Letter to the Voters: Fred Hoffman, candidate for Middleport Mayor
(EDITOR’S NOTE: The Meigs Independent Press does not participate in advertising for or endorsing candidates. The submissions from candidates are a service to the voters and the people of Meigs County. Candidates were invited to write an open letter to the voters. It is published as submitted, unedited.)
An open letter to the Residents of Middleport,
As your Mayor back in the 80’s, we accomplished many things that were beneficial to Middleport. We obtained over $13 million in grant dollars to do everything from paving streets to attracting business to housing rehab and housing construction. Each project had a story with it on how it happened. These many projects did not just happen but took a lot of effort on everyone’s part. To do this everyone (council and residents) worked together for the betterment of the community.
We CAN bring Middleport back to once again be the best community in Meigs county but it is going to take a concerted effort by the Mayor, village council and residents if we will be able to do this. During the past ten years I have been the Grants Administrator for Syracuse. We have been very successful in obtaining over three million dollars during that time for small projects that required little or no matching funds. I am well aware of agencies that can help us and know most of the Directors well which always helps.
I do have a plan on what I think needs to be done and how to go about doing it. Below is a listing of some (but not all) of the things I would do:
!. Improve our streets through a yearly paving program using the increase in gas tax ($45,000) and the $15 local license plate feewhich we already have ($35,000) as matching funds for a $300,000 yearly grant program for street improvements.
2. In cooperation with local business building owners, retain a structural engineer to inspect the older buildings and determine if there is any way that they could be repaired. Before we demolish any buildings, we need to have a plan in place for use of the property. To attract business, we need to have a place for them in our downtown area. In the old days we did this. We can do it again.
3. Develop a time frame for condemning and demolishinghousing units that are not repairable, which would also mean deciding how the vacant property is to be developed. We always used to do this.
4. Establish programs to encourage building new homes in town, possibly some form of tax break as we used many years ago which resulted in at least 25 new homes which the village is now collecting full taxes on.
5. Obtain funding to improve our water system without huge rate hikes. Small projects with available matching funds are better than large projects with large grants but still leaving residents to pay for the large loans that go with the grant.
6. Middleport has the only established federal Opportunity Zonein Meigs county and, to the best of my knowledge, has never been used by local officials to try to develop a project in our community. I would do this.
7. Other projects would include cleaner streets and neighborhoods, more police patrol on village streets, and listening to residents for their ideas to make the community better and that means Mr. Ashley and all the younger generation as well as the older generation in our community.
THANKS FOR YOUR TIME. VOTE FOR WHOMEVER YOU FEEL WILL DO THE BEST JOB IN REJUVENATING MIDDLEPORT. THAT SHOULD BE OUR PRIME GOAL NO MATTER WHO IS ELECTED. WE NEED EVERYONE WORKING TOGETHER.
FRED L. HOFFMAN, Former Mayor and Candidate for Mayor on Nov. 5.