A message from the Mayor...
I ran for re-election as Mayor of Cumberland in 2014, because there is still work to be done in the city. I am honored to have such overwhelming support and I look forward to serving the citizens of Cumberland for another four years.
There is still a great deal of work to do and it is my hope to see several projects through to completion and to continue to focus our energy on infrastructure, public safety, and economic development.
It hasn’t been easy.
The City of Cumberland has been financially challenged for many years, but despite tough times, we’re bouncing back, paving more streets in the past four years than in the previous decade, taking down blighted houses week after week, and investing in critical infrastructure!
When I became Mayor, the word "bankruptcy" was being whispered in City Hall. The city was on the brink of financial disaster. Immediately, a plan to end the use of tax anticipation notes, reduce spending, and get control of city government took place. Within two years of having taken office, the city had a budget surplus. Within three years, the city was "operating in the black" with a positive balance in the city's general fund. By the fourth year, the city's bond rating was upgraded to an "A," with a positive financial outlook by bond rating agencies. This was the first time in nearly a decade that the city has been "in the black."
We've accomplished a great deal in four years.
I am proud of the top-notch Cumberland Police Department, that’s sweeping up criminals to make our city safer. We have a Safe Streets initiative that’s making no bones about it; we are targeting the top bad guys.
We have a fire department that knows the age and dangers of buildings in the city, yet when there’s an emergency, they rush into danger to protect and save lives.
We have a street department and engineering department that has overseen more major paving in four years than I ever remember in my lifetime.
We have community development and code enforcement staff that are on the streets, enforcing the code every day to make living in Cumberland better and safer.
There's more to do. Let's work together.
Despite all of those fantastic efforts, it’s not enough to just look to government for every solution. Government is not always the answer. People have a responsibility to invest in our communities by more than just paying the taxes that support the new street paving, fire protection, police, and code enforcement.
Residents need to get to know their neighbors, organize, band together, and start to look at challenges in neighborhoods and instead of just saying “government should fix this,” they need to ask, “what role can I play in fixing things?” Efforts like neighborhood cleanups, mowing an abandoned lot or that of an elderly neighbor, painting your house, or just making sure that your neighbors only set trash out on appropriate days is a big deal.
Residents need to organize to be part of the solution. Yes, that means reporting problems to the police and City Hall, but it also means getting your hands dirty by trying to solve the problems that you can manage. Don’t let litter blow around your neighborhood. Don’t let your neighbor set a tire or chair on the curb without arranging for a pickup. Don’t ignore the weeds growing up between the sidewalk. Do something about it! Get your hands dirty! Government is not the answer to all of our problems; we can solve many of the ones that impact us the most on a daily basis, by just taking a role.
Let's look ahead.
I am optimistic about what is ahead and the promise of new opportunities in our community.
In 2014, the city implemented a single stream curbside recycling program in the city at no additional cost to citizens. I have continued to wage "war" against blight in our city and supported $175,000.00 of budgeted funds for blight eradication and neighborhood improvements. I have supported efforts to continue to keep the city "in the black," and financially secure, without tax rate increases. I will continue to support public safety efforts and initiatives to make our streets safe. I will vote to pave more city streets with a plan to see the repaving of Greene Street, Washington Street, Warwick Avenue, Louisiana Avenue, White Avenue, Virginia Avenue and Winifred Road in 2014. By the end of 2014, Baltimore Avenue will be re-opened with a wider street, new sidewalks, a new retaining wall and a dozen blighted structures removed. I will encourage economic development efforts to increase retail and dining opportunities in the city as well as increase job opportunities. And I will continue to be accessible to residents and listen to your thoughts, ideas and concerns.
I believe we must focus our energy on what we have and allow Cumberland’s charm and spirit to be the engines that promote our community.
Cumberland can only change and grow once again if we all work together. Government is not always the answer. Higher tax rates are not the answer. The only way to bring about the change we need is to be that change. We must all be a part of the revitalization of our community through community involvement and activism.
I am accessible to you.
As I have been over the past four years, I continue to be accessible to hear your thoughts, ideas and concerns. Please email me and don't hesitate to contact me via Facebook. I look forward to hearing from you.
Thanks again for your support!