reached. Blatchford understands none of this, he is too busy tearing everyone down. I could take the safe road and ignore these financial questions as the Council has done for years; or act like Blatchford who offers no solutions, only anger and angst. I'd rather take the chance, do what I was elected to do, and try to move us forward responsibly.
The Town of Mount Airy has a bright future ahead. I believe I can play a part in getting us there together as a community. I would appreciate your support for Town Council on May 4.
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