Podcast: Interview with Council President Connie MacDonald

1 Comment on "Podcast: Interview with Council President Connie MacDonald"

  1. Francis Ramsden | May 2, 2016 at 12:44 pm | Reply

    Just a couple of points. I am really enjoying these interviews. Provides a lot of information to the citizenry.

    1. The public disagreement about park expenditures in regards to renovation is not a question of having to pay on the spot via newly collected tax payer money. I think the citizens are smart enough to figure out how it works. I fully understand there may be a fund with a certain amount of money built up within….but does this excuse all expenses? I’m very curious because the attitude seems to be “hey well we have the money to pay for these upgrades, we might as well do it!” Is that not a naive way of handling money? Some of the expenses sound great….shelter upgrades, draining systems, etc. But the $12k bocce court?? I would be interested to view the entire budget for these renovations. These need explained in greater detail than what has been given. Simply having the money to do so, doesn’t mean you should.

    2. This has been the 3rd time in recent weeks that I have heard this talking point on “optimism”. All three times, it has not been about promoting good qualities (actual good qualities not make believe) – but rather to quell public criticism. As public officials you have been elected to represent the people, and answering criticism is part of the job. If you cannot articulate you opinion and reasoning for a particular action, perhaps it is time to get out of civil service. What Ellwood City needs is a dose of realism. I’m all for optimism but not to the point where we become blind to the negatives. You cannot proclaim on one hand that “our parks attract all sorts of people and tourists” but on the other proclaim “they are pieces of crap and need to be renovated”. I can assure you, as an outsider, that Ellwood City is not a common travel destination for the average citizen living in and around the Pittsburgh Metro Region. Ellwood City probably never even crosses their mind. The focus needs to be on jobs, creating an environment for new business, and attracting young professionals to the area. That is how you revitalize an old worn out town, not by ignoring the concerns of citizens and turning a blind eye to the negatives of the area.

    3. We hear briefly about local taxes. President MacDonald did a nice job of tip-toeing around the issue of decreasing tax revenues and what that really means for local residents. Guess what will happen if jobs continue to get lost, tax revenues decrease, but the local council keeps on spending?

    4. Obviously the street paving issue needed better planning. It all should have been mapped out and discussed between all the various companies before any action was taken. Now you have a problem with Columbia gas that may have been avoided.

    4. I’d like to hear more about the small business incentives being offered. There have been zero details on how local government is attempting to make Ellwood City friendly to business. With the local government owning several vacant buildings (some for 30 years!!) and generating $0 in tax revenues, there needs to be a plan to relinquish these properties. Would unused buildings sold to businesses for $1 be more productive than what we have now? These new businesses get essentially free property, the opportunity to renovate how they see fit, the chance to create new jobs, bring wealth to the local level, and to provide the borough with tax revenue. I will push this point until we get a response. If there are better ideas being discussed on the council, lets hear them.

    5. Jonathan some feedback – don’t be so timid in these interviews. You ask pretty good questions, but you should do some follow up work. You did press Mayor Court a decent amount, but when the topic of park renovations and the funding came up with President MacDonald, you should have pressed for explanations as to the $12k bocce court and if that expense is really a wise one?

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