Recently, I appeared on WSYB’s talk show “Community Matters” and told Mike Cameron and his audience that I was announcing my intention to run for re-election as mayor of the City of Rutland for another two-year term this coming March.
I want to thank the voters of Rutland City for the opportunity to serve you in this role.
We have had a successful and productive two years. As you recall, when I was sworn in, the city was in turmoil. The fire department was having all sorts of issues. The city budget was a month late getting approved by the aldermen, it had substantial increases and was being funded through unrealistic sources such as tapping the unassigned fund balance, which proved to be problematic when putting together last year’s budget. And, of course, the city was divided over the refugee issue. All the while, important projects and issues were being held up or given no attention at all.
The voters decided it was time for a change. I was elected on a platform of transparency, open government, getting long delayed projects finished and bringing a renewed optimism about moving the City of Rutland forward. I believe we have done just that.
Over the first year, we put together a talented team of department heads and are working together and supporting the agenda we have put forward.
We hired a new recreation superintendent who is doing great work with her department.
After a long and thorough process, which included a search committee involving aldermen, firefighters and members of the public, we identified and hired our new fire chief, Jim Larsen. The city, its residents and the fire department are lucky to have a man of his character leading the Rutland City Fire Department. The changes being made are long overdue, but I am confident, as Chief Larsen is, in bringing the fire department through this transition and we believe we are doing it successfully, and will provide the highest level of service to our citizens, and put forward a department that we can all be proud of.
In June of last year, we opened our new municipal swimming pool at White’s Park. This long delayed project was moved forward during my first year, spearheaded first by Cindi Wight and ably taken over by Kim Peters. It was brought to conclusion on time, on budget, and was enjoyed by thousands of folks during this past summer.
Another long delayed project, the Center Street Marketplace Park, opened in August after 10 years of planning, delays and issues of rights-of-way. I appointed Brennan Duffy from the RRA as project manager and he successfully moved the project to completion. Sen. Leahy and Rep. Welch joined in the ribbon cutting, and now we have a new city park for all to enjoy.
We have improved the gateway on Strongs Avenue both aesthetically and for safety reasons.
We were able to pave North and South Main streets for the motoring public, roads which are the state’s responsibility, but the state has failed to do in a timely manner.
And finally, after a year of catching up and putting the financial pieces back together budget-wise, we were able to present a fiscal 2020 budget to the taxpayers with virtually no increase and flat water and sewer rates for the upcoming year.
So, you see, (we) have been very busy these past two years.
Looking forward, we need to look at efficiencies in city government, identify new potential sources of revenue outside property tax, build capital budget funding for the future, build the Grand List with completion of new developments such as the Starbucks project on North Main Street, and see through the construction of a new hotel downtown, which would be a game-changer.
Real estate activity is up, crime statistics are down, the city is primed to make major movement forward.
I look forward to serving as your mayor for two more years and ask for your support.
David Allaire is the mayor of Rutland City.