The Huntsville/Madison County Chamber sent the following questions to candidates, to help you learn more about the people running in the August 28 Municipal Election. Here are the responses from Rosemary List Schexnayder, candidate for City Council District 3:
Q: We all know there is a limited amount of money to meet a large variety of requests the City Council receives. If elected, how would you prioritize the requests for support that come before City Council for consideration?
A: Prioritization would be based on urgency and overall benefit for the community at large, with a specific tendency to support my district. That is why I believe long term planning for our city needs improvement. Especially in the areas of policy, ordinances and infrastructure. With this last, specifically, roads. Without sound strategies in place, events that suddenly present themselves will result in knee jerk, poor decisions. Sometimes when ordinances have been passed and put into effect, the results may not be as originally anticipated and therefore should be rectified.
Q: What would be your top priority if you are elected and how would you address it?
A: For me there are two immediate priorities. The first is to propose an Opt-Out Ordinance to preserve our existing neighborhoods’ original footprint; one house per existing development lot size. This would prevent mixed-use development in these subdivisions which reduces their market value. New developments may adhere to the new zoning ordinances pertaining to lot frontage of 100 feet per home and mixed use applications within them. We don’t want apartments being built between the houses in our subdivision or little houses crammed between the existing homes. The second is to develop fiscal responsibility through a comprehensive study of the city’s Finance Department’s use of financial elements in the city’s financial statements. I was given an Interim Report of the City’s finances on July 13 of this year. No amortization schedules were listed, income and asset elements were incomplete. No Finance models were included. How can anyone manage their accounts like this? They can’t and the debt can’t be tracked by the public and will run out of control. This will damage credit rating and prohibit borrowing at the best interest rate. Transparency is vital to build trust within our community.
Q: One of our greatest strengths is that we have a “small town feel” with mid-size city amenities. Do you agree with that statement? How would you approach your role as it relates to maintaining what is unique/special about Huntsville?
A. We are loosing that “small town feel” due to our rapid expansion and no cohesive image or perspective. Our historic culture has many new elements and modernization impacts and these should be included in our city’s modern image as compared to it’s past. What is unique and special is our many layers of growth since our founding. Each has had great impact on our citizens and those who now call Huntsville home. This is what makes us us. This should be celebrated and promoted. Everyone is welcomed even when they didn’t want to come to Alabama. And now they love Huntsville.
Q: How do you feel the City of Huntsville and the Huntsville City School System should work together to ensure that our young people receive a quality education?
A: By continually comparing our educational parameters to the best of educational systems not just in the United States but globally. To define the educational paradigm for our students who will be competing in a global marketplace. The city provides approximately a third of the educational budget and should monitor the results of our graduates and those who fail to complete their education so as to reduce their number.
Q: What specific action or activity do you feel would most positively impact the attraction and retention of young professionals to our community?
A. Promotion of our natural resources, locale and proximity to the rest of the world. As temperatures and oceans rise, we live in the area of our continent that will sustain growth and health. More companies will move here because of these advantages for their workforce. They travel for work and pleasure more than their predecessors. Taxes are low and high-tech jobs are the type we have. Here, the workforce has greater buying power with their paychecks.
Q: What do you feel is our community’s greatest strength, and how do you propose we build on it?
A: Our mid-south locale. We are in the center of what I call The Southern Cross – the Memphis to Atlanta, Nashville to Birmingham corridors, with the center of the cross, Huntsville. Adjacent ( by plane hop ) to the Northeast, the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean and the West Coast as no other place on our continent. The development of train transportation for automobiles, over-the-road cargo and people will facilitate Huntsville as the crossroads for The Southern Cross.
Q: What do you feel is our community’s greatest weakness, and what is your plan to address it?
A: Infrastructure and fiscal responsibility. Build a Redstone Arsenal by-pass. Extend Weatherly Road eastward to Highway 431 and Hampton Cove. Stop the subsidies to developers for their private projects with our tax dollars. Create income for the city through promotion of our greenways such as Austin, Texas did to promote their city in the 80’s. Retail and companies flocked there and still thrive. Promote people transportation through the city with rail.
Q: In your decision-making process, how would you balance the needs of working for your district with those of the City of Huntsville as a whole?
A: Usually if an idea or development is good for one district it is good for them all. To promote consensus among the council members through working with them rather than relying on committees to promote what the committees or certain groups want. To promote the citizens to a level above the groups we Council members listen to for their needs. To remember who all we Council members represent. My district will communicate to me and I to the Council. If we govern in this manner the people will be the center of concern.