VISION FOR MUNCIPAL GOVERNMENT
Town government impacts our lives more than many people realize. Roads, emergency services, sidewalks and trails, streetlights, the library, recreation programs, senior services, economic development, zoning, property taxes – these are but some of the day-to-day ways the town makes our lives better (or not). Town government can also be so much more than this. We can take action here and now on important issues such as promoting environmental sustainability, ensuring just wages, protecting residents and employees from discrimination, and providing a wide range of housing options.
Pittsford’s Town Board should engage with residents in a way that is responsive to their questions and ideas, accountable to their needs, and affords meaningful opportunities to shape the future of our community. This requires a Town Board that actively engages with and listens to residents.
I routinely reach out to residents, walk through neighborhoods, and visit with people on their porches. I am an active participant in the community. I respond to residents’ ideas and critiques, and work with them to make Pittsford the community we want it to be.
Town government is accountable to residents. We are stewards of your resources and must be responsive to your questions and accountable to your needs. This requires openness and transparency. It is not merely a matter of meeting the letter of the law on open meetings and financial disclosures. Transparency is about conducting the business of the town in the public eye and in a way that provides meaningful opportunities for you to question and provide input on our work.
I am proud of the fact that, since taking office, resident participation in Town Board meetings has increased dramatically. Actions I have taken to increase transparency include:
- • Posting agendas of Town Board meetings on my Facebook page
- • Advocating for easier access to documents so the public can participate fully in Town Board meetings
- • Providing explanations of my positions and votes on pivotal issues
- • Co-hosting monthly coffee hours with Councilmember Kevin Beckford
It is the responsibility of each member of the Town Board to use taxpayer money effectively and efficiently to promote the common good. Although the Town of Pittsford enjoys excellent fiscal ratings, fiscal responsibility is about more than that. It is about planning long-term to keep the tax burden as low as possible while delivering the services residents require and expect
I hold myself and my colleagues accountable for making sound fiscal decisions. With each vote to authorize spending money, I:
- • Ask for a detailed explanation of what the money is for, why it is needed, and how it affects current fund balances
- • Balance the request against commitments the town has made to cost savings
- • Verify that all legal requirements for bidding and contract approvals have been met
- • Examine the request in light of the five-year trends in the Town’s spending
Town government can take action right now, in our own community, to address the environmental problems that are rapidly reaching crisis-level in our world. We do not need to wait for the state or federal government to tell us what to do or to take action on our behalf.
I have a vision for environmental sustainability in Pittsford that includes government-business-school-community partnerships to achieve the greatest impact both environmentally and economically. I am advocating for:
- • A strategic plan for environmental initiatives that is long-term and data-driven
- • Measurable benchmarks to hold ourselves accountable and to guide our work
- • Increased use of renewable energy and decreased energy consumption
- • Active transportation options such as sidewalks, bicycle lands, ride sharing, and public transit
- • Elimination of pesticides on town property where there is a high chance of exposure to residents, especially children
COMMUNITY FOR ALL
Pittsford is more than simply a place to reside — it is a place to live a full and vibrant life. Residents need opportunities to shop, entertain, access services, connect with neighbors, and work. The more we meet both the common and unique needs of our residents, the stronger our community will be.
Listening to residents’ needs and requests is critical to growing a community for all people. Here are some of the things residents have talked with me about that I am working on:
- • Advocating for senior residents’ housing needs as they downsize
- • Increasing Town support of Pittsford Youth Services and creating more places and opportunities for teenagers to grow and contribute to our town
- • Increasing accessibility of Town meetings and resources for people who use ASL and assistive technologies
- • Ensuring our safety nets, especially for the elderly, operate optimally in emergencies
- • Providing Town employees just wages and benefits