My name is Edwin Vargas and I am running for Mayor of the City of New Bern, NC. For the past 4 years I have witnessed the current board and Mayor not keeping more of our tax money possibly reduce tax rates and have priority list of items the City can pay for in cash vice municipal bonds or borrowing. I have looked at expenditures being used for Duke-Progress intervention $343K, Special Appropriations, $466K, Emergency Operations Center $255K, Swiss Bear $45K and Duffest Residence Council $10K.
Those areas should have been reviewed more closely for reduction and possibly establishing a 10 item priority list for items the City can pay for in cash. I have lived in North Carolina since 1989 after being honorably discharged from active duty in Bethesda Maryland. I have twenty four years of military service and have spent over two decades as a civil service employee. My background is finance/accounting and plant property management. Those experiences can be used in local government by stressing savings from each department so that we can maintain city services, reward city employees with a bonus unannounced and pay down the Electricities debt of $143 million. I was involved with the local New Bern Housing Authority information on the former executive director's salary and the daily functions to improve conditions in public housing.
Since Hurricaine Irene I have pushed the Storm Water Management Plan which is now a reality for the citizens of New Bern on ditches, drains in four zone approach to improve infrastructure flodding in areas that have not been touched in decades. Now that this is in place we need to save money as best we can for re-surfacing roads not DOT maintained and be more aggressive to address abandoned housing in areas that need assistance. My focus is bringing a more calm approach to city government than reacting to damage control on topics of electric rates, funds transfer from the electric department to the general fund which is still at a rate too high and needs to be reduced. The current board, Mayor has been sucessful in some areas and has played damage control in others. Items addressed in closed session that can be released to the general public need to be done in a more speedy fashion than waiting months for release.
We also need to get back to allowing petitions of the citizens for 5 minutes long, 10 minutes for presentations. And yes allow alderman and the Mayor to respond during the petitions of the citizens. If they do not have an answer-contact the individual within 5 calandar days and post those results on the City of New Bern web site.
I am a republican and believe in strong fiscal responsibility. We must focus on using the residence of New Bern's tax money more wisely in every aspect of the city. We cannot fund each and every program when you have a reduction of city employees and have not given them a bonus or raise in three years. Oh Yes their positions have been re-evaluated for higher pay but you could of given city employees a great bonus from Duke-Progress intervention of $343K.
I am married and have two wonderful children, boy and girl. I was born and raised in New York City and left the South Bronx in 1977 to join the Navy. I am a veteran and was recalled to active duty during the first Gulf War to Naval Hospital, Cherry Point, NC. I was the first person in my family to graduate from College in 1989 from Southern Illinois University, B.S. Health Care Administration, National Naval Medical Center, Bethesda, MD, School of Technical Careers.