Taking Gainesville in a new direction

Published: Thursday, March 1, 2007 at 6:01 a.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, February 28, 2007 at 3:40 p.m.
I believe we need a new direction for Gainesville; a common sense approach to how we conduct city government. We should focus on those things most important to the citizens of Gainesville.
Traffic is a major concern. Citizens don't want traffic bottlenecked. We need to widen the heavily traveled roads or add turning lanes where additional travel lanes can not be added. And we need to spend the money designated for road repairs for that purpose. Our traffic lights are finally being synchronized. It is unfortunate that the delay in starting this project is costing us another $8 million. Of course, that does not include the wasted time and gas for the taxpayers.
High taxes are a burden on our citizens and discourage businesses from relocating to Gainesville and bringing the higher paying jobs we need. I want the city to grow and to bring in new businesses with good jobs and benefits. Incentives or rebates can be offered to accomplish this. We should continue to encourage growth on the eastside of Gainesville.
The city collects a lot of tax dollars. Good common sense should be used when we spend our citizens' tax money. Keeping the city within its budget should reduce the need for more taxes. We also need to determine which projects are most important and get to work on them before the costs go up.
Gainesville needs a new power plant because our population continues to grow. If we don't act soon, the cost will only get higher. Plus we may have to buy electricity from other companies at an even higher cost to the citizens. GRU contributes $30 million a year to the city's general fund. Shouldn't some of this money be used to help build a new plant, without putting a burden on the citizens?
Our police and fire departments protect us and our property and they deserve our respect and support. The crime rate has risen 14 percent in the last 3 years. I want to work with the police department to find the best way to use our resources to protect us and our neighborhoods. I want to help decrease the emergency response time of the fire department by doing away with the roundabouts and speed humps that slow down and damage the fire trucks. We should increase enforcement of the traffic laws to replace the speed humps and roundabouts.
Additional revenue could be obtained from the University of Florida if they were required to pay the city for the use of our fire department. They do not have their own fire department and currently use ours for free. The university brings a lot of money to this city but they should still pay their fair share of the services they receive.
So if you want a new direction in Gainesville, vote for me. With good common sense, we can do it.
Wesley Watson is a candidate for mayor of Gainesville.

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