4th Ward councilman responds to points made in letter

Since a recent letter writer made some accusations in her Oct. 21 letter about me, I think it appropriate that I respond.

1. I have no problem defending my record as an incumbent. What I have is a problem with those running for office or their supporters who distort the truth.

2. Name calling of a candidate running for council-at-large by me did not occur at either of the two events that I appeared at with the candidate. What I did demand is that his false and misleading campaign literature be withdrawn and no longer circulated.

3. It is my opinion that the second floor classroom council shares with the health department for committee meetings and the Lookout Park building, where twice monthly council meetings are held, are inadequate and an embarrassment to the city. Short comings of our current setup include: issues of handicap accessibility, the size and arrangements of the rooms council uses, a general lack of seating for council and the public (especially at committee meetings), the lack of a quality audio visual systems so the public can see and hear the proceedings, poor internet access, and the fact that legislative branch of government has no permanent, dignified place of residence.

4. There has never been any secret negotiation about council chambers. We rejected the idea of city hall because it has been council’s goal to get the police department out of the basement. Having seen the progress made with the armory renovations, council is now seriously considering a meeting room on the ground floor of the armory for council chambers.

5. The 2003-2004 council voted to raise the 2005-2006 council’s pay from $4,500 to $5,500. The current council voted to raise the 2014-2015 council pay from $5,500 to $7,250. That’s $1,750/year or $146 per month. By law, the current council did not vote to give itself a raise. Legislation was passed prior to the filing deadline so that anyone interested in running for office in 2013 knew what the council pay would be in 2014.

6. An IPad is a tool. The city owns the tool, councilmen use them. Nearly all of the paper previously generated for council members, and employee time to generate those copies, has been replaced via email and attachments. Only five IPads were purchased for council. Two council members and the president of council use their own IPads. They chose to do this to save the city money.

7. We did not pass “new” restrictive zoning laws. We adopted the 2012 version of the International Property Maintenance Code, which was an update of the same code council adopted in 1998. Our goal is to hire a property code enforcement official so that those of you with complaints can have them resolved quickly and judiciously.

8. This council has focused on economic development issues: tax breaks for new businesses; zoning changes to help institutions overcome unwarranted obstacles; support of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, increased financial support for Marietta Main Street; accommodations to help the Colony Theater become a reality; expansion of the multiuse bike path; responding to business and neighborhood concerns about the Pike, Seventh and Greene Street intersection project and amending the plan; supporting the changes in the way the city development office does business; supporting the sewer plant renovations; and working to protect our water well field, among others.

What you have in this council are hardworking, positive, full-time people dedicated to the prosperity of our city.

I encourage you to vote for the team for Marietta’s future: Kevin Paskawych, president of council; Harley Noland and Kathy Downer, council-at-large; Roger Kalter, 1st Ward; Mike McCauley, 2nd Ward; Steve Thomas 3rd Ward; Tom Vukovic 4th Ward; and Willa O’Neill, Marietta City treasurer.

Tom Vukovic, 4th Ward

Marietta City Council