My opponent for mayor of Geneva states on his campaign website the following:
The need for economic development to offset mounting property tax increases. The City Council needs to be proactive in bringing business to our historic downtown. The more out-of-town residents that are drawn to Geneva, the more that revenue will help reduce the property tax burden.
I could not agree more.
Since 2001, more than 700,000 square feet of retail and commercial space was added to Geneva’s economic base — in the historic downtown, along the Randall Road Corridor and the evolving and improving East State Street Corridor.
Specifically, since 2012 Geneva's downtown vacacny rate has steadily declined from its high of 15% to 8% today. We have welcomed more news businesses including, but not limited to, 3B Brothers Burgers, Beer & More, A Toda Madre, Chez Moi Cafe, Even Flow Music & Spirits, Reganato, Tivoli's Pizzeria Pasta & Grill, Trattoria Totuccio, Bridie's Nest Resale Shop, C'est La Vie, Color Me Vintage, Dancers Dream, Havlicek Ace Hardware, Her Art, Llilka's Closet, Mr. Cromwell's Attic, Raging Karma, Seasons of Geneva, Yester Years Antiques & Collectibles, Perlman Fine Jewlers, Sugar Path and so on.
In addition, but which my opponent does not address, is the fact that Geneva has added more than 500,000 square feet of industrial development, as well. Such development “costs less” to service and provides even greater tax relief for citizens and business owners.
An essential element of expanding our retail and industrial base is planning for such opportunities in a comprehensive and collaborative manner. That is why the nearly two-year exercise of developing the City of Geneva’s Downtown Master Plan (complete with identifying “opportunity zones” for future benefit and consideration) was a critical first step. However, my opponent deemed such an exercise at a recent Daily Herald editorial board interview as, “a waste of my time”.
A waste of time? Really?
On the contrary, the Mayor’s participation in such far-reaching planning exercises is critical to demonstrate to downtown business owners his support of sound planning opportunities and convey to business owners and residents alike that such planning, while time-consuming, is necessary to prepare for and embrace opportunities that are immediate and distant.
Geneva’s downtown can’t afford a Mayor who doesn’t have the time to invest his efforts and energies in helping enhance our economic environment. Planning for our future is not a “waste of time” as my opponent has stated, it is a sound investment of our time to ensure that our future is as bright as the present.
To the hundreds of citizens and business owners who participated in the development of the Downtown Master Plan, I support your efforts, your commitment and your faith in the promise of Geneva. My opponent does not.
I respectfully ask for your vote on Tuesday, April 9, 2013 and look forward to working with you - no matter how much time it takes - in the years to come.
Kevin R. Burns
Mayor of Geneva & Candidate for Re-election
Facebook: Kevin Burns for Mayor
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