CH City Council Candidate: Keba Sylla
3262 E. Overlook Road 44118 Age: 52
Education: Ph.D. in Public Administration/Urban AFFAIRS, MA in Criminal Justice Studies
Occupation: UNIVERSITY PROFESSOR, Baldwin Wallace University, Berea, Ohio.
Qualifications: Member of CAC (Citizens advisory Committee (2006 to Present). Chair of CAC from 2013 to 2015
Community: Teacher at Upward bound program (11 Years), Board member of Reaching Heights, Cleveland Heights, Ohio
QUESTIONS and RESPONSES:
1. Most important : We must put together a plan that for Economic Development to foster job creation across all neighborhoods, create an incentive for new technology companies that can bring new jobs, foster training and broaden our revenues through business taxes. This can alleviate the burden of taxes from our citizens. In addition, this economic growth must come from a reform of our zoning code. This city must understand that the mindset of 19th century economic development cannot be used today. We must encourage big business and companies to come here to invest.
2. Privatizing: I am not in favor of privatizing any city service. City services are a part of Public services, as such; these services cannot be privatized without exploring all alternatives available to the city. Above all, the Water Department is vital to the life of businesses and citizens across this city. I will work tirelessly with the other council members to keep our department in Public service and under the control of Cleveland Heights for the benefit of the residents of this city. However, we need to invest in our infrastructures including the Water Department, road, parks, housing etc in order to maintain our quality off life.
3. Funding: If I am elected to the Council seat, I will focus on filing the position of the Economic Development director, which has been vacant for almost a year now. Then I will focus on the Economic development issues in this city. The Economic Development director will be given all the tools to attract big and small companies to come in our city. In this way, we will ensure a flow of revenues that will alleviate the burden of tax on residents. We must maintain a balanced budget to foster the economic and financial health of the city. I acknowledge that increasing tax on resident is not popular thing to do. However, the city finance and its economic health are not good. As a candidate, I have two choices: to cut critical city services such as garbage collection, Police, EMS and the Fire Department personnel, or to increase 0.25%. I support this small increase on tax , but we must focus on the economic development in this city
4. Development: The city must always welcome any new residential and commercial developments. However, Cleveland Heights is primarily a residential city, but we can always change the zoning code to attract commercial development due to the need of revenues in this city. We need to becreative and proactive in these economic hard times, by creating incentives through tax abatements. However, we must be careful about giving tax abatement to any companies. I will make sure we do our research about companies or businesses that are interested in coming to the city. In addition, I do not believe that the city should too often give away tax abatement for the use of city -owned land, because we want to attract businesses. Some businesses can come without tax abatement.
5. Why you?: I have been a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee (CAC) for almost 10 years, andI served as its chair for two years (2013-2015). During my tenure as chair, I gave the final report detailing the Applicant's requests to the Council and responding to their questions. I am well qualified to provide the strong leadership and reform the Council needs to improve the economic development and the quality of life in Cleveland Heights. Finally, I like to serve people.
The material contained in this publication was assembled in the following manner: Questions were selected by members of the League of Women Voters Cuyahoga County - CH-UH Chapter and addressed to the candidates. Word limits were placed on candidates responses. Candidates were informed that their responses would be printed in their own words, which has in fact been done, and that each would be solely responsible for the contents of the replies. For publication, the order of presentation of the candidates is alphabetical with the first candidate chosen by lot and succeeding candidates in continuing alphabetical order.