Wednesday, September 17, 2014

EDITORIAL >> Ex-police chief: I can do better

To the editor:

I first considered running for mayor in January 2014 when our faithful employee benefits were drastically reduced. Some of these cuts range from a 2 to 4 percent reduction in their salaries.

While I appreciate the fact that we didn’t lose any employees to layoffs, I still feel the real reason behind the cuts were due to decreasing revenues, increases in expenses and incurring debt.

We must bring Jacksonville back to fiscal stability by running it like a business and get back to the pay as you go, rather than finance big projects and make monthly payments. If it makes good business sense we will do it, if it doesn’t we should pass on it.

Many of the local business owners that I have spoken to feel that the city has forgotten about them and are looking to hit a home run with a big box store type business.

This will further reduce the chances for the success of our own mom and pop stores in our city. It is the mom and pop stores that can turn our local economy around.

Rather than the money going to a corporate office in another state all of the money spent at a local store stays local. This does not mean I am not an advocate for more restaurants and industry, but it is necessary to take care of our current local business persons.

I will eliminate the director of administration’s position in the mayor’s office and the out-of-state consultant. I will be looking at bringing in an economic-development specialist to work along side our chamber of commerce.

With this vision, I see employers coming into our city creating jobs for our citizens and boosting our economy.

I will put emphasis into the beautification of our city by tearing down old dilapidated buildings that are eyesores, clean and refurbish our existing city parks, and place more street lights throughout our city. Doing this would be not only for aesthetics but also for safety and welfare of our citizens and their property.

In addressing some of the rumors that are going around about our Parks and Recreation Department, my vision has been and always will be to place emphasis on our parks and not allow them to ever get in the condition that they are now. Additionally, I would never consider closing the AG and FF shooting range and this is not my sole purpose for running for mayor.

I feel strongly that together as a community we can bring Jacksonville back to its vibrancy, create a unified direction and fulfill our true potential as a community.

Gary Sipes