Council candidates name priorities
Three city council candidates pitched their ideas for improving Fairfield at a forum Tuesday.
The forum was at the Fairfield Public Library and hosted by the Fairfield Area Chamber of Commerce. The three candidates present were Doug Flournoy, Patrick Bosold and Richard Walbaum. Andrew Perry is also on the ballot, although he was absent from the forum. Will Richards was a candidate but withdrew from the race earlier this month.
The four candidates are vying for the at-large city council seat currently held by Connie Boyer, who is not seeking re-election. The winner will serve a four-year term.
Jessica Ledger-Kalen is running unopposed for the other at-large seat, although the winner of that race will serve a two-year term.
Chamber of commerce executive director and forum moderator Nancy Morrissey asked the candidates what they believed were the main issues facing Fairfield.
Flournoy said infrastructure is one of his top priorities, and that includes maintaining streets, sidewalks and sewer lines. He said another important issue is economic development.
“We have had a changing demographic in Jefferson County for a number of years, and it’s not going in our favor in some respects,” he said. “We’re going to be faced with an aging population, which is why we need to encourage young people to move here. Bringing in people from the outside is always energizing to a community, who bring in fresh ideas.”
Flournoy said the council needed to do all it could to make the town look attractive to newcomers. He said maintaining high quality infrastructure would go a long way toward meeting that goal.
Bosold echoed Flournoy’s call for a greater role for youth in the town’s development. He said plenty of young people come here to attend Maharishi University of Management, but there aren’t enough jobs for them once they graduate.
“The sustainable living program at the university turns out top-notch young people who want to stay here, but they can’t do it because there are not economic opportunities in the areas in which they’ve been trained,” he said. “This is where Hometown Harvest and ‘buy fresh, buy local’ come into the picture. I would like to see a lot more attention put on that kind of economic development, on jobs that are green and that will last.”
Bosold said he wants city buildings to not only be energy efficient but “energy self-sufficient.”
“Let’s put renewable systems on all public buildings,” he said. “Let’s do everything we can to make the city of Fairfield as energy self-sufficient as possible.”
Walbaum said he agreed with Bosold in prioritizing self-sufficiency. He said this self-sufficiency should extend beyond energy use to currency. Walbaum proposed creating a community currency called the “FairNote,” which he said would help local small businesses and end unemployment.
“People are struggling financially, and the reason is that there is not enough money in circulation,” he said. “The issue our community is going to face is that if the dollar has a problem, then we’re going to have a problem surviving. I would like to become as self-sufficient from the dollar as we can. We should promote local farms, greenhouses, and ‘buy fresh, buy local.’”