According to Milton Councilman-elect Joseph Longoria, who defeated incumbent Tina D'Aversa this past November, it's all about the revenue.
A majority of funds that Milton receives are from property taxes. So as home values and property values go down, so does city revenue. Longoria says because of that fact, how the city deals with the continuing economic condition and climate is the next biggest thing Milton needs to worry about.
As the city winds down its contract with CH2M HILL OMI, the "outsource" company hired to staff the city upon incorporation, one of Longoria’s biggest concerns as he begins his position on Milton City Council is the transition that’s taking place in Milton because of that decision.
“Historically, we’ve been working with CHM2HILL to provide services the city needs on a daily basis,” said Longoria. “While we’re moving over to try to provide those services directly with city employees, I want to make sure we have the resources to deliver the services the citizens of Milton need and expect.”
Longoria says the move ultimately would be positive.
“The transition will be beneficial for the city because we’ll reduce the amount of money we’re spending by delivering services,” he said. However, Longoria also said that there may be unforeseen difficulties the city will have to address, but he’s confident the city will be able to address those issues as they come along – efficiently and appropriately.
“Things are going fairly smoothly right now and I expect that to continue,” he said. “But unforeseen things do happen, and if we run into trouble in areas, I want to make sure we’re prepared to help our city administrator (Chris Lagerbloom) get things done.”
IT’S THE ECONOMY, STUPID
Other things Longoria would like to see accomplished are helping the city and its citizens deal with the bad economy.
“The reality is that when you talk about the economy, we don’t effect it very much. The council can only react to what is happening within the economy. I would love to think that we can change economic conditions, but that’s just not the case. We need to figure out what things we can change,” said Longoria. Some of those things would include enticing more commercial businesses to move into Milton; a possibility that Longoria said may happen, but not overnight.
Milton's City Council has historically been very hostile to business interests.
Longoria also wants to reach out proactively to developers to figure out how to fill in developed commercial spaces, and then to engage citizens to look into shopping in Milton to help their local economy.
“Rather than travel outside the city limits to buy groceries or things they would normally buy as part of commerce, hopefully people can look for some solution to buy those goods in Milton,” said Longoria.
“There are plenty of challenges to look at over the next few years,” said Longoria. “(The council) will have to look at those issues in terms of addressing them as a unified council, a team that’s focused on doing what’s right for Milton.”