Susan D. Pardee - UH City Council candidate
SUSAN D. PARDEE
2343 Charney Rd. University Hts., OH 44118 Age: 56
Education: Weatherhead School of Management, CWRU; School Treasurer’s License, Ashland University
Occupation: Coordinator of School Improvement/Federal Programs, CH-UH Schools
Qualifications: Four years on UH Council. Experience in planning and project development; finding funding; managing and reporting on grants, monitoring for compliance; leading groups in successful community-building projects.
Community: President, Fund for the Future of Heights Libraries foundation; University Heights Charter Review Commission; League of Women Voters (3 years as UH City Council Observer, Chapter Chair, Treasurer, Layout Editor)
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. Issues/opportunities: #1. Aging infrastructure: UH is able to repave less than a dozen of the worst streets each summer and there is never enough for all the streets ranked as most in need. City equipment (cars, trucks, rubbish scooters) is often purchased used. We must continue to explore service delivery through the County, grant funding, and cooperative/shared service agreements wherever feasible. #2. Revenue: to increase revenue, vitality and the desirability of the City, we must improve lagging business development, especially at University Square. Our City should support local retailers in creating associations such as the Cedar Lee and Coventry Merchants.
2. Revenue: The state has balanced its budget on the backs of cities and school districts, eliminating the estate tax and cutting funding to cities. The legislature continues to try to erode the funds municipalities rely on, such as the proposed centralization of regional tax receipts that will cost RITA-served cities an estimated $8.6 million. It is imperative that we, as leaders, work together to thwart these reductions. We must remain vigilant in cutting costs, maintaining efficiencies, seeking ways to collaborate with other cities and agencies and working to increase revenue at all times.
3. Mergers: Sharing services is an efficient way to free funding for other needs. However, it must be done in a way that improves service or maintains current service while lowering costs. I support reviewing any good opportunities for cooperation. University Heights already works with neighbors for joint fire dispatch, police collaboration, JCU’s Campus Security, and the Cleveland Water Department. I support continued review of potential shared fire service, but all cooperative ventures require meticulous research, analysis and planning. Shared services must deliver the level and quality of service we expect for our residents, and continuous oversight is imperative.
4. Plan for future: We need to market the City effectively – both to businesses and potential new residents. Forming a committee to do this is a first step, starting with promoting our housing to prospective residents through realtors by hosting an annual Realtors’ meeting to update local realtors about the City’s key advantages. UH is already taking steps to improve the climate to attract new businesses by updating our zoning code - the first comprehensive update since 1953. Rather than forcing interested businesses to maneuver through countless meetings of the architectural and zoning boards and planning commission, the intent is to streamline the process.
5. School bond issue: I support the proposed bond issue. Adding another tax to an already heavily taxed and financially stressed community is extremely challenging. However, allowing our school buildings to decline further does our students and community a disservice, will lead to higher costs in the long run, and does not maintain these public assets. After years of research and public discussion, the original facts remain clear: the student population is shrinking, the district is maintaining more buildings than necessary, and the sheer physical need for building improvements is urgent, given the schools’ age and status. Our students deserve up-to-date quality learning environments.
6. Why run?: I have the skills and experience to continue to be an asset to our community. I know how to work effectively as part of a team, yet I am unafraid to represent, advocate for, and support a position that may not initially be in the majority. I am proud of the state of our city. But, there is more to be done. My vision is of a vital and vibrant city with an updated infrastructure, well-kept housing, active and full retail centers, and strong relationships among key stakeholders: our residents, John Carroll, the school community, and commercial interests.