My approach as a fiscal conservative is to always stay within our means and keep fees low. I believe the Council must be honest, transparent, and speak simply on what it costs to run a resilient city. Additionally I will:
Be a wise steward.
At all times the Council has a legal fiduciary duty to be stewards of the financial resources allocated to operate our city. This process requires making budget decisions for a wide range of tasks – from paving streets to afterschool programs; from investigating crimes to buying library books. Decisions will always draw public scrutiny and must be based on clear policy priorities. As Mayor, I will be prepared with logical questions, careful reasoning, and honest answers. I will be open and accountable and approve expenditures only after confirming new operations for their efficiency and value. I strongly believe in keeping a sufficient percentage of the budget in a reserve account as an offset “ raining day fund” in case of emergency which now we must tap into during the Covid-19 pandemic.
Mandate independent oversight of taxes and fees.
Revenue streams are essential to city services. However, oversight is necessary to assure that taxes are fair and not burdensome to residents. Orange must ensure that taxes are shared fairly when certain taxes get re-distributed through State or Federal agencies. Fees need regular examination to balance actual costs with services. My approach as a fiscal conservative is to always stay within our means and keep fees low and only support new taxes if supported by a vote of the people.
I make sure I attend every Orange budget study sessions, have reviewed it fully, and have a thorough understanding of this processes and how it works. A good budget review derives from clear policy priorities and must includes public participation. We have a great deal of work ahead for us as future budgets due to Covid-19 are anticipated to be in the red.