Growth and development are here in Black Diamond and they are not leaving and our city is on the verge of financial collapse. So the obvious question would be why would we trust such an important time and process to candidates who have never held a publicly-elected position?
Two of these candidates want to be mayor but have no political experience or deep understanding of how our city government works. One had never attended a City Council meeting until just a couple of weeks ago. I don’t want a mayor who is learning the job on the fly, under extreme pressure and in the position of being unknowingly manipulated or taken advantage of by City Council or political groups.
While the position of mayor is a thankless one which pays nothing, it is not a symbolic position. I want someone who will treat it as a full-time job with the dedication it deserves. I want a mayor who works normal business hours and is accessible. Two of these candidates have jobs, one full-time and one part-time. Do they plan on quitting if elected so they can properly address the city’s issues or are they going to treat the position as a part-time obligation outside of work? Furthermore, what happens if these inexperienced individuals decide to quit midterm because they feel they are in over their heads or it requires more time than they can give? I am not about to let this City Council appoint a replacement like they have for two of their own positions, something that has chaffed many citizens as we got no input to their appointments.
I want someone who understands accounting practices and municipal budgets. Each candidate says that public safety is high on their list of priorities but only one understands how the budget actually works. Black Diamond’s is complicated because three-fourths of the city staff is funded by YarrowBay through an agreement for the purpose of continuity during the process. While the city fills and controls these positions, they are not subject to budget cuts for they do not pay for them. The General Fund is the only controllable fund and the Police Department makes up the largest portion of it and is usually the most visual casualty of cuts in the form of officer layoffs. How do we increase the General Fund? Raise your taxes or find new revenue streams. Controlled growth will bring this along with a solid police and fire budget. Without it this city will die. Simply promoting business development has proven ineffective and won’t work as businesses won’t survive without a growing population base to support it. That is why so many businesses in Black Diamond go out of business or move away.
There is only one candidate experienced and qualified for the position. Mayor Rebecca Olness is the only one capable of continuing to work with YarrowBay, to see they follow every detail of the agreement they signed which includes many checks and balances and assessment points along the way to protect the city and its citizens This is an agreement she helped draft as both a City Council member and mayor. This is where her experience shines. We need to maintain this continuity for the proper execution of the agreement and for a solid economic future.