1) Good neighbors, good businesses, good schools, and good government make for a great place to live. In addition to supporting new development, current businesses, our safety and service departments, and other community organizations, a better communicative synergy between these entities is needed. Information is the key; the better we communicate to our residents the expectations and opportunities here in Amherst, the more we empower them to direct their lives the way they want. With the latest technology, I believe we can do this within the current budget while improving services to our residents and making our city more transparent. The under-utilized city cable department would be a great place to start. Further, I would like to continue my work as chairman of the ordinance and utilities committees as we have moved to rewrite outdated legislation and find solutions for our aging infrastructure and rising utility costs.
2) My responsibility is to make sure we recognize those interested in investing in Amherst and create a welcoming atmosphere while maintaining an appropriate buffer between commercial and residential areas of the city. Due to the state’s cutting our revenue opportunities and withholding local funds from our budget, we will have to consider alternative revenue streams to help stave off burdening our current taxpayers. Business opportunities in our city and neighboring areas are currently available to raise revenue. Missed tax revenue, multi-zoned areas, as well as joint economic development plans need to be explored to make up the difference.
3) We can be proud of our safety/service departments for providing us with a city that is safe and responsive. However, a long-term strategy needs to be put in place to raise revenue, shrink costs due to inefficiencies, and make up for massive cuts in local funding from Columbus. The development of the last green spaces in Amherst must be with the community in mind; the impact it will have on traffic, utilities, water management, and the general quality of neighborhoods already established. This transparent partnership in investment should bring a return on investment for all Amherst stakeholders.
4) I believe Amherst residents desire in their city councilman a neighbor who aspires to be a public servant. I have proven to be that agent of change our residents seek, putting politics aside for the betterment of Amherst. I have been blessed with the opportunity to attend college and complete a master’s program as well as gain experience and lead others in both the public and private sector. My past three years on city council as well as my history of service to my neighbors, my church, and today’s youth have me positioned to continue to serve my constituents.
1) I’m proud that the city administration has been fiscally responsible and has continued to operate in the black and keep control on our expenses while making needed improvements to the city. I would like to promote policies that attract more businesses to Amherst and keep the city a safe, family-friendly, and close community that makes Amherst unique.
2) We need to support our thriving historic downtown business area as well as attract new businesses near the State Rt. 58 and Oak Point Road areas to grow our tax base.
3) I believe the city’s administration should continue to be good stewards of public funds by maintaining our streets, updating and improving our infrastructure, and maintaining our safety forces to ensure a safe and family-friendly community.
4) I believe my background and work experience makes me a highly qualified candidate for Amherst city council. I have a perfect attendance record at all council meetings since taking office in January 2014. I have a master’s degree in higher education administration and have worked at Bowling Green State University for over 10 years, often serving on committees or boards that operate using shared governance and a democratic process to make decisions. I was born and raised in Amherst and decided to raise my family here because I am proud of this city and remain dedicated to its future.
Phil Van Treuren
1) I want to continue promoting Amherst pride throughout our community, helping constituents who need assistance from city services, and being a reliable source of information for residents. My family considers ourselves lucky to live in Amherst, and I really enjoy promoting our city’s strengths and its rich history.
2) I don’t think our city has extinguished its potential for attracting new smaller businesses, which is evident from the consistent growth in business base that we’ve seen throughout the last two terms of mayor David Taylor. Amherst continues to become more popular as a destination for eateries, family-friendly attractions, and recreation. Continuing that progress is key to expanding our city’s tax base.
3) I’m a consistent supporter of our safety services and I think there are few places where our tax dollars can be better utilized to keep our community safe and attractive. I’d also love to see the new administration focus more resources on economic development and building an even larger business base in Amherst.
4) As I’ve said in the past, I don’t think I am the best candidate to serve in a council seat. I know all four of the at-large candidates on the ballot this year, and I think they are great people who care about our community. We each have our own unique strengths and I think that the diversity of talent on Amherst city council is a benefit to our community. Any of the candidates on the at-large ballot would make terrific councilmen, and I look forward to serving with them.
Editor’s note: We did not receive a reply to our questionnaire from candidate Garrett Knoll.