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In Their Own Words: Here's Why You Should Vote for 1st Ward Candidate Zachary J. Ploppert

Zachary Ploppert is running against Esther Barclay and Charles N. Brown for an open seat as 1st Ward Alderman.

By working my way through college, I have earned a unique perspective on the challenges and rewards of fulfilling  my own commitment to bettering myself and my community. I understand how to balance my personal goals with the goals of the community. Based on my experiences, I’m confident that my work ethic, dedication and commitment will benefit the Council and Geneva if I’m given the chance to serve.  

The future of Geneva's 1st Ward and its rightful place as the heart of our community, requires new energy, new perspective and a greater sense of urgency. I am committed to delivering all three ingredients to each and every discussion and submit to you that I am the only candidate who can do so. 

To be an effective alderman, it’s critical that I understand your thoughts and positions on key issues facing Geneva. Once elected, I will create an email system designed to gain the opinions you want to share before casting my vote on those key issues. Using this kind of technology will help me better serve you throughout my tenure on the City Council. I will also create a 1st Ward Facebook page to allow citizens to more quickly and easily find out what is going on within the 1st Ward and throughout Geneva and yet another way for us to communicate with each other. 

In these tough times it is vital, and it will my top priority, that the city of Geneva very carefully examine the city's needs versus the city's wants. Unfortunately, we do not have the luxury of funding projects, programs, and services that are not vital to our community.

Greater community involvement is needed in order to make sure the decisions of the City Council/Committee of the Whole best reflect the feelings of citizens within Geneva. This includes making sure all citizens are informed about what is to be voted on and what is happening within their city's government. I intend to accomplish this through a variety of ways, including hosting coffees at local coffee houses where residents can stop by and discuss issues facing the 1st Ward and Geneva in general. All of this is in addition to always making myself available to residents via phone and email.

Although Geneva's Downtown Master Plan is not complete yet, its completion and initial implementation will occur within the next aldermen's term in office. It is crucial that the City Council take the Downtown Master Plan and work with the document, citizens, businesses, and the city staff to make sure that Downtown Geneva continues to be a shining point not only in Geneva, but in the Fox Valley.

In an ideal world lowering local taxes would be a top priority of every candidate in the race; this, unfortunately, is not the case. I believe it to be unrealistic to promise to lower taxes, but would instead promise to not raise taxes without first taking the time to make sure there is no possible alternative and to not do so would be detrimental to the community.

The city’s portion of a homeowner’s tax bill is a modest 9 percent. The city has done a good job of “holding the line on taxes” while providing the services and programs the community has demanded and come to expect.

As we move forward, more focus will be given, rightfully so, on closely examining all investments and expenditures and the tough decisions about what programs to reform or completely eliminate will fall on my shoulders and my colleagues on the City Council. I’m prepared to make the tough decisions based on feedback from those I serve and in the best interest of the entire community.

The city of Geneva is currently facing several situations where the expenditure of money would be beneficial. We have a fleet of police cars that are aging and often in need of repair, city streets are starting to show the wear and tear of our rough climate, and Geneva's Downtown Master Plan process is nearing the home stretch.

These situations, among others, need to be examined and prioritized carefully. Maintaining a fleet of police vehicles to keep Geneva's streets safe is a necessity that should not go overlooked. Geneva's city streets are something that might easily go unnoticed by citizens until they are in need of repair. It is essential not only for the safety of our citizens and guests but also to prevent further expense in the future that Geneva maintain an aggressive plan of street maintenance and repair.

The final phases of Geneva's Downtown Master Plan will no doubt be exciting and interesting. Since the Downtown Master Plan is a long-term plan, it will not necessarily require the city of Geneva to budget large amounts of money to start work on completing the plan.

We must remember, however, that the Downtown Master Plan is something that is designed to help guide Geneva into the future and uses information from a wide variety of sources to carefully lay out a plan that best guides Geneva's downtown into the future. It is crucial that we as a city do not lay these plans to waste and that Geneva continues to invest in its future while still maintaining our history and managing our budget.

As a part of Geneva’s ‘next generation,’ I believe it is important for that generation to be represented on the City Council now in order to help Geneva move into the 21st century while still remaining firmly rooted in our history and traditions.

I look forward to earning your support and vote. As always, if you have any questions please comment and/or contact me.

Editor's note: Geneva Patch invited candidates in contested races for Park Board, City Council and School Board to write their own autobiographical introductions and final essays. You can read them all in the Elections 2011 tab at the top of the home page.

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