Candidate for Cleveland Heights Council - Dennis Wilcox
DENNIS R. WILCOX
2524 Berkshire Rd. Cleveland Heights 44106 Age: 59
Education: Juris Doctor, 1977, Case Western Reserve University. Bachelor of Arts, 1974, Ohio State University
Occupation: Attorney. Climaco, Wilcox, Peca, Tarantino & Garofoli Co., L.P.A.
Qualifications: Current member of City Council and Chair of Planning & Development Committee. Past chair of Finance Committee. Law practice for 34 years in government/public finance.
Community: Member of Heights Arts, Reaching Heights, Family Connections, Heights Community Congress, Future Heights; sponsor of Youth Baseball and Soccer; CH-UH Schools Lay Finance and Facilities Committee.
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
- 1. The most important thing: Many issues are the result of the recession, housing crisis and cutbacks in state funding. While we fight to balance our budget and deliver excellent city services, we must also focus on behavior problems in our neighborhoods and business districts to keep them safe, quiet, and walkable. We are focusing and increasing resources of housing and community relations staff, and police to deal with these problems, sharing information and working with neighborhood groups. We are also communicating better with our citizens and neighborhood groups. We are also communicating better with our citizens and utilizing new tools such as nuisance ordinances and curfew laws to deal with the problems.
- 2. Regionalism: It can be a very positive trend if we are proactive. We are collaborating: with our schools to turn the former Coventry School into an Arts/Innovation Center to create jobs; with University Circle Inc. in housing and business development and to solve transportation issues; by joining Regional Income Tax Agency to save up to $500,000 in income tax collection costs; and with Cleveland State on the new small business development center at City Hall.
- 3. Housing market: We are using these and other resources to renovate or demolish vacant/foreclosed houses: (1) over $2.5 million in Neighborhood Stabilization Program t address over 30 houses; (2) over 20 homes being purchased, renovated, demolished through $1.00 million HUD Program; (3) Block Grant Funds to renovate two-families on East Derbyshire; and (4) working with our County Land Bank to demolish dozens of homes. We continue to assist in below market HELP loans (over $6,000,000), Heritage Home Loans, Block Grant funds and maintain strong inspection programs. These programs leverage and attract private investors as well, include new housing - about 300 new units.
4. CH-UH levy: I support the levy. As a member of the Lay Finance Committee, I understand that the District is operating efficiently, has cut the budget significantly and stretched the Levy for 4 years. This is the smallest millage in decades, but is necessary because we still rely on property taxes to support the schools and State budget cuts. Also, the schools are improving test scores, doing a good job educating our children and stabilizing enrollment.
5. Confidence: Continued delivery of excellent city services and increased communication with our citizens through updated website, street clubs and increasing communication between police and citizens – “meet your police” and bicycle/beat patrols. Also investment in our future including: upgrading parks and recreational facilities including New Dennison Soccer field and Cumberland pool improvements; more street improvement projects than in the past; New Strategic Development Plan and hiring Economic Development Director for new job and business growth in our commercial areas; focusing on sustainability including new “Green Zoning” code and receiving $700,000 in grants to finance City sustainable projects that save money.
6. Increase revenue: We focus on efficiency, collaboration and sustainability to increase revenue through: (1) emphasis on recycling – over $150,000 annually: (2) agreeing to handle waste and provide salt storage for University Heights generating $10,000+ annually: (3) obtaining federal energy grants to upgrade/retrofit lighting at Community Center to save $10,000+ annually in electric bills; (4) working with Israeli company to develope Homeland Security businesses cluster, including at the former Coventry School to make it an Arts/Innovation Center; (5) hiring a lobbyist to seek targeted state/federal resources; and (6) developing new business/housing.