COUNCIL: Amherst Third Ward candidates answer questions


Charles Winiarski

Charles Winiarski


David A. Shaffer


OUR QUESTIONS

We asked the two candidates facing off in the Amherst city council third ward race to answer these questions:

1) What do you want to accomplish as an Amherst city council member in the next two years?

2) Amherst is nearly built out when it comes to real estate, especially for large commercial enterprises. At the same time, very few residents are required to pay local income taxes due to a long-standing forgiveness policy. How will you go about growing the local economy and making the city’s tax base stronger?

3) Where do you think resources should be shifted to better serve residents and why? For example: More police officers? Community development? Improved roads/sewers? Training?

4) Why do you think you are the best candidate to serve in a council seat? What experience or unique qualifications make you the ideal candidate?

Charles Winiarski

1) Rental property. Exterior maintenance and sidewalk repair. I have been working with the building department and law director on the first two items the last 14 months. I am eager to see them brought to the floor of council in the very near future. The latter, sidewalks, I am working to find money to assist residents that are unable to afford the up-front money for sidewalk repairs. I feel council can set aside a certain dollar amount each year and assist homeowners with low to no interest financing.

2) First, we need to approachable and cooperate with existing business. Let’s not give them a reason to leave. The income tax is concerning, less than half of residents pay income tax and the state is finding clever ways to reach into our treasury. Our ability to attend to increasing revenue, with minimal impact to our residents is to move from being a statutory city to charter city. It is a lot of work, but I feel we are at that point we need to make this happen.

3) I feel our city employees, fire department, and police department are hard-working and second to none when it comes to productivity and quality. I do feel there are some good ideas amongst the rank and file that could be implemented that would invest in long term solutions. Our Main Street group and historical society are doing a great job with downtown and local festivals. We just need to increase parking and make 5-corners pedestrian friendly. Continue moving water to the treatment plant, instead of peoples’ basements and finally, aggressively seek grant funding.

4) A councilperson’s job is 10 percent reviewing and voting on legislation on Monday nights, 90 percent answering phone calls and assisting people who need help or have questions. In my four years on council, 16 years as a volunteer at the schools, and association with many youth sports leagues, I am in a good position to know how to help people and introduce them to others that can be of assistance.

David A. Shaffer

1) First and foremost, I want to be the voice of the Third Ward. I would like to gain the trust of the constituents so that they know they can count on me when an issue or problem arises. I want them to know that I will work from day one to get those answers or help resolve their problems in a timely manner. They may not always get the answers that they’re looking for, but a response and some sort of action will be timely.

2) I firmly believe that you spend your money where you make it. Let’s start looking at the work that gets done within the city. Start by hiring local companies and people (within the county, union or non-union) to do the work that needs to be done within our borders. Too many times the workers doing the work take the money they make (our tax dollars) and spend it in their community which mostly is outside our county. Money made and spent locally will turn over five or six times locally. The forgiveness policy will also have to be reviewed.

3) Our aging infrastructure needs to be addressed. New transmission and communication lines across the city are needed to address the modern needs of the citizens. We need to stay on top of the ever-changing technologies that are driving us forward in this new millennium. Let’s bring into the discussion alternative forms of power and bringing energy efficiency to all city buildings. The cost savings over time will allow more money to be spent on the roads or possibly leaving our city pool open until the end of Labor Day.

4) I am the better candidate because of the experiences gained from the leadership roles I’ve held with my job. I have held most officer’s roles within my union, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 129. I make decisions that affect hundreds of members and their families and help improve their standard of living. I have helped curb spending within my organization and know what it’s like to make tough financial decisions that affect large numbers of people. I have been in charge of projects that have been completed ahead of schedule and under budget.

Charles Winiarski
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_winiarski.jpgCharles Winiarski

David A. Shaffer
http://aimmedianetwork.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/43/2015/10/web1_daveshaffer-003.jpgDavid A. Shaffer

OUR QUESTIONS

We asked the two candidates facing off in the Amherst city council third ward race to answer these questions:

1) What do you want to accomplish as an Amherst city council member in the next two years?

2) Amherst is nearly built out when it comes to real estate, especially for large commercial enterprises. At the same time, very few residents are required to pay local income taxes due to a long-standing forgiveness policy. How will you go about growing the local economy and making the city’s tax base stronger?

3) Where do you think resources should be shifted to better serve residents and why? For example: More police officers? Community development? Improved roads/sewers? Training?

4) Why do you think you are the best candidate to serve in a council seat? What experience or unique qualifications make you the ideal candidate?