Many people have asked me what I would do on the City Council to improve the city’s basic maintenance services. Parks, school playgrounds, roads, snow clearing, and trash collection are all areas of concern.
Medford is not providing the same level of services as our neighbors receive in other cities and towns. These are essential services and basic upkeep. Residents pay taxes for and expect these services to be provided week in and week out to keep our community clean, safe, and well maintained. If staff resources are an issue, a solution must be found, rather than an excuse.
Addressing this shortcoming in routine services is very straightforward; it’s difficult to understand why the City Council incumbents have had such trouble doing it. Where are the answers to the hard questions?
My plan is simple:
Step one: Medford’s new leaders need to commit to a better system for reporting problems (such as the well-known 3-1-1 system other cities use, or “one call to City Hall”). This will require an upfront investment.
Step two: the city needs to be absolutely consistent in planning for maintenance budget allocations every year, scheduling for basic maintenance to occur at our public places on a routine basis, and conducting inspections often enough to ensure that the work is completed.
Step three: Our municipal government needs to do a better job of listening to and reporting back to its constituents, including all of the city’s residents. Too often the administration is only responding to those who complain, and our government must inform all residents of what and how it is doing. With better communication and transparency, City Hall will provide the dynamic, responsive government we deserve.
I called for all Medford City Councillors to set up permanent office hours, back in July, in the Medford Transcript.
Step four: if city staffing is not sufficient to maintain our many parks, playgrounds, public facilities and infrastructure, let’s plan to hire additional staff and let’s see that line item in the budget.
Above all, let’s do the proper fiscal planning to ensure that the above initiatives, including the hiring of any new staff, are planned in a way that does not put a burden on the Medford homeowner’s tax bill. These initiatives can be accomplished, but, again, the city council has not taken the initiative or had the foresight to do so.
As a city planner in three nearby municipalities over the past 15 years, I bring experience and new ideas for getting these essential jobs done. I would appreciate your vote on November 3rd.