Bill Wallace, a real estate agent, has said “growing the town’s tax base” is his top priority. He supports encouraging growth and development. He doesn’t mention the infrastructure needs and the expense to support such growth or that our schools have reached capacity.
Joe Dumas has said “limited town government and low taxes” are his top priorities. He supports privatizing basic town services and reducing taxes by divesting the town of ownership and support of such amenities as our athletic fields, tennis courts, parks, playgrounds, the gym, the pool and the MACC.
For six years, Mayor Bill Lusk and Councilwoman Annette Allen have proven that their first, second and third priorities are listening to the community and acting on its behalf. They worked to address 30 years of deferred maintenance, gave us a Land Use Plan based on citizen input and a commitment to smart growth. They voted to expedite the payment of our $6.3 million school debt, which will be paid off in 2016 when we can look forward to a reduction in our property taxes.
Vote for smart growth and for saving our town amenities. Vote for Annette Allen, Bill Lusk, and Frank Preston.
Nancy Woodson Caldwell
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Ms. Caldwell does a fantastic job of misrepresenting my platform and positions. "Fantastic" as in, "pure fantasy." Apparently she means to do a service for her preferred trio of candidates. However, she does a grave disservice to the voters of Signal Mountain with her misstatements.
Ms. Caldwell claims that my agenda is "reducing taxes by divesting the town of ownership and support of such amenities as our athletic fields, tennis courts, parks, playgrounds, the gym, the pool and the MACC." There is nothing on my campaign website, my Facebook page, my campaign literature, nor any of my public statements that supports her assertion. I have never stated that I intend to either kill off, or sell off, any of the programs or assets she mentions.
If you are going to disagree with me on an issue, please at least disagree with my actual position, and not with one you have invented for me.
The situation that Ms. Caldwell claims to fear will never happen, because (a) it's not my platform, and (b) even if it were, I couldn't carry it out on my own. I am running for Town Council (one of three available and five total seats), not town dictator. I can accomplish nothing without convincing at least two of the remaining four Council members to go along with me. The odds of convincing any of them, let alone all of them, to "divest the town of ownership" of any of her mentioned assets are zero. Nil. I couldn't do it if I wanted to ... and I have never stated that I want to. She's making it up.
What do I want to do? Provide the services and infrastructure demanded by town residents in an efficient and cost-effective manner. For example, no matter who is elected, we are still going to have a MACC. Neither I nor anyone else is going to chain the doors shut, or sell the property.
However, it does not necessarily follow that we must keep operating the MACC as we have been operating it. Perhaps there is a better way. For example, instead of keeping the MACC as a town department and operating it directly using town employees, we might consider leasing (not selling) the property to the MACC Foundation (or SMART Foundation, or some such similar group of residents who are actively involved with the arts center and have a vested interest in keeping it operating and presenting quality programs).
This type of solution could be a "win" for all involved. It would be a win for the taxpayers because they would no longer have to carry the cost of operating a town department dedicated to operating the facility. It would also be a win for the MACC Foundation people because they would be able to operate the facility without meddling interference from the Council. There would be no need for further conflict or dissension, which has occurred in the past under the tenure of Ms. Allen and Mr. Lusk.
I see this idea as a possible "win-win" solution for all sides. If elected, I plan to pursue win-win solutions like this one. Can I mandate them? No. I will only be one of five Council members, if I am elected. I will have to use my powers of persuasion to "sell" the other Council members on my ideas. (The only thing I am planning on selling.) I will have to be willing to accept potential modifications and enhancements to my ideas in order to get them approved.
Contrary to what Ms. Caldwell claims, I am not a threat to town programs or services. I (and Mr. Wallace) do represent threats to the continued dominance of a certain faction that currently controls the Council, though. That is the faction that has given us higher taxes and deficit spending (over $500,000 from fund balance this fiscal year).
Signal Mountain voters - do you want the "same old same old" ideas, which will continue to lead to higher and higher taxes? Or are you open to new ideas and new solutions from a fiscal conservative who, by education and experience, knows how to solve problems creatively within resource constraints?
If you want higher taxes, then by all means, follow Ms. Caldwell's recommendations. You will get exactly what you vote for. But if you want services delivered efficiently and effectively while avoiding ever-higher taxes, please vote for me, Joe Dumas, on Nov. 6.
Town Council Candidate