The Virginia Pilot ask the Virginia Beach mayoral candidates the following questions. What principles would you use to deal with the multimillion dollar hole in next year’s city budget? What priorities would guide your thinking? If you cut of phase out taxes, do you replace the revenue?
We got one good answer.
We got on bad answer.
We got two evasions of the question.
I’ll start with out one good answer. John Moss cut straight to the chase. He started with the assertion that “Everything but the police officers on the street, firefighters on the trucks and teachers in the classroom would be on the table.”
From there he lays out his expectations for the city manager and from the school board. He also gives a specific list of expensive perks that are granted to city appointees that he would eliminate.
He notes that over the past seven years, city spending has increased three time faster than family’s incomes, that the city needs to rein in this spending in order to lower tax rates when economic growth returns.
I’m on board with all of that. If you read the Hampton Roads of the Sunday’s Pilot, he breaks down all the details of the plan and how exactly he would execute it.
Unfortunately after John Moss’ answer, the responses were not so transparent.
Will Sessoms at least gave an answer, even if it wasn’t a very good one.
Sessoms wasn’t concerned about containing cost, but his plan rely more on increasing revenue. He says he will attract new business to the area and that will solve all our problems.
True, bringing new businesses will increase revenue. But Mr. Sessoms, how are you going to do that? This is what he really address. He says the “old mom and pop leadership will no longer be sufficient in the 21st century or for the economy of the 21st century.” I don’t really know what that means.
Here is the problem. Mr. Sessoms is focusing on something that he cannot control. Cutting unnecessary spending is something a mayor can control, the actions of a business owner is not. A business will not come to Virginia Beach just because you ask them to. Spending money for lavish boondoggles for you minions probably won’t either.
If you could cut their cost, then you might have a chance at luring them in. Since John Moss is talking about cutting expenditures, he will have a chance to lower tax rate, which will attract business and increase those revenue streams you are seeking. Sorry Mr. Sessoms, John Moss has you beat there.
Mayor Oberndorf simply stated that she is aware of the crises, not that she plans to do anything about it. She mainly reminisces about when she first started in the city council years ago. She says she is ready to trim the sail, but doesn’t say what se means by that. There weren’t any details to comment on, but that is very typical of a long time incumbent. The less she says, the better for her. She hopes people will just keep voting her in without know what is going on.
I don’t think Scott Taylor was trying to be evasive. It just seems like he doesn’t really know what is going on. He does mention reducing the amount of money in the contingency plan and vaguely talks about cutting, although he doesn’t say what would be cut. I think Mr. Taylor sees like a bright and energetic guy with lots of leadership potential. However, he just doesn’t seem knowledge enough on the local issues to step in as mayor. I think he would be better off running for city council and gaining some experience and then, if he so desires, take another shot at mayor down the road.
John Moss once again looks like the best choice to run Virginia Beach.