« 2013: The Year Ahead | Main | Bexley's 2012 In Review »
Tuesday
Jan222013

Mayor's Position Paper on the Alternative Revenue Task Force Recommendations

Since the presentation of the Bexley Alternative Revenue Task Force report to the administration and City Council in late November of 2012, I have been, with the help of City directors, researching their recommendations, discussing some of the recommendations with Mayors and City Managers from cities who have enacted similar concepts, and receiving public input, along with Council, on the recommendations.  The results of this research - and my own professional perspective on the recommendations of the Task Force - are encapsulated in the "Position Paper" that we have prepared in response to the Alternative Revenue Task Force recommendations.

There is no doubt that some of the recommendations contained in the Task Force report are potentially controversial, and may challenge some of our ideas about what is - or is not - appropriate for Bexley.  I am vigoursouly in favor of the sort of open thinking that allows the controversial to be explored alongside the mundane and the not-so-controversial.  I believe that ultimately, no matter the outcome of such conversations, the honest debate yields good fruit as ideas are checked against other ideas, and in turn beget new ideas of their own.  We encourage a free and open exchange of ideas at the City - it's how productive discussion occurs, and it's how we stress-test new ideas and new concepts against the reality check of who we are as a City and where we want to go together.  

One of the potential, and ultimately unavoidable, challenges of a transparent and open public process is the conundrum of how to best communicate and contextualize open debate when politically charged issues are being freely discussed. There is no great way to do this, and in the messy but wonderful world of free speech and democracy there is ample fodder for misunderstanding and sensationalism.  We've dealt with our fair share of that sensationlism over the past few months, but above and beyond that we've dealt with an ultimately positive process where residents have freely and respectfully shared their perspectives and we have been able to focus on some big questions about the character and future of Bexley.  And of course this discussion continues.  The "Position Paper" has been carefully considered and is thoughtfully offered, but it is only one step along the way as City leadership discusses how to process the recommendations of the Task Force. 

I, and Bexley City directors, have focused on performing some fundamental analysis of the recommendations, and exploring similar concepts as instituted in other communities.  While our perspective might differ from that of the Task Force on some recommendations, we tried to focus on alternative concepts that were true to the spirit of the Task Force's recommendations.  City Council will review this report alongside the report of the Task Force, and we will work together on resolving to meaningful solutions that will further bolster Bexley's increasingly improving economic outlook.

Thank you to the phenomenally dedicated and gifted residents who have brought this good work to us to consider, and who continue to be engaged in this process as we work through sustainable solutions for Bexley's future.  I am constantly amazed and awed at what a superb community we are all blessed to be a part of!

Ben Kessler
Mayor, City of Bexley

To Read the Mayor's Position Paper, Click Here