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By Martin Couch
Ward 1, Position 1 candidate Lisa Meyer believes the first responsibility of an alderman is to[more] provide oversight for the finance, property and services of Bryant and be obligated to hold costs down.
"Obviously, police and fire protection and the management of infrastructure costs related to roads and water/wastewater systems are at the top of this list," Meyer said. "An alderman should be a good steward and manage on behalf of his Ward, looking out for the special needs of the Ward, as well as the city as a whole."
Meyer thinks current city alderman Scott Curtis has "failed in all respects."
"One of his first official acts after being elected was to give himself and other Council members a 33 percent pay increase when the country was experiencing the worst economic plummet since The Great Depression," she said. "He then voted to make all increases retroactive to the beginning of the year, which was 10 months of back pay equaling tens of thousands of dollars.
"Mr. Curtis walked out of that fateful City Council meeting with a couple of thousand dollars of the taxpayers' money in his pocket, without a dime going to any of our city employees whose pay was frozen at the time on a vote from this same Council," she added. "My incumbent took care of himself first, along with members of the Council, in an underhanded way that kept the information away from the public and that is one of the main reasons that drove me to run for City Council."
Her belief is that an alderman should take care of the city and its employees first.
"Every tax dollar the city received is earned and given to them by you the taxpayer," Meyer said. "It is absolutely of the utmost importance to me that your tax dollars are used wisely by the city in the most prudent manner."
Her campaign is focused on ensuring city expenditures are necessary, justified and managed appropriately.
"I will work with other Council members, the mayor and engineering consultants in evaluating future studies, holding cost down and, if possible, give some relief to our residents," Meyer said.
Among the concerns she's heard from citizens in Ward 1 is the lack of code enforcement and the need for a curbside recycling program.
"That will provide convenient, hassle-free recycling options to our residents," Meyer said. "I also favor an outreach program from our council to community service organizations in the city to make their work more effective and beneficial, while enhancing the city's ability to address problems at the grass-roots level.
"Our citizens have a lot of concerns that they have expressed to me," she continued. "Along with the fact my opponent has a terrible record of not following through when they make him aware of those concerns and a general consensus of 'what is being done to improve Ward 1.'"
Water rates are another issue that she says has been passed over by previous councils.
"We reached a point in 2007 when massive abuses and waste water within our water department were discovered and corrected," Meyer said. "The Council serving at that time shut that down, decommissioned the Water Commission and created new oversights from an outside engineering firm to tell us the truth about where we were on meeting the water needs of our city."
She thinks government is most effective when it’s closest to the people.
"I believe when people of differing opinions come together and discuss the results of alternative actions we can achieve something that everyone can be proud of."
She cited Bryant's negative news headlines in the recent past.
"It's time to work together for the citizens of Bryant, not for a negative news headline," Meyer said.
However, she would like to see all city departments planning for the future needs within their budgets.
"We need to be well on our way to building strong capital improvement funds for all departments and our debt reserve funds need to be rebuilt and stronger than ever before," Meyer said. "Bryant is blessed to have a strong sales tax revenue stream. Our management of those funds should be apparent throughout every service provided to the citizens of Bryant.
"We need to dream big," she added. "Community 'big sky' planning seminars hosted by aldermen in their respective wards could be the catalyst for what the future could hold in Bryant. Citizens working together produce the best of results."