More jobs, better cooperation with other local governments and an even distribution of resources across neighborhoods are all goals three recently-elected Springfield commissioners hope to improve upon next year.
The commission will have two new members beginning next month, the first change to the city’s governing body in eight years. Three Springfield commissioners — incumbent Joyce Chile and newcomers Rob Rube and David Estrop — will be sworn into office at 8 p.m. Tuesday at the City Hall Forum, 76 E. High St. Chilton will be sworn in for her third term, while Rue and Estrop each will begin their first term.
Chilton, Rue and Estrop will join Mayor Warren Copeland and longtime City Commissioner Kevin O’Neill on the five-member board.
Estrop and Rue will replace Dan Martin, who served five terms but lost his re-election bid in November, and Karen Duncan, who didn’t run again after 12 years on the commission.
Chilton, Estrop and Rue all said the city must also continue to work to attract jobs and businesses to the community.
The city needs to be wise in how its spends taxpayer money, especially with the recently approved .4-percent income tax increase, Chilton said.
“We need to make sure how we spend the money gets the greatest level of value,” she said.
She also hopes to see basic services, such as road repair, be equally distributed across the community, Chilton said.
“When you drive down certain streets, we need to do a more productive job,” she said.
While the city uses research and other factors to choose which roadways need paved, Chilton also hopes to receive input from citizens about the upcoming projects, she said.
“I’d like to see them take a greater role in their local government,” Chilton said.
Estrop wants the city to improve communications with both the Clark County government and the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce, he said.
“The problems in some cases that we’re facing don’t recognize jurisdictions or boundaries,” Estrop said. “If we’re going to deal with them, specifically the opioid crisis, crime, hunger, things like hunger, they don’t recognize boundaries. We need to act by working together to address those issues more successfully.”
Springfield also needs to attract more people to both live and work in the city, Estrop said.
“We need to work on increasing housing and the population,” he said. “For some time, the population has been going down and we need to reverse that.”
As a first time commissioner, Rue plans to have a learning attitude, he said.
“I’m really excited to be a commissioner,” he said. “I want to represent all of Springfield and do the best I can.”
The city must continue to follow the recommendations made by both the Community Financial Advisory Committee and an independent auditor made in 2016, Rue said.
“We want to make sure we’re doing all we can to be responsible for taxpayers,” Rue said.
He also hopes to see SpringForward take over the Myers Market to allow the creation for a year-round marketplace, he said.
“It’s things like that that will increase attractions downtown,” Rue said. “It’s vacant space right now and there are people with vision to use that space. The city needs to get behind people with vision. Nobody else is stepping forward with ideas that could work to be something. We’ve got to take calculated risks that will bring the best outcomes.”
Commissioners earn an annual salary of $10,750. They oversee a government that serves about 59,000 people with a $43 million annual general fund budget and about 570 employees.
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