As a candidate for mayor for the city of Elkins I want to take this opportunity to respond to the letter from Mr. McRae in The Inter-Mountain on Feb. 23. To my knowledge, Mr. McRae has never been to a City Council meeting to present his concerns, nor was he present at the recent Candidate Forum at the high school.
First, I would like to address Mr. McRae's concern about the "city's economic situation." My opinions about this have been addressed in other forums but I am happy to reiterate my thoughts on this matter. In preparing our budget each year the city has taken a very conservative approach to estimating revenues and closely monitoring spending by all departments so that we do not overspend the budget. When estimating our revenues, we take into account that the economic situation changes constantly and therefore we have to adjust accordingly. My plan if elected mayor would be to continue to work with council to make sure that we stay within our approved budget each year. I also would like to see if the city can utilize more grant funding in an effort to improve the city's resources.
Second, as a member of the Elkins City Council, I would like to address Mr. McRae's remarks about "infighting" and "building a fire" under council. I am not sure where Mr. McRae is getting his information about "infighting" among council, as currently we have a council that works very well together, and although we all have our own ideas (as we should) we make our decisions and vote for what we feel is best for the citizens of Elkins.
As for "building a fire" under council, I believe that this council has tackled some very important matters and made the hard decisions such as closing the landfill and upgrading the water system.
Third, Mr. McRae speaks of the water project as a "white elephant" and I must disagree. Council felt that the condition of the city's water system was in dire need of replacement. This $30,000,000 investment in the Elkins infrastructure has not been "tied down with internal problems" as he stated; however, a project of this size takes a great deal of time and energy and involves engineers, accountants and attorneys, not to mention the vast number of agencies that need to give their approval of the plans. Mr. McRae also alleges that this project "has gone way over budget" and this statement in no way is correct; the city has not gone over budget for this project.
The city of Elkins operates under a strong council, weak mayor form of government so Mr. McRae's statement "we need someone who won't cave in to council, but stand his ground" is misguided.
We need a mayor who will work with council to achieve the best for our city.
During my campaign I have always stated that I will have an open-door policy and as such I will be willing to meet with Mr. McRae at his convenience to discuss any of his concerns and would be willing to listen to any opinions or ideas he might have to improve the city of Elkins.