Mission mayoral candidates on the issues: Keeping up with capital improvements

Crews are in the process of installing new stormwater infrastructure in Mission. Photo via Mission Twitter profile.
Crews are in the process of installing new stormwater infrastructure in Mission. Photo via Mission Twitter profile.

Today we run the responses to the fourth of our reader questions for the two candidates running for mayor of Mission. A new question will run each day this week.

Are you comfortable with where the city stands today on its capital improvement needs? What are the primary challenges over the next 20-year cycle and how should they be addressed?

Dave_ShepardDave Shepard

Over the last 8 years we have been systematically addressing our infrastructure needs in Mission, which includes significant upgrades to our roads and storm water system. No question we had a mountain to climb when we started this journey as our infrastructure had been ignored for the better part of three decades.

To help us plan and best utilize our resources, the City Council has relied upon a five (5) year Community Investment Program (CIP), which is a methodical plan for providing infrastructure improvements within a prioritized framework. The CIP serves as a guide for the efficient and effective delivery of public infrastructure improvements that includes a timeline and a schedule of capital projects for a 5-year period of time.

The CIP allows us to look at the City’s infrastructure needs in totality and ensures we are leveraging all possible outside resources and synergies. The CIP reflects community assets, community needs and community goals and also provides guidelines for growth and development.

The infrastructure needs of a community, whether it is scheduled maintenance or a complete rebuild, never goes away.

Infrastructure also includes things like our 80,000 square foot Community Center, which has been a tremendous asset for our community, but also requires scheduled maintenance and upgrades. It is similar to the ongoing investments that are required to maintain and upkeep our homes.

The trap for future City Councils to avoid is believing there is a “finish line” to this journey of infrastructure improvements. The old adage that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is so very true. We must have the courage to continue making steady investments in our community, and realize that it is always easier to keep-up than it is to catch-up.

You can learn more about my campaign at www.DavidShepard.org

Steve-Schowengerdt_200Steve Schowengerdt

Since I have not been part of the City Council for the past four years, I have not been afforded the opportunity to see the current capital improvement plan.  However, I assure you we will control spending.  The City must address its needs and hold off a little on the wants until a more stable revenue stream becomes available.  For the business community and residents alike, taking care of our streets and other infrastructure needs are a necessity.  If we work to make the City more attractive to developers by relaxing strict planning codes unheard of in other communities, developers will build in Mission just as they are now in Merriam, without costly tax incentives that ultimately put us further in debt.  This will allow us to address our wants and needs with new revenue without raising taxes or creating new fees.  We will address capital improvement needs, but, again, at a sustainable level and not at the expense of accruing enormous debt for the City. 

Our current debt has forced us to compete for the highest taxes in the metro area.  However, by living within our means, we will be able to boast the lowest taxes in the metro.  I do not mind spending money, but I do believe in spending our tax payer’s money wisely.

Tomorrow we will publish the candidates’ responses to our final question:

Besides redevelopment and infrastructure, how can the city improve quality of life for residents, maintain property values and make it an attractive choice for all ages?