Candidate Statement: Nader Baroukh

baroukhAs the current Mayor and a member of the City Council since 2008, I have been privileged to represent a City filled with dedicated residents and employees. Through debate and resolve, we have stabilized the City’s finances, implemented strategic area planning for redevelopment, achieved school and City infrastructure improvements, and begun a comprehensive review of and upgrades to our stormwater system.

If re-elected, I am committed to building upon this progress. I will continue to advocate for a sound development strategy that will improve our City’s finances and the quality of life for our residents. I will continue to advance and improve our infrastructure. I will work to ensure that our schools remain world-class. Finally, I will work to keep our taxes at the lowest rate possible.

During my tenure on the Council, the City has established a much improved budget process that utilizes multi-year financial projections rather than the single-year planning previously used. To enhance our commercial areas in the future, we have begun the process of “area planning.” These area plans will serve as the City’s official policy guide for future redevelopment. We are also coordinating the City and School budgets to ensure that the needs of future generations of City residents are met. While not flashy, these actions are important to putting the City back on a sound financial track.

Going forward, we must achieve equilibrium between the City’s fund balance and the needs of City employees, schools, and services, all of which are important. The fund balance must be restored to keep our strong bond rating. This allows us to borrow at a lower rate, fund core maintenance and building needs, and provide a cushion to address downturns in the economy.

As we explore opportunities for growth, we must also protect the City’s treasures. We have one of the best public school systems in the nation, but one that is under pressure from a growing student population. Therefore, our development strategy must not overwhelm our schools. We have beautiful green spaces and wonderful residential neighborhoods which must be preserved.

I am very optimistic about the City’s future. Working together, I am confident we will regain our financial footing, support our education system, advance our infrastructure, and embark on an approach to real estate development that improves our finances and the lives of our residents.

I ask for your vote on May 1st.