Editor's Note: As part of North Canton Patch's local election coverage, we will provide profiles of each of the candidates running for office. These profiles will offer biographical and issue-oriented details about each of the candidates to help you, the voters, make more-informed decisions at the ballot box. We also will have a short video of each candidate that will help you learn more about them. Stay tuned for more coverage of the election.
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Name: Jeff Davies
Occupation: Retired – Having owned two successful businesses over the last 27 years.
Education: Bachelor of Science in Communication from Southern Illinois University
Political Affiliation: Republican
Office Sought: Ward 3 Councilman
Previous Political Office Sought or Held: I have held the third Ward Council seat for the last two terms Dec. 1, 2007, to present
Candidate Statement: My wife Marilyn and I have been married 35 years and have one child. We have been residents of North Canton for 34 years. Our daughter Mary graduated from in 2005 and is now a news producer for an NBC affiliate in Illinois. I believe that Mary’s success in finding employment, in her chosen field, is due in large part to the educational opportunities provided by North Canton’s great school system. Both Marilyn and I feel North Canton is a wonderful, safe community in which to live and raise children. And this is why I have chosen to serve on Council — to give back to the community that has given so much to my family.
Perhaps the biggest challenge to the city at this time is budgetary concerns — being able to maintain our infrastructure and pay for the services the city provides. We have great , services; however, expenses keep raising. It is time to explore the idea of sharing costs with surrounding communities. Combining police, fire and EMS with other communities may be a way of containing costs and the idea should be explored.
We also need to look at outsourcing some city departments. One of the recommendations of the State Auditors council hired to look at the city and how it is run was to outsource when possible. We need to look at city departments to determine if outsourcing would save the city money without loss of service. As an example, many of the surrounding communities outsource the engineering of their roads and sewer systems. I believe by regionalizing police, fire and EMS and outsourcing some departments the city can save over a half million dollars a year. This savings will go a long way for badly needed road repair without the need for increases in income or property taxes.
With the constant changes in world economics North Canton faces immense challenges. As a member of our city government I want to be proactive rather than reactive in facing these challenges. One challenge facing the city is housing. In the 2010 census it was pointed out that North Canton has over 500 vacant housing units. It was also pointed out that 40 percent of the population of North Canton is over 60. Further, in talking to the head of our permits department it was brought to my attention that over 400 single family homes are now rental units. With an aging population it stands to reason that in the coming years more and more homes will come on the market for sale. A percentage of those homes will become rental units. I believe that rental units tend to destabilize neighborhoods. I am working with a group of citizens to find ways to educate young families in surrounding communities about the advantages of living and raising children in North Canton. The committee hopes to set up a program to link families wishing to sell their home with families looking to buy a home, thereby assuring stable neighborhoods.
Finally, we need to redouble our efforts in economic development. I believe North Canton can save money while at the same time strengthen our economic development efforts by combining forces with the . In one model the chamber would employ an economic development professional having the city pay a percentage of that person's wages. The city would save the part of the employee’s wages, the cost of health care and the contribution into PERS (Public Employees Retirement System). North Canton has limited space for new businesses to occupy. Therefor we must strive to bring to the city jobs that pay living wages. We need professional jobs, not minimum-wage jobs. To do this our economic development staff must identify which business in the future will be profitable and pay high wages. After identifying those businesses North Canton must make every effort to attract them. We must become business friendly.
In the almost four years I have been on council I have worked, in Ward 3, to see that neighborhood roads and water lines are repaired while at the same time being cautious with the spending of taxpayer’s money. Therefore, I ask for your vote this November. Thank you.