Candidate blog series: Keith Moore, Council at Large (D)
I’m Keith Moore, and I’m running for Council at Large. I’d like to thank the residents of Ward One for giving me the opportunity to represent them on Council.
I live on Carter with my wife Lisa and two sons, Nathan (almost 12) and Elijah (2 3/4). I work as a Legal Editor and Author. Before that, I practiced law in areas like criminal defense, employment discrimination, and landlord/tenant law. For several years, I was the Prosecutor in New Richmond’s Mayor’s Court. I have a BA in Political Science from Indiana University and a law degree from the University of Cincinnati.
I have been on Council since 2002, serving mainly on the Community Development Committee (several years as Chairman), the Law and Ordinance Committee (Chairman until 2010), and for the first several years, on the Finance Committee. We made a lot of progress during those years: working through the last financial crisis, addressing neighborhood problems, improving streets and infrastructure, attracting new and better businesses, etc.
After years of hard work moving the City from deficits to surplus and starting a real pay-as-you-go street program, the economy took our legs out from under us. Several new developments that were under discussion or active negotiation fell apart as the credit markets collapsed. Revenues have plummeted, putting our progress in jeopardy. These are tough times (again), but we can get through them.
Putting together a budget when there’s not enough money is hard. I spent years on the Finance Committee when we had huge shortfalls. We moved from $2 million shortfalls to surplus, while maintaining services. I believe we need people on Council who understand the budget, understand the process, and understand what it takes to get through tough times. We also need to stop focusing on “this year” and ignoring the future. Instead, we need long-term budget planning. My experience will be useful as we work through these tough times and position ourselves for the future.
During my tenure on the Community Development Committee (part of that time as Chairman), I think Norwood made great strides forward. Some of the highlights of that time include:
■ CRA Tax Abatement for improvements to property and new construction (a big factor in Urology Group choosing Norwood for their new facility)
■ Comprehensive Housing Study (at no cost to Norwood)
■ Vacant Building License Program
■ Blighted property demolished
■ Linden Pointe
■ New Medical Buildings at the old MAB and on Sherman and Norwood
■ Seek Research’s first class rehab on Norwood Avenue
Now that we are in a troubled economy, the Committee should be working to position the city for the future. We should be exploring new ways to attract business and deal with foreclosed property, updating the Zoning Code, and marketing Norwood to businesses and homebuyers. Since the new Chairman took over, we have not addressed these issues. In fact, we hardly meet at all. The Committee needs to get back to work building a better Norwood, and I have something to offer in these endeavors.
For the first time in decades, we instituted a pay-as-you-go street maintenance and repair program. Until this year. As so often in the past, streets and infrastructure took a back seat to everything else. I believe we need a new approach. We need a separate revenue stream to pay for street repair that cannot be raided to cover other expenses. Over the summer, I requested that Council put a street levy on the ballot. As I recall the numbers, at a cost of $60 a year for a $100,000 house, we could put almost $800,000 into the streets every year.
Maybe you disagree. I thought you should at least get a chance to vote on the idea, but I couldn’t get enough votes to put it on the ballot this November. There may be be better alternatives, but we should no longer accept that the streets just get whatever’s left after everything else.
I welcome your comments and questions. You can reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thank you for the opportunity to work on making my community a better place.
Council at Large Candidate