Q&A with Jackson mayoral candidates

Monday, March 28, 2005

Q: What is one thing that you'd like to see accomplished in Jackson within one year?

Sander: We have so many ongoing projects it is difficult to pick just one. A growing, prospering community like Jackson has many projects and goals to work toward. One major project that should be completed is phase one of the Highway 72/34 widening. Increased traffic flow and safety will be the result. Also, the city is now on board in support of the proposed historic uptown business district. Once it is formed, the opportunity exists for grant funding and other improvements in uptown Jackson.

Ward: The purpose of the government of the city of Jackson is to serve the citizens, their health, safety and welfare. Our taxes pay city employees' salaries and benefits, and those employees should be accountable for their actions, just as the average citizen is held accountable for his or her actions by their employers or by the government. Checks and balances in government should go both ways. One of the first things I will do when elected mayor will be to form an ethics review commission, made up of Jackson citizens without ties to the city government. The ethics review commission would review and monitor citizen complaints with the city government. This review system would include city boards, including planning and zoning, board of adjustments, and the city council.

Q: What are three major goals that should be accomplished, or at least started, in the city within the next five to 10 years?

Sander: We have a comprehensive city plan and a five-year capital improvement plan in place. This ongoing planning process lays the groundwork for the future of Jackson. So the answer to the question is we have many, many important goals for Jackson in the next five to 10 years. These improvements will continue to be made through our budgeting process as the funds become available. To be a little more specific, a second emergency services facility is certainly on the front burner. Industrial development, continued park improvements, and street, water, sewer and electric upgrades will continue to be critical as well. A community must be able to provide its citizens quality services in order have continued planned and orderly growth. We also would hope to have Phase 2 of East Main Street completed, a new interchange at Interstate 55 built and many new opportunities for Jackson. We must be business friendly and we will continue to work with the Chamber of Commerce and MAGNET to help expand existing businesses and work to get new industries so more of Jackson's young citizens can work, live and raise a family in Jackson.

Ward: Traffic is an ever increasing problem that needs to be dealt with an eye on projected future growth and growth patterns. Population in Jackson grew 29 percent between the 1990 and 2000 census, and the trend is continuing. All city services must keep up the pace while anticipating the future: health and safety, as well as utilities. Clearly, Jackson needs an additional fire station, and planning needs to be underway for future growth related issues.

Q: One of the major issues facing the city is a lack of a second fire station. Would you be in favor of a tax increase to support a second fire station? Why or why not?

Sander: Tax increases are always a last resort to me. We have not been in the habit of going to the voters for tax increases in Jackson. I prefer that we live within our means when at all possible. However, if it turns out that we can't totally fund a new fire/emergency services facility through our budget process, then I would consider a measure that would better protect our community and at the same time help to keep our ISO ratings so our citizens insurance rates don't go up.

Ward: Jackson absolutely needs an additional fire station, but before a tax increase is requested, all avenues for revenue should be explored. If the school bond passes, the tax burden will increase, and another tax increase will have very little chance of passing.

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