It is time for a new generation to lead. A new generation can bring fresh ideas, new energy and new perspectives. I have that perspective. I have lived with less. I am part of a single parent household. I am a parent with children in the school district, one of whom is legally disabled. It’s time for change and I believe I have the vision, the fortitude and the experience to help Monona become the best small city in the country.
My campaign isn't just about fresh ideas and renewed energy, it’s about preparing Monona for a better future and helping all of our residents have a better life by having a more significant voice in our local government. I’m a strong advocate for soliciting public input and feedback and letting the people's collective voices guide our path forward. This has been my leadership strategy with all organizations I've been honored to lead. I am running for Mayor of Monona in spring 2021 because it's time to give the people a voice and prepare us for the challenges that lie ahead. I am asking for your support in this important campaign.
I'm a Mom.
I'm a mother of young children who wants to guarantee that my kids have an amazing community to call their home. I want to build a Monona my kids are proud of and can afford to live in. They deserve to inherit a community that is safe and vibrant and well positioned for the future.
I'm a Proven Business Innovator with 20 years of Executive Experience.
My ability to build bridges and leverage my connections throughout the county is well known. I've owned a business for 10 years, have run three nonprofit organizations with multitudes of stakeholders. I know how to make the hard decisions and face the fiscal challenges that come with those leadership roles. I'm experienced in organizational management, economic development, tourism, rebranding organizations, marketing, creating a vision for the future, strategic planning, using innovation to get things done faster and more affordably, developing sound policies, and building boards and committees.
I Believe Everything Starts With Communication.
I've been a communications professional for the past 20 years. I know how to tackle our communication needs and am well experienced in strategic communication in today's climate. I believe listening matters and believe we need to stop talking to our residents and instead, talk with them. Inclusive leadership and a high level of transparency have always guided me.
My Plan to Address Our Challenges
1) My plans as Mayor include solving our communication challenges. I will create a city wide e-newsletter so residents know what is going on at City Hall. These will be similar to my Alder Updates that I've been sending monthly since elected. I'm the first Alder in the history of Monona to send out monthly updates. I do this because when the public is engaged in our processes, we become a better community. It also increases our transparency and allows us to get more input from a diverse set of voices. I will also implement a strategic social media plan that will allow us to connect better with residents, advocate for more committee meetings to be uploaded to our YouTube channel, and strengthen our relationship with local media.
2) I will begin to tackle our financial challenges. Monona has a AA bond rating. But it's not AAA. That is what we need to strive for. Currently, our debt service payments are at 30%. As a standard rule, municipalities aim for 15%. So, $1 of every $3 we pay in property taxes goes to debt service (repaying our debt). What this means is that one third of our property taxes is not going toward services. To put this in terms of household income, if you earn a salary of $60,000 per year, that's like paying $20,000 of your salary to repaying your debt.
It's essential that we get a handle on our debt as soon as possible. Our reserves are low and we hit the tax levy limit this year. Some people are struggling to pay their property taxes and we know businesses, especially hotels and restaurants, are struggling to pay their commercial property taxes and this will continue through 2021. On June 1, 2021, we close on San Damiano. That is going to stretch us even further. We had to pull $250,000 out of our fund balance at the end of 2020. Yet, we are spending $355,000 to redesign Stone Bridge Park in April 2021 (a want versus a need). I was the only council member to vote no on redesigning Stone Bridge because this is not the time to be spending on optional projects. We must look for other revenue streams and reduce our spending.
3) I will bring government down to the neighborhood level. I will encourage the formation of neighborhood watch groups, neighborhood associations, and provide opportunities for public input and feedback whenever possible. If we start listening to the people and open the channels for two-way communication, we will be a better community.
Public safety is a big concern in our city. Having neighbors who are connected to each other through watch groups or neighborhood associations not only builds community but improves safety. It will reduce unnecessary calls to police because neighbors can connect when potentially suspicious behavior is sighted.
By working together, we will be a better community. We could create task forces to support our police, fire and EMS personnel. As a small city our resources are limited but, we have numerous people who are willing to volunteer. Let's utilize them and tap into the residential resources we have. The "If You Love It, Lock It," campaign I started for our police department is just a start of what we can do to educate the public on safety issues in our community.
These times call for hopeful and audacious voices. And they call for a new generation of leadership. One that takes the long view so we can afford to live in this wonderful city and raise our kids in this exceptional school district. Running for office is a hopeful endeavor. I have hope because everywhere I look in Monona I see neighbors helping neighbors, I see our beautiful parks and open spaces, our incredible lake views, and our local business community working hard to serve us, provide jobs, and keep our main street vibrant.
But I also have concerns for our neighbors who saw gun violence in their neighborhood this year and for those who are struggling to feed their families and those who struggle with getting to and from work every day. And for our elderly residents who want to continue living in Monona but there are too few options for them to do so affordably. And for our local business community, many of whom are struggling like never before. The first steps in solving our challenges is acknowledging our challenges and setting priorities.
We have a lot of challenges on our doorstep. My career and track record of success leading organizations has been very public for the past 10 years. Much of my success has been due to my willingness to work with others from all walks of life, gathering feedback and input from constituents, finding ways to compromise, my work ethic, and the positive energy I bring forward.
We've not seen the last of social unrest in our community. Monona needs a Mayor who is adept at keeping our community safe in times of unrest and one who has the skills to relate to people from all walks of life. I have the will, the skills, and the energy needed to lead Monona to a strong and secure future so I am running for Mayor of Monona and am asking for your vote on April 6, 2021. I will need financial support to make this possible so if you can donate to my campaign and help lead us to a stronger Monona, I will be sincerely grateful.