I think that most of you that have followed my social media posts throughout my campaign are very aware that you didn't vote in an Ernest Hemingway as your Mayor; my literary skills are definitely lacking. I do however want to give you an idea of my plans and goals, so I have to take a shot at writing. You did however elect someone that has always held steadfast to my lifelong mantra of being true to my word. I did not just say things during my campaign to try to win over votes. The things I did say, I strongly believe the majority of citizens of Grain Valley really want, truly need, definitely deserve for the tax dollars they are paying, and I intend on doing my best to see they get them.
Every study I've seen from the City over the past twenty years has come up with roads and infrastructure as being the number one concern of the citizens. I have already made it known to the Board of Aldermen and City staff I want to put more focus on roads and infrastructure. Unfortunately, this job didn't come with a magic wand that I can just wave to correct all of the years of neglect of the seriousness of this problem. I am not faulting anyone for what has or hasn't occurred in the past. That won't fix our problems and serves no purpose. You need to understand I can't fix our roads by myself, it will take a cooperative effort of the Board of Aldermen, City staff, those we need to hire for the projects, and myself to make this a reality.
You also need to understand this isn't something that can be corrected in a day or even a short period of time. If it's going to happen it will be over an extended period. We have a lot of dedicated people that truly have the best interests of Grain Valley at heart and will work very hard at making the necessary improvements. Because of that, this is something we can and will resolve. Working together we can make good things happen.
This September we make our last payment of $451,500. That will pay off the remainder of the original debt levy against our current City Hall/Police Station and Community Center. We have also recently had a very favorable financial statement from the City's accounting firm. These two things should free up some funds that can be allocated to necessary projects. The City has outgrown our current City Hall/Police Department combination building. We are going to have to develop a plan the alleviate our overcrowding and address some minor maintenance issues.
I am confident we can do that at a much more reasonable cost than what was projected in the recently proposed relocation. There is a need for some expansion to the current Community Center and swimming pool. Again, this all can be accomplished at our current facility. These will also require the working together of all parties involved both in reviewing the issues and developing reasonable plans to correct the problems at hand.
I do follow the posts on our local social media groups and speak with residents about their concerns and desires. I see some of the amenities the people want and see the criticisms about the businesses that do choose to come to Grain Valley. Unfortunately, most don't fully understand how much involvement the City actually does or doesn't have in determining what types of businesses move to our town.
Prospective businesses are not out just to meet the needs of a city where they decide to build. They are in business to ultimately make money and that is their driving force. They all have their own criteria as to the requirements of the places they choose to locate. The city can focus on businesses that they feel the residents want by sending out feelers and demographics to those prospects. But the city cannot just pick and choose who they want to locate in the city. At the end of the day it is the decision of those prospects where they decide to make their investment.
We can and are going to look at tearing down roadblocks that hinder new and existing businesses. It is just as important if not more so and probably easier to keep those businesses already here than it is to attract new businesses.
Right now, most residents seem to want a better variety of sit down restaurants. Because of the current COVID-19 situation along with the uncertainty of the future, restaurants that have already taken large financial losses are very hesitant to make any further investments at this time. So, I believe until this COVID-19 issue becomes clearer, that is something that will be on the back burner.
Another issue I believe needs to be improved on is the lines of communication between the City and the residents. This certainly isn't as critical as the other issues that I've given you a brief run down on, but it can put a lot of people more at ease when they are kept informed. We will be looking for ways to improve our transparency, lines of communication, and try to give you some answers before you have to ask the questions. Again, I want to thank those that supported me and I hope I can live up your expectations.
I have revised the name of my Facebook page to "Mayor Chuck Johnston Grain Valley". If you choose to Like or Follow, it will be another source to help keep you up on City related issues and submit questions.