As a candidate for Signal Mountain Town Council in the upcoming November election, I would like to introduce myself and my platform to the citizens and ask for your vote for me, Joe Dumas, to represent you in town government.
I have been on the UTC faculty, and a resident of Signal Mountain, for almost 20 years. During that time I have been active in both campus and local civic, recreational, and other activities. I will bring many assets to the Council if I am elected; perhaps the most significant is my ability to think independently and creatively to solve problems.
With graduate degrees in electrical and computer engineering, and having held positions in both academia and industry, I have extensive experience in solving problems within real-world constraints. This will stand the citizens of Signal Mountain in good stead since the most important thing our Council does is allocate finite resources toward various issues facing the community.
The main themes of my campaign are fiscal responsibility and openness in government. In tough economic times, each family in Signal Mountain must live within its means and town government must do the same. Past Councils have been far too eager to simply increase taxes rather than to look for alternative solutions or to make tough decisions about what should or should not be funded.
As a result, the effective tax rate in the town (taking into account the periodic reappraisals) has increased by over 96 percent since 2000. Simply put, that means if you are still living in the same home you were living in 12 years ago and your property assessment has changed by the community average, your taxes have nearly doubled over that time span. Signal Mountain's 2012 tax rate is the third highest among all municipalities in Hamilton County. I want to curb this trend.
I also want to make sure that government is open and accessible to citizens. Important decisions should not be made at "agenda meetings" that are held while most citizens are busy at work or school. Decisions should be made at regular meeting times, and after plenty of opportunity for citizens to provide input. I will emphasize communication with citizens if you elect me to represent you on the Council.
Thanks in advance for your serious consideration and your vote for Joe Dumas for Signal Mountain Town Council on Nov. 6, or during early voting - now underway.