The third question in InstantnewsBellaire’s Q&A series with Bellaire City Council candidates deals with improvements to city services.
We asked candidates:
What area of city service do you believe needs most improvement and what steps would you initiate to make those improvements?
Here are the answers from the four candidates for Place 5 on the council. Scroll to the bottom for information on the procedures of this Q&A.
I actually think that our City runs rather well! The trash collectors are friendly and do a great job, our librarians are sweet and are so helpful, our building office is great and go to great lengths to enforce our codes, the Rec Center is clean and the staffers are sweet and ready to offer assistance, the Fire Dept is always willing to help and deserve their new building. And the police? I just love them!! Recently an unknown driver smashed into my car parked in front of my house and took off and with the help of a gardener who got the license plate, they found this person within a matter of days!!
I just love the new pool off Rice Ave. so I think that the Evergreen pool needs attention as well, to clean up the restrooms there. I would also continue the effort to repair our streets and install more lamp posts.
I realize that not all Bellaire residents are not as happy as I am with the City services so I would like to get some input from our neighbors in all areas of Bellaire to correct the problems that they see.
I believe the City generally does a good job of providing quality services to residents, but of course there is always room for improvement. It is important for members of Council to constantly solicit citizen feedback and to strive to enhance the quality of life in the City.
Some areas for improvement that are important to many residents I’ve spoken with in recent weeks include:
– Code Enforcement: As a zoned community we rely on carefully-crafted rules to maintain our community character, safety and appearance. But those rules have little value if they are not consistently enforced.
– Essential Infrastructure: Highest priority must continue to go to our ongoing drainage projects; the City is doing a good job but there is still much work to be done. In conjunction with these projects street reconstruction is an important area for improvement.
– Online Services and Communication: The City has begun taking better advantage of the Internet as a means to communicate with and provide services to residents, and these efforts should be expanded considerably. For example, the opt-in “Notify Me” feature on the City’s webpage should include more frequent communications of items of public interest. Additionally, the City should implement an online payment system for services such as water/wastewater billing.
– Evergreen Pool Facilities: I support the recent vote of Council in favor of rehabilitating the Evergreen Pool bathhouses.
In setting out to initiate such improvements it is important to be mindful of Council’s role vis-à-vis city staff, as provided in our Charter. Council should not micromanage day-to-day operations. Bellaire is blessed to have a professional and capable City Manager and staff. As a Councilman I would work with my colleagues in setting the policy and direction for improving city services, and then oversee the City Manager’s implementation of Council’s directives.
Like many families, we moved to Bellaire over 20 years ago because of the reputation for excellence in city services, primarily the police and fire department. I think that the City has done a good job in maintaining that standard of excellence in many areas. However, the area that I believe needs most improvement is the infrastructure and maintenance of our facilities. Specifically, the streets and drainage system. We have spent a considerable amount of taxpayer dollars to begin the rebuilding of Bellaire, but the pace seems very slow , especially in the northern part of the city. During the course of my campaign, I have witnessed first hand the crumbling of streets and gutters that have been the result of years of neglect. In order to accelerate the reconstruction and rebuilding of our infrastructure, we should explore partnerships with state and county officials to get this done. I also think that city facilities such as Evergreen Pool have been ignored for too long and the city needs to immediately renovate and maintain that facility.
Johnnie Frazier did not respond to the question by the deadline (see below for the rules of the Q&A).
In this series, candidates receive questions twice per week and have 24 hours to respond with an answer that is less than 300 words long. The answers publish with no editing. Do you have a question for candidates about Bellaire issues? Please email it to agrant [at] instantnewsbellaire [dot] com.