I would like to thank everyone who supported me in the last election. I was overwhelmed by the support and honored that I will have another four years to serve our community. To those who did not vote for me, I will continue to work at gaining your trust and respect.
While I really enjoy being a councilman, it can be difficult to mesh personal opinion with the “correct” course of action. We must listen to many different viewpoints, look over large amounts of data and weigh all that along with our own feelings on the issues. I work hard at looking at all sides of the issues and researching them in order to find what I feel is the best solution for our community. I know that not everyone will agree with me. While I can’t promise all will be happy with my decisions, I promise to do my homework and look beyond what is handed to me to review.
At Mayor Kauffman’s request, the City Council recently agreed to provide $478,050 to the Goshen Housing Authority, ($571,050 minus donations, currently at $93,000). This will guarantee an annual return $1.5 million to Goshen’s economy, or $3-plus for every $1 invested by the city. If the program still exists in 10 years with the same number of vouchers it will have brought $15 million back or a $300-plus for every $1 invested. This is far better than any of our tax phase-ins provide. This along with the safeguards I proposed and many other reasons explain my vote on this issue.
After talking with the mayor and councilman Everett Thomas, I learned this was probably one of the most contentious topics they have faced. This tells me that many people will have strong feelings about the outcome, good and bad.
Councilman Tom Stump has received much criticism over his vote. The decision wasn’t easy, and I know how hard it is to have an opinion that isn’t on the popular side. While I disagree with councilman Stump’s vote on this issue, I still respect him. I do not believe for a second that Tom’s vote and proposal was meant to dismiss the needs of the people and the families involved. His concern was over the process.
I serve on both City Council and the Redevelopment Commission with Tom and can tell you he has the best intentions for this community. Tom and I don’t always agree (we agree more than most would guess), but his viewpoints are part of my decision-making process. Just as I represent our city’s whole population as an at-large councilman, so does Tom.
If the council always voted unanimously on issues, I can guarantee there would be a good section of our population not represented. I believe everyone who ran for City Council in the last election ran with hopes that they would have a chance to make our city better. So I can say that everyone on the council has the best intentions, but those intentions come with differing opinions on approach.
In the future I will continue to argue what I feel is best for our community and maybe I will win Tom’s vote. It is just as possible that he may sway mine. Either way I look forward to working with Tom and others to make Goshen a place we can all continue to be proud of. Councilman Stump is respected by many people and I am proud to say I am within that group.
Thank you to everyone who is donating to help the cause. Thank you Mayor Kauffman for your excellence in leadership.
Jeremy Stutsman is an at-large Goshen city councilman