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Waverly Mayor

Connie Holmes*

Why are you running for mayor of Waverly?

The last four years, I have had the honor of serving on the Waverly City Council – two years as a council member, and the last two years as our nearly full-time mayor. I believe that the knowledge gained during this time, coupled with my previous business, economic, and leadership experience, will allow me to continue to work effectively for the residents and businesses of Waverly.

What do you believe are the top two issues facing the city, and what are your proposed solutions?

Maintaining the city’s fiscal health and basic infrastructure, coupled with the goal of keeping both property taxes and utility rates as low as possible, remains a top priority.

Over the last four years, the city has moved from a general fund deficit to a small general fund surplus. This accomplishment has been possible due to a council willing to make hard decisions and prioritize spending, along with a staff that has found ways to “do more with less.”

The total dollars asked of our residents declined by 13 percent between 2009 and 2012, and will drop another 3 percent in 2013.

Waverly utility rates have remained unchanged for the last four years.

The practice of careful item-by-item budgeting, constant monitoring, and making certain that every penny is spent efficiently and effectively will continue.

At the same time, however, we have to make certain that our infrastructure – our streets, water and sewer systems, our parks and trails, our city buildings – are maintained and improved. This can only be done with careful, long-range planning and a long-range capital improvements plan that the city anticipates completing in 2013, so that we can begin incorporation into the budget for 2014.

Expansion of the tax base – and along with that, more job opportunity – is a second and equally-important priority for our city. We must find ways to encourage orderly development of new housing, along with programs to attract new business activity to Waverly, and help those businesses that are already here maintain and expand their markets.

What specifically can the city do to cut costs and operate efficiently, while still maintaining service to tax payers?

Waverly has cut total tax levy dollars significantly over the last four years, and will reduce the dollar amount again in 2013.

Utility operations and maintenance costs, personnel costs, equipment costs, and other operational expenditures have all been maintained at essentially even levels, or reduced where possible.

These savings have been achieved in the face of increasing costs for fuel, electricity, and just about every item that the city must purchase, but baling wire and duct tape can only do so much.

There is a point where cost-cutting becomes counter-productive. There is a point where failure to maintain equipment, streets, sewer, water systems, or parks will mean a breakdown in service levels, deterioration in the basic infrastructure, and, ultimately, the requirement for much higher expenditures in the future.

We could be at that point.

While not identifying any particular item for reduction, I can promise that austerity, careful budgeting, and judicious spending will continue for the next two years.

I can promise that the council will make every effort to maintain spending at current levels, while meeting service demands and ensuring that the city’s infrastructure remains sound.

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