The Rochester Sentinel
WHAT SAY YOU, MR. MAYOR? (Round 4)
Incumbent Mark Smiley faces challenges from former Rochester City Council member Ted Denton and former Board of Public Works and Safety member Dave Fincher. The primary vote is May 5. The winner will run against Democrat Dick Roe, a former Rochester Police Chief, in the Nov. 3 election. Roe is unopposed in the primary.
Round 1 topic: Management.
Round 2 topic: Law and Order.
Round 3 topic: Downtown.
Round 4 questions:
1 – Should the Fortna Addition area, generally west of Rochester High School, be annexed into the City of Rochester? Why or why not?
2 – A number of Hoosier city councils have passed resolutions making it clear that discrimination against homosexuals will not be tolerated. Does Rochester need such an ordinance? Why or why not?
3 – What should happen to the former Rochester Water Department tower property between the 100 blocks 7th and 8th streets? Should it be converted into a community garden? A small park? More parking? Sold to the highest bidder? Something else?
Campaign note: The candidates are scheduled to participate in a debate at Rochester High School at 7 p.m. April 28.
1 In my opinion, the Fortna Addition should have been annexed into the city before the housing addition was developed years ago. Now, there is too much remonstrance against the possible annexation by the current home owners. In order to annex the property, the city would have to have a plan in place, to be able to provide all utilities such as storm water sewers and street lights. This would cost the city several million dollars and the return with additional property taxes would be approximately $15,000.00. Therefore in my opinion, this would not be a worthwhile investment for the city at this time. My vision in the near future, would be pro-active to annex the property south of highway 31 south of the city to enhance our economic development and add addition tax base for the city as it is developed.
2 The city of Rochester follows all Federal and State anti-discrimination laws. There have not been any issues concerning discrimination that I am aware of and I would hope that all businesses treat everyone fairly and equally.
3 The property where the old water tower was taken down is owned by the city. There are under-ground utilities located on the property, so building there is not an option. I would like to see this property be used for a green area, with a few tables and benches, along with nice landscaping to enhance the quality of life in our City.
1 Annexation of any area outside the City should never be off the table but must make sense and be a “Win, Win” for all parties involved. A weighing of how much added tax revenue compared to the benefits offered the residents need be compared to see if this venture would be worth the effort at this time. My suspicion is that it would not. We have more pressing issues such as finding industrial and business investors that can increase job opportunities and significantly impact our tax revenues.
2 To the best of my knowledge, (and I have been actively involved in the hiring process in three major industries in this community), I have seen no instance of discrimination for sexual orientation or gender identity nor have I ever had a valid complaint brought to me in all my years as a Personnel Manager. To the best of my knowledge no complaints of this nature have ever been brought to the mayor’s office, board of works or city council. The answer to the question is; no need for an ordinance. If necessary, let’s use State and Federal laws to deal with any acts of discrimination just as we would in the County.
3 My personal opinion. The area is small and tucked away in a manner that only makes sense for it to be paved and used to expand the existing parking lot it now borders.
1 In my opinion, Fortna area should have been annexed 40-45 years ago before it was developed. I have heard that to annex the area it would be necessary to install storm sewers even though they do not currently have problems with street flooding. I would have to find out if that is, in fact, what would need to happen. I question the validity of that since we didn’t install storm sewers around the lake when it was annexed. If annexation comes to the table, then it needs to be mutually beneficial to the city and the folks in the FortnaAddition. Iftheareais annexed, the residents would be able to vote in city elections as well as benefit from city street services like grass, leaf and stick pickup and snow removal. I don’t see this as an election issue, although it would certainly be something I would be happy to look into if elected. It makes more sense to me to annex areas before they are developed. If a developer comes to the city and wants water and sewage service to an area that is not developed, the city should annex it first and then we would never have issues like this.
2 I don’t think we should ever discriminate against any group of people. We have a state law that says that you cannot discriminate against the LGBT community. I don’t know why we would need a resolution that says the same thing? The folks I have talked to in the LGBT community in Rochester do not feel that a resolution is necessary or that there is an issue.
3 I believe the Downtown Partnership is working on a plan for that area. With all of the apartment residents with dogs in the downtown area, I personally think it would make a great dog park. I will support whatever plan the downtown partnership settles on as I know they want what is best for Rochester.