By Doug Kinson
Perspectives on a new council
This spring will bring new beginnings to the city of Maitland. Along with the challenges of balancing our upcoming budget, of appropriately planning for our downtown and west side, of expanding our parks system and of connecting our pathways, comes a new Maitland City Council, readied to move Maitland forward to the next level.
With the challenges that Maitland faces this year, it is critical that we have city representatives who are knowledgeable and experienced to be able to address the challenges we face. I thank Councilwoman Reponen for her past commitment to our city, but even more so, in her decision to run for and succeed in securing a second term.
Besides her three years in dealing with complicated budgets, Bev brings with her a dedication and passion unmatched by most who represent a community. Her diligence by which she prepares for any matter before our Council is impressive and results in a better decision, whether I agree with her or not.
Bev's commitment to our community is evidenced through her leadership with the Interim Improvement Committee, whose purpose is to beautify our city in light of vacant and neglected properties scattered throughout. I recently attended one of her meetings and was impressed by the degree to which the group is committed to making Maitland a better place for our families.
In the end, Maitland has benefitted in many ways from Councilwoman Reponen's background and experience. Our city will be more presentable, our lakes will be cleaner, our environment more protected, but most importantly, I believe our residents feel like they have more of a voice in government as a direct result of her efforts.
Howard Schieferdecker represents the type of dedicated residents our city needs. His willingness to serve his community is evidenced in his commitment to being involved through Planning and Zoning. His background in all aspects of real estate uniquely qualifies him to tackle the tough and pressing matters of planning and redevelopment that Maitland faces today.
I was fortunate to have met with Howard prior to his making the decision to run for Council. I was impressed to find that his primary priority, like mine, was to his family. Second, I could tell he was the type of person who could look at complicated matters — budget, planning, development or otherwise — in an objective manner that would lead our city in the right direction.
And finally and most importantly, even though Howard had not served one meeting on Council, his words in our recent strategic planning session could not have been more on the mark: "A representative of a community is nothing if he cannot respect residents of our community, managers and staff within the city, and just as importantly, other members of the board on which he sits."
Respect for all involved will lead us to the right and proper decisions, as it will create an environment where everybody feels comfortable to voice their opinions. Without the input of our residents, and respectful dialogue between staff and Council, effective decisions are impossible.
Many thanks to both Bev and Howard for your commitment to our city.
Get involved — run for Maitland's City Council!
Within the next year, there will be many opportunities to serve on Maitland's City Council. My hope is that dedicated, passionate residents who long to make a difference in their community will decide to serve at another level, and run for office in the city of Maitland.
Should you feel this might be something you are interested in, please do not hesitate to contact me at any time. Should you wish to meet to discuss your future serving Maitland, please contact Maria Waldrop, City Clerk, to schedule an appointment. She can be reached at 407-539-6219. I look forward to our future discussions.