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Riecken’s City Budget and Fiscal Management Plans

May 3, 2021

first_imgSpecifically this is what I would do as Mayor: Stopping Tax Dollar Giveaways: Over the last four years, the Mayor has been spending taxpayer dollars recklessly.  He pledged $5 million to Earth Care Energy, which then went out of business.  He has committed the city to give $20 million to a private developer to build a convention hotel and when the design was cut back, the city’s costs remained the same.  As Mayor, I will be studious in the vetting process, and spend our tax dollars the same way I do with my own family’s money.  We need to plan ahead, and spend cautiously and carefully.  Providing Police and Firefighters with What They Need: Under the Mayor’s administration, crime is on the rise.  The crime rate has gone up each year under his administration, up 13% in 2012, 1% in 2013, and 28% in 2014.  There has also been a lack of funding within the fire department, where equipment such as air packs and trucks are in disrepair, and what is working is in short supply.  As Mayor, I will prioritize community policing, allowing officers to build trusting relationships with the community, support the efforts to expand the safe places program to help police get dependable information on crimes, and select a police chief whose leadership will raise morale and set a high standard of operations.  As Mayor, I will work to reinstate policies that recognize the importance of firefighters as a family unit who must know the territory they are working.  I will select a fire chief who will raise the morale within the department and set a high standard of operations.  I will work to ensure that not only do we have the best trained police and firefighters possible, but that these heroes of Evansville, who put their lives on the line each day, have safe and functioning equipment, as well as backup equipment.  No Evansville family should lose their home simply because they were sent the backup truck that was not adequately equipped or maintained as some are now. tFacebookTwitterCopy LinkEmailShare Fixing our Sidewalks and Roads: Simply put, our roads and sidewalks are falling apart.  There are potholes everywhere and sinkholes are forming at many locations, such as on E. Delaware Street.  Sidewalks are cracking and deteriorating and are unsafe to walk on, especially for seniors and the disabled.  And that is where there are sidewalks.  The mismanagement of city funds during the Mayor’s time in office has led the city to not having the funds to perform the simple tasks needed to improve quality of life in the city by repairing our sidewalks and roads.  As Mayor, I will work to fix our crumbling roads and sidewalks and not just during election years.  We need to prioritize the needs of the entire city when spending tax dollars and fixing sidewalks and roads should be near the top of that list.  No one should ever feel like they are going to damage their car or hurt themselves just by driving their kids to school or walking to visit a friend.    The next Mayor of Evansville has to set priorities based on the issues that affect the entire city, not just special interests.  A lack of transparency and wasteful spending has diminished our city’s reserves, increased our debts, and has put our bond rating at risk, hindering our ability to make needed repairs to sidewalks and roads, combat blight and to upgrade and replace equipment for our police and firefighters.  As Mayor, looking out for the people of Evansville will be my first priority.  I will spend every day fighting for the people of Evansville and working to make our wonderful city stronger. Creating Jobs and Eliminating Blight: With the city’s finances in peril, we need to help existing businesses expand and bring new businesses to our city.  I would do this with an Evansville First policy, which would help local small businesses compete for city contracts by stressing contracting with local businesses for goods and services.  I would work to attract new businesses to Evansville by offering tax incentives to businesses that want to locate to Evansville and businesses that want to grow in Evansville, and incentives that are published and fairly applied without personal likes and dislikes.  By tearing down blighted houses or rehabilitating them, we will also create construction jobs for both the deconstruction of blighted houses and the construction of new homes or businesses, while at the same time creating more attractive neighborhoods that will entice new businesses to move there and existing businesses to expand. Fixing the Budget and Creating a More Transparent Government: The Mayor’s inability to manage a budget has caused the city to increase its debt to half a billion dollars with no plan to cut spending or increase revenue to eliminate it.  He has done all of this behind closed doors.  I would get the city’s finances under control.  I would create a spending plan and work to decrease the debt by decreasing spending.  I would ensure that, as local law requires, all Evansville Board and Commission Meetings are broadcast for public viewing, whether it is on TV or live streamed online, as well as video saved for future reference.  And finally, I would make sure all public reports are posted on the city’s website in reasonable style and for easy access by the public.  Our friends in South Bend have a website which allows anyone to see a check register for the city.  Their database helps create true accountability and transparency by allowing all citizens to see what we are spending and who we are spending it with. Debt and Covering Expenses: Over the course of the Mayor’s term, our city’s debt has grown to over half a billion dollars.  He spends money the city doesn’t have, tapping into the city’s reserve funds with no plan to increase revenue or reduce expenses.  This debt has a negative impact on the city’s finances. As Mayor, I would create a spending plan prioritizing the needs of the city and not just the special interests and the chosen few.  I would make sure we know where every dollar is being spent and that we keep a strict budget, ensuring that we lower the debt and create a prosperous city for years to come.  The first challenge will be to have a thorough audit, so that we will know exactly where we stand financially, and can develop a plan to improve our financial standing. Mayor Winnecke hasn’t done that.  Too often, he has bowed to the desires of our bureaucracy, the special interests or a few well-connected developers and led us into bad deals and a weakened fiscal outlook.  As Mayor, I’d have a different approach.  My budget priorities would reflect our city’s greatest needs:  fighting crime, fixing roads and sidewalks, attacking blight and attracting new businesses and investment to Evansville.  And I’d do it with a highly disciplined fiscal policy, where projects are fully and openly vetting before tax dollars are committed, and a responsible budget surplus will be rebuilt to ensure that all of Evansville’s future needs could be met, giving our youth hope for a brighter future in Evansville. I’m asked many times on the campaign trail, “Gail, what would you do differently than Mayor Winnecke?”  I always say it comes down to priorities, especially as it relates to fiscal responsibility and the city budget.  It is the Mayor’s responsibility to spend our tax dollars wisely, to practice smart, fiscal policy and to make sure there is an open, transparent budgeting process that produces a city budget that reflects our citizens’ needs and priorities. last_img

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