For too long, the policies of our governing body have placed priority on the wrong items. By focusing on the wrong things, many of South River’s services have forgotten the human element, leading to unfriendly policies that put our residents and businesses second. I’ve seen much of the neglect firsthand.
Our permit and code process is confusing and time consuming. While the folks who assist at the window at the administrative building have been kind to me, I do not believe our town gives them the tools and information needed to ensure that our residents are efficiently and properly served. “What forms do I need?” should be a question that is readily answered for any issue one may have, yet the current process tends to be “The code enforcement officer will get back to you when he’s in the office.” This makes more work for everyone.
Language barriers only create additional layers of frustration. I have assisted other residents who are learning, but have not yet mastered English, and acting as a translator still results in a confusing experience.
The South River I grew up in is a friendly one. Yet, the approach our governing body tends to take is one that treats residents with hostility. For instance, we had an opportunity earlier this year to improve our online payment system by asking for additional services when negotiating a new contract with our billing company in May. Councilmen Jones and Haussermann were vocal about trying to improve this experience early in the year, yet, we reentered a contract with the same level of services for residents.
We seem to have a fascination with huge, expensive projects rather than focusing on the little things that would return the friendliness into how the town interacts with its residents and businesses.
I’m running for Council because I have become disappointed with the way our town carries itself. My neighbors have always extended a helping hand and chat with me if they have an issue. Our town should be following the same sort of principles when setting policies and making decisions. There’s a dozen little ways to improve residents’ and businesses’ confidence to attract new families to town and hold onto the businesses that are so important to the success of our downtown.
If elected, my top priority will be to evaluate the way we do things in town and examine ways to make the experience more resident and business friendly. Restoring their confidence will assist in our town’s revitilization.