Economic development is essential to the future of our city. Our ability to encourage quality economic development is based in the opportunities and infrastructure we provide to prospective commercial taxpayers and companies.
I believe our city needs to start a new conversation about our future. We need to focus on infrastructure improvements instead of just looking for the next deluxe project to build.
I've seen first-hand the success cities like Boston have had with developing empowerment districts for their growth. I want to look at some of those models for Lowell to make a better, more intelligently-planned future for our city.
We need to add funding for preventative maintenance for all municipal buildings into the city budget immediately. We can no longer afford to use our properties as disposable entities. We need to be able to maintain and restore legacy and historic buildings to their original or updated capacity. On day one I will introduce a resolution in City Council to add this as a line item into the FY 2018 and 2019 budgets.
Under-employed and Homeless Epidemic
As an employee of a non-profit firm that works with underemployed and unemployed mentally and physically disabled adults, I have seen first-hand the need for workforce training and education, and I've seen how helpful these programs can be to support a vulnerable class within our community.
As your city counselor I will work with community agencies who have already started this work to increase their resources and the ability for the city to provide economic stability to people who need it.
We need to change the way we run our city from an all at-large group of city councilors to a hybrid system of district and at-large councilors. Each of our neighborhoods has its own set of needs (such as street repair, lighting, recycling and trash disposal, sewerage waste disposal, and other quality-of-life issues) which can be better addressed by someone who lives within the geographical area. At-large members are better suited to deal with citywide issues such as infrastructure, traffic, and encouraging new businesses to come into our city to increase our commercial tax base.
In addition, I also believe that we need to have a strong elected mayor as the second half of our city government. The city manager position is appointed by a majority of the city councilors and is therefore not directly responsible to the people he or she serves. Going to a strong executive mayor position would better suit our ever-evolving and growing population.