If you are interested in hosting a sign in support of Curtis Stock for Ward 4 email Curtis with your name and address.
I am excited to run for the Ward 4 City Council seat. It will be an honor to represent the citizens of Ward 4 and be your voice on the issues that face this city. No single person could possibly have all the answers to every issue and situation that needs to be addressed. I want to hear your ideas for how to solve the problems facing Ward 4, and what you think should be at the top of the City Council’s priority list. Your response will help me best represent your views and values in the city council. Citizen involvement is an important process of any successful city.
I am running as a non-party candidate. Party politics expend considerable effort dwelling on the party differences rather than exploiting the similarities. We need to put the wellbeing of the citizens above that of the political parties.
I am not seeking endorsements from special interest groups or political action committees. I am seeking the endorsement from the citizens of Ward 4 who believe there is room for improvement and a need to secure a viable future for our families.
I will promote fiscal accountability. Every government that collects revenue from its citizens must be accountable to all people for how that revenue is used and why it is increased. I believe the dispersal of city funds needs to be fair and equitable to all areas of Saint Paul. Taxes are collected by local governments to assist in providing a favorable environment for economic growth and prosperity as well as a safe place for people to live and raise families. I will work to assure the city of Saint Paul does not lose sight of these responsibilities.
Over the years as a resident and homeowner I have watched the taxes and fees increase nearly every year. Between 2009 and 2011 my taxable property value dropped 7.4% while the Saint Paul and City Library portion of my property tax bill increased 10.4%. The “Other local levies” imposed by Independent School District #625 increased 36.3% in the same two year period (School Board Members are also elected). Not included in your property tax bill is the yearly Right-of-Way Maintenance Assessment which by 2010 had increased 52% over the rates collected in 2006. Storm Sewer System Charge rates were increased 31.3% over the same timeframe. Every homeowner pays these fees, assessments and charges, and renters pay these charges for their landlords. Businesses also pay but usually at much higher rates.
Last fall I discovered another City Fee on my utility bill that is collected by Xcel Energy and paid directly to the city. These fees were not collected during the winter heating months on my bill. The fees have ranged from 0.8% to 21.25% of the base utility charges. For my October 2010, May 2011 and June 2011 utility bills, the combined City Fees paid were $39.06. We also pay a 0.50% City Tax on these City Fees.
I am not saying citizens should not pay taxes. I understand that local governments provide valuable services which require financial backing. But I think it is important that people understand how money is collected, where it is used and who it benefits. The tax increases over the last few years have been significant while many people have seen very little increase if not severe decreases in their income. I believe it is the duty of local government to do everything possible to maximize efficiency of providing services and benefits while keeping noncritical improvement spending in check. That is what I expect as a tax paying citizen and something I will work hard to preserve when elected to the Ward 4 City Council seat.
I would be pleased to answer any questions you may have about me and my campaign for City Council. Check back here often for more information and ideas on how you can help with the campaign. I am anxious to meet the citizens of Ward 4 in the coming weeks. I am excited about this challenge and confident that with your help and support I will make Saint Paul a better place for all of us.
If you are interested in contacting me please email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org.