Citizens of Gary, you deserve to know exactly how much money your city receives in revenue each year, and you deserve to know exactly where it is spent. My first priority will be to examine all revenue streams and expenditures, and to make that information 100% transparent to city constituents. This also means adopting acceptable accounting practices recommended by the State of Indiana. I am committed to complete transparency with all city finances. Where your money goes should not be a mystery.
No administration can turn the City of Gary around alone. I plan to utilize the willingness and energy of volunteers as opportunity for city advocates and ambassadors. Volunteers want to know that the mayor values their work and contributions, and will listen to their ideas. To show my support I plan to launch a “civic engagement” initiative where volunteers can meet with the mayor’s administration on a quarterly basis.
But a critical area of vital importance relative to the safety and well-being of our citizens is the fire department. These men and women face untold and unknown dangers daily. They are virtually under fire and in the fire regularly. We will equip and support these public safety champions including the improvement of the housing conditions in the various stations.
The third critical area also under the umbrella of the Gary Fire Department is the Emergency Medical Services.. These public safety warriors work around the clock with very few quiet moments in between. Because they are dealing with every illness, accident, trauma and medical concern, they must also complete continued educational courses as well as additional training.
In a Jerome Prince administration knowing that these individuals risk their lives, sacrifice time away from their families and support our citizens, we will every day work to improve their conditions and provide them with the tools and the support to continue the great work that they do on our behalf. We thank each and every one of them for their service.
The city’s current nondiscrimination policy does not include the LGBTQ community. The current policy as posted on the City of Gary human relations website states, “It is against the law to deny employment, housing, education, or public services and accommodation because of a person’s race, color, creed, religion, sex, national origin, ancestry, disability, or familial status.”I would like to see an addition that includes sexual orientation.
The City of Gary needs a personnel restructuring based on automating more city services and fee collections. Residents are not consistently paying fees for dog licenses, rental registrations, permits, etc. To help this, I plan to put a fees section on the city website to streamline the process, I additionally plan to eliminate cash payment for all city functions including parking, as entry fees should be automated and collected through parking meters.
As mayor, I plan to initiate a citizens’ discretionary budget forum called “Stakeholders’ Spending.” Under this program, 1% of the city’s discretionary budget will be set to a direct citizens’ vote. Citizens can discuss how to spend a small discretionary portion of the budget in order to have a say in how taxes are spent. The forum will exist online or in-person forum.
Making Gary Clean and Green
Through a structured proposal, I will engage schools and churches to make measurable progress in cleaning up the city of Gary. A part of the program will enlist jails and community service centers in litter pick up, where people earn time or satisfy community service requirements.
Economic development is crucial, and I am excited to continue some of the initiatives started by private industry such as NICTD’s double-track project. Reducing the commute time to downtown Chicago will help attract visitors as well as long-term market rate residents. But to effectively leverage our transportation assets including water, air and rail, and to attract the best possibilities for the usage of Buffington Harbor and our industrial corridors, Gary must first clean house. As we negotiate these various types of initiatives, we will first strengthen our position in order to leverage the best opportunity. We have to address our crumbling infrastructure including our streets and sidewalks, eliminate blight by removing dilapidated buildings, and clean our streets before we can engage private industry on an equal footing.
Develop the Miller Neighborhood
I see the neighborhood of Miller as a tourism destination. A mayor, my administration will leverage the geographically distinct area of Miller as an ecotourism destination. I am committed to preserving its natural habitat, and I support branding the area based on its lakefront. My Administration will consider the feasibility of a citizen’s Conservancy board to help Steward the city’s natural resources and destination parks such as Marquette Park.
My administration will seek out innovative ways to promote housing. I am mindful that young people, families and seniors need safe, decent and affordable housing. My administration will promote homeownership by offering city-owned properties for sale, promoting two unit ownership and new home development at a variety of entry level prices. I will explore providing homeownership incentives to buyers which will eliminate or reduce the amount of money needed for a down payment. We must increase our tax base through homeownership.
‘Chat with the Mayor’ 💬
I would like a chat feature added to city’s website that allows residents to talk to the mayor. I will address policy considerations and important topics through responses and suggestions. It’s a very simple constituent engagement tool that is currently not utilized. I recognize that to be effective, I must be accountable and accessible to the people I work for…you! I believe effective communication is essential to any unit of government. As Mayor, I will add a chat feature to the city’s website that will allow residents to talk to the mayor, to get your direct feedback and provide responses on current issues. I will address policy considerations and important topics through our communication as we reimagine our city and bring it to its full potential.