Stroozas: Cuts should come before taxes

There are a number of important issues facing the citizens of Homer today but none more important than electing the two best candidates to City Council leadership for the next three years. Spending must be reined in and the budget must be balanced. And listening to the voters of Homer and giving them true representation is my pledge. The “health, safety and welfare” of our community depends upon it.

Today the City of Homer is faced with a million dollar budget deficit and the current City Council recently approved spending more than $350,000 to move forward with the design of a new Public Safety Building; a facility that is projected to cost in excess of $30 million. My “common sense” business approach is to not spend that money on the design phase but instead allocate those funds to pay down existing debt. As we must manage our personal needs and wants, so goes that of our city. If we are going to spend big dollars on major projects such as this, it is best to first gain community support before funding is committed. Perhaps we look closer at bringing our current police and fire stations up to more modern standards and give those structures a new “lease on life,” thereby extending their useful service.

Raising revenues via increased taxation is often the answer to deal with budget deficits and I would like to help change this philosophy from being our first line of action. Let’s start by going through our city budget with a fine toothed comb and culling those low hanging fruit items that are not vital to the “heath, safety and welfare” of our community. 

Only after thorough cuts should the Council consider any new revenues from taxation.  I want to work with other members of the council to figure out more cost effective ways of providing those important city services. No easy answers but I possess the willingness, drive and commitment to seek solutions through public input. After all, the most essential requirement of any elected official is to listen to the voters who elect them.

We need to take a good look at all of our empty retail and office space along the Pioneer Avenue corridor. We should work with owners of structures that are in dire need of external facelifts and concentrate on filling empty spaces with new establishments and bring an economic renaissance to downtown. There are a number of ways to do this and a responsible business minded city council can facilitate this process.

Homer is a place where cultural diversity is valued, people are celebrated for their accomplishments and support systems exist for varied needs of our community. I will honor your vote and earn your trust by pledging my commitment to detailed study of all issues that come before us, promoting balance and reason, while seeking alternatives to costly proposals. 

I pledge my experienced business acumen to promote a fiscally responsible government to ensure the “health, safety and welfare” for all.