Pensacola Mayoral Candidate Ashton Hayward released a “20 Actions For 2011” list this week. The list is broken into four categories: Creating jobs, restoring trust, taking action and improving neighborhoods.
1) Give local businesses the opportunity to compete and to win city contracts for construction and services, so we can create and save jobs for our neighbors and our families.
2) Enhance the quality of our workforce through training and education programs, so our young people and workers obtain the education and skills they need to be competitive in a global economy.
3) Establish a united front with the city, county, and all non-governmental groups that are dedicated to economic development to maximize our ability to recruit jobs, investment, and talent to our area.
4) Determine the highest and best use for the Main Street plant site and look at ways to attract outside capital and investment from the private sector to fulfill that use.
5) Develop policies for using the dozens of acres of vacant, surplus city-owned property and surplus buildings to recruit new businesses to the city and to assist existing businesses in expanding, so we don’t continue losing jobs to other cities.
6) Cultivate a “Citizens First” culture at City Hall. Obtain feedback from surveys, comment cards and city staff to ensure the best customer service possible and responsive government.
7) Produce monthly, line-item financial statements that will be posted online for the public to view, along with explanations for any significant variances from budget projections.
8) Implement a code of ethics for all city employees and department heads that set standards for behavior and professionalism, and institutes strict transparency requirements to prevent even the appearance of conflicting relationships between decision-makers and those doing business with the city.
9) Make city information more readily available and easy to understand by including in city budgets, resolutions, ordinances and other documents a “public summary” that outlines in clear, everyday language the impact of actions taken.
10) Eliminate local government duplication and cut wasteful spending by collaborating and/or consolidating with other government entities on services, such as purchasing, human resources, and technology.
11) Create discretionary funds for each council district that allows them to address community needs without bureaucratic red tape. The funds would be subject to approval by the Chief Financial Officer or Mayor.
12) Develop a cost reduction incentive plan for city employees who find ways to cut the budget, allowing them to share in the benefits of the first-year savings.
13) Evaluate the city pension plan so we can continue the current level of essential services that we all expect for policing, firefighting, emergency response, garbage pickup, etc.
14) Prioritize the city’s spending of revenues, moving from the current budgetary approach, to a “near-zero-based” budgetary approach, requiring all budget allocations to undergo a justification process.
15) Find new ways to generate non-tax revenue to address critical needs in our city, such as creating a “Grant Specialist,” funded from secured grants, whose sole responsibility is pursuing outside funding from government and private foundations to ease the burden on taxpayers.
16) Transition our Port of Pensacola from an aggregate and cement-driven enterprise to one that hosts more downtown friendly, light industrial shipping, and mixed-use commercial development.
17) Promote mixed-income housing by developing incentives for redevelopment and for the creation of affordable living opportunities throughout neighborhoods within the city limits.
18) Use the approximately $1 million tree fund – paid for by new construction – in the city to improve existing streets with narrower lanes, wider sidewalks or bike lanes, trees and beautification, and other enhancements to accommodate better walking, bicycling, and vehicle travel.
19) Transition the city’s fleet to Natural Gas Vehicles to help reduce greenhouse gases and urban pollution, and the dependence on foreign oil. Because the city owns and operates Energy Services of Pensacola, the use of NGVs will be a potential business opportunity.
20) Green our city and protect our environment by ensuring that new, city-owned construction is LEED-certified and create tax incentives for private developers that adhere to sustainable development standards.