The Roundup sent questionnaires to every candidate for this year’s municipal election. In an effort to properly inform voters, their answers are unedited. The goal is to give the candidates the opportunity to offer their thoughts on issues directly to their constitutes. In return, it gives voters the opportunity to formulate their own decisions on what they have to say.
Next up is Greg Hahn candidate for City Councilor in the First District (D).
What are your most pressing issues?
There are many important issues that must be addressed for the city. Many discussions revolve around the depression in value of our homes due to lack of progress in our highly visible projects. I feel that in terms of the development of downtown, we are not where we should be. After about thirteen years with four years under the existing leadership, there is still only a patch of grass to show for progress. The promises and decisions made in the last four months are political maneuverings. We need leadership that will move Bristol forward during the first 20 months of the mayoral term, not the last 4 months as part of his campaign. Only then will we the progress that should be made.
How do you feel about Bristol’s marketing efforts, what would you suggest?
There are many great things that are happening in Bristol including the wonderful Mum Festival we had this year, organizations like For Goodness Sake helping families in need and Brian’s Angel’s assisting our homeless community. Marketing efforts should help get the word out about these and other organizations doing great work in Bristol. We also need some “wins” in the areas of business and downtown development to raise the awareness of what Bristol has to offer. Constantly, saying that the theater or downtown is coming and not delivering hurts Bristol’s image.
How do your thoughts and ideas differ from your opponent(s)?
I will speak to my beliefs and you can watch Tony and I on “The Beat” this Sunday at 11:00 AM where our differences will be apparent. Here are a few thoughts that I will insist on. • Decisions that are made for Bristol need to be made under full view of our community. • The City Hall should be a professional and safe workplace. There is no room for the unacceptable behavior that has been going on. • Progress on key initiatives important to Bristol needs to progress from day one of our term and not in just the final 4 months before an election. • Once elected to office, there is no room for partisan politics and no Council members should be shut out of key discussions and meetings. • I will show up and be available to fulfill the obligation of the office. • Communication with people in the 1st District will help to dictate the direction I take on City Council.
What are your thoughts on Bristol Hospital purchasing a portion of the former mall site? Will it help revitalize downtown?
I think that the purchase of a portion of Centre Square is a great move for Bristol Hospital. The new 60,000 sq. ft. Ambulatory Care Center will improve access to services. This is good for Bristol, but it will not revitalize downtown on its’ own. The revitalization of downtown will require a diverse and well-planned mix of businesses. Based on my business background I want a seat at the table to help plan and build a thriving downtown and to attract and support new and existing businesses.
What is your position on moving City Hall?
The current City Hall building is in need of a lot of working including the replacement of heating and cooling systems. It has been estimated that to maintain the current location, over time upwards of $25M would be needed just to stay in the building. For this reason, this city needs to look at better locations for a better and safer environment. I have heard discussions about 10 Main Street, Memorial Boulevard School and even spending the $25M to stay in the current location. I want to entertain these and any other options and see the numbers before we decide on a direction.
Will you support a tax increase if it’s the last resort?
Efforts should be made to reduce costs well before it gets to the point of discussing any increase in taxes. Regionalization of services would be a great place to start. Mutual Aid Agreements, Share Service agreements and Regional Districting should be considered in reducing our budget. With all of the other options in reducing overhead, tax increases should not even be discussed before waste, service overlap and regionalization are addressed.
What is your stance on crime in Bristol?
I know that the overall crime rate in the City of Bristol is down. However, looking beneath the covers a bit, we see that home invasion is up and this is unacceptable. “Crash and grab” crime is on the increase partially due to the related opioid and other drug addiction issues in our city. This is not the time to be complacent. We need to attack the issue of crime from all directions including addressing our opioid issue. Conversations, education and support need to be provided to our families in order to start combating the related crimes.
Is social media helping or hurting Bristol at the moment?
Social media has its’ benefits and challenges. All too often there seems to be an inability to discern between facts, opinion or propaganda. When opinion and conjecture is presented as fact on social media, it has a life of it’s own. Unfortunately, this has been used in political campaigns on the national and local levels in order to garner support. In order to get a true understanding of your local candidates, there is no substitute for direct communication. Go to a “Meet and Greet” event, attend a debate or simply reach out to a candidate for a one-on-one conversation. I always welcome those discussions.
I will bring the needed voice of the Arts to City Council. In Bristol, we are blessed with many talented voices in the Arts community. Because a thriving downtown will benefit and rely on Bristol’s active Music an Arts community, I will advocate for the creation of The Bristol Arts Council. This would leverage and unite the unique resources of the business and arts communities to create a thriving, sustainable culture for the creative, performing and visual arts and promote business in Bristol.