Candidate for UH Council - Steven Sims
2508 Dysart Road 44118 Age: 57
Education: University of Pennsylvania, BBA, Ohio University
Occupation: Director, Office of Business Development, Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Authority
Qualifications: 15 years of public sector experience in Community and Economic Development, and Housing Finance working with the suburban communities of Cuyahoga County. Strong private sector background in Public Finance and Accounting.
Community: Cuyahoga Metropolitan Housing Authority – Chairman, Audit Committee; Ohio Minority Business Advisory Council - Governor Appointee; Greater Cleveland Partnership – Supplier Diversity Committee, University Heights - City Council member/Chairman, Finance Committee; 100 Black Men of Cleveland - Vice Chairman.
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. The most important thing: The City must address its financial condition and avoid deficit spending at time when its general fund balance provides little cushion to fall back on. The City revenue base is not expected to increase measurably anytime soon, and managing growth in expenditures while addressing infrastructure improvement and capital investment needs remain a clear challenge. I will continue my efforts to enhance the attractiveness of the City as a place to live by supporting strategies to increase property values, and managing expenses by controlling personnel costs, identifying savings in contracted services, and achieving a better priority between operating and capital expenditures.
2. Regionalism: Trends toward regionalism and collaboration will determine whether the City prospers or declines. As such, the City must more judiciously consider and pursue opportunities to collaborate with surrounding communities to share services and achieve savings related to delivering city services; with the expressed purpose of ensuring University Heights remains a community of choice because of its reputation for meeting the needs of residents, being safe and friendly, and a place where homes appreciate in value.
3. Housing market: The City must remain diligent in ensuring foreclosed properties are not a blighting influence on our neighborhoods by using its enforcement powers to ensure bank and government owned properties are well maintained, and kept in good repair until resold. The City also should market itself more forcefully as the “City of Beautiful Homes” through local realtors and chambers of commerce to draw the attention of more young working professionals to the City. It also should make sure new homebuyers and existing homeowners alike are aware of the various foreclosure prevention resources available through government, nonprofits, and assorted financial institutions.
4. CH-UH levy: The University Heights-Cleveland Heights School District is on a positive course of accomplishment and trending upward. It has had a number of significant recognitions and achievements in recent years including improved academic outcomes, it has demonstrated an ability to operate efficiently and effectively, i.e., our tax dollars are being put to good use and not wasted, and it has shown the need for a levy is warranted. As such, I believe the School District has earned and deserves our continued support.
5. Development: Any economic development strategy must first recognize the limited space available to locate and grow businesses, and place a focus on highest and best use of the “gateways” areas that includes Cedar Center, Fairmount Circle, Cedar-Taylor, and Cedar Green-Green. It must also incorporate a full-time professional to proactively pursue companies that employ large numbers and have higher payrolls such as back office operations and call centers for which the vacant space at University Square is particularly well-suited, and focus on redeveloping and reviving the other areas as “destination venues,” each with an unique flare that combines services, entertainment, and dining.
6. John Carroll: The City will maintain a positive relationship with JCU by encouraging open communications, and demonstrating a willingness to support the University’s efforts to remain a competitive and thriving institution, as measured against its' duty to remain appropriately attentive and responsive to concerns and quality of life issues that are raised by homeowners and residents in the areas immediately adjacent to the campus.