- Pensions - I made the personal decision to decline participation in the Florida Retirement System. I did so for three distinct reasons; the City's annual pension liability is almost as much as the entire amount of property taxes collected which is scary and if not checked immediately will exceed property tax revenues in the near future, the role of City Council is a part time job and I did not run for City Council to collect a pension but to serve my neighbors in District 3 and finally, any area we can cut without affecting services or safety should be reviewed and the tough decisions made. I could not in my mind reconcile cutting expenses while still costing the City a pension contribution. Stay tuned here, there is more to come.
- Protection- Over the past few weeks I have had the privilege of participating in the Citizens Police Academy and visiting the Fire Station. I am in awe of these true heros, they expect the best from themselves and each other every day. I want the citizens of Pensacola to know as discussions continue along consolidation of services, I will NOT vote for any consolidation plan that degrades the quality of service or compromises the safety of our City residents. Our Fire Department, the oldest in Florida and celebrating its 200th anniversary next year, is a class 1 fire department, with Advanced Firefighter training, the highest rating possible and the only one in the County. Until the County system is equal to the PFD I don't see how consolidation can occur. I will be reaching out to the County Commission to ask them to ensure that the County Fire department is continually improved until they meet the Pensacola standard of perfection in both Police and Fire protection.
- The Park - We had a workshop on the Community Maritime Park. While I thought the workshop was good and brought the groups together to close the loop on several issues, I left with some concern over Mr. Barker's financing report and how he plans to pay for the park. I will be spending a significant amount of time studying this issue over the next few weeks and will share my research on the financing issues and possibilities in this blog.
- Potholes - Finally, while many tasks tackled by a City Council person are interesting and even sometimes exhilerating I have found that there is no satisfaction quite like hearing a neighbor let you know about a pothole and taking steps to help them get it repaired. I found myself not only going out to meet with them to witness the growing crater but driving neighborhoods looking for potholes that I had seen walking District 3 during my campaign. Soooo....if you see them, let me know and we will work together with Al Garza, the City's engineer and quite possibly the most knowledgeable person in the City regarding infrastructure, to get it fixed before it swallows your cars. We do this one right and quickly!! Thanks to an amazing team lead by Mr. Al Garza.
Stay in touch and feel free to call with any questions or concerns.