1. Priority Based Budgeting, Responsible Management
Ashland's status quo management is driving us off a financial cliff. Ashland's budget has nearly doubled over the past 10 years and so have our utility rates. We pay roughly $1,200 per year on our utility bill before we even turn on the lights or the water. Our property taxes are at the edge of what’s allowable by law. Thankfully, Ashland's citizens rejected an 8.2 million dollar bond, 7 million of which would have gone to city hall. Voting down the city hall bond is a step in the right direction but we need to go further by basing our spending on our top priorities which serve the public, encourage business and create living wage jobs.
2. We must save and expand Ashland’s businesses, jobs and people.
The Coronavirus has deeply hurt our city. Small businesses struggle to survive month-to-month. Workers are worried about making up for lost wages, and the city itself needs a stronger vision. We can assist our light, clean manufacturers in expanding rather than discouraging them through onerous and expensive regulations. Croman Mills comes to mind, an area set aside for this purpose which sits vacant due to overly strict policies which discourage businesses who could and would pay living wages. We can and must diversify our economic portfolio. I will streamline the processes that block progress and bring in new types of businesses while supporting those who are already here.
3. We must make Ashland an affordable place to live again.
There are not enough affordable homes in Ashland. We can and will create housing indexed to the median income of our residents through public/private partnerships.
We must create new ways to make living in Ashland more affordable for working families. Let’s bring them back to Ashland. We want and need a thriving community with a strong future.
4. As your Mayor, I'll make sure everyone is welcome.
We can support equity, diversity and inclusion through establishing strong city hiring and policing practices which include mental health care and social service training. We need to go beyond crime fightingto prevention and care. We will make transparencythe number one core value of our community. We can roll back some of the ordinances which make life hard on Black, Indigenous, People of Color and those who live on the edge of poverty.
5. Ashland must be resilient, ready and creative.
As Mayor I will encourage creative ways of attracting people to Ashland by leveraging our outdoor adventures and opportunities like: hiking, cycling, fishing, rafting and the offerings in our world class paradise. Additionally our region grows some of the best food and wine grapes on the planet. We can attract people to our food heaven.
Resiliency includes supporting small and medium clean energy industries and edible food gardens on public lands throughout the city. All of these initiatives will move us beyond mere sustainability to a flourishing community. I will create jobs, keep money in the city of Ashland and directly address hunger.