Paired with background information, Murray answered questions on seven unresolved issues he plans on addressing.
In no particular order:
Issue No. 1: Sandusky faces a $1.1 million deficit in its 2014 everyday operating budget estimated at $16.3 million. The budget covers services such as police and fire operations. By March, city officials are likely to lay off workers to offset a shortfall.
DM: We need to pass a budget that realigns our expenditures with our revenues. Beyond that, we need to be looking at budgets several years out, like schools or businesses do.
Issue No. 2: Sandusky’s bicentennial, or 200th anniversary, occurs in 2018.
DM: I want to get a bicentennial commission formed so members can start planning for it. It’s an opportunity to celebrate the many things we have done and show people that we can do great things again. For many years, we were innovators and leaders in Sandusky, Erie County and the larger region.
Issue No. 3: Examining whether to shrink the number of commission seats, from seven to five or even three.
DM: I want to get something on the table and possibly on the ballot for reducing the size of commission. The voters can then decide if it’s a good idea.
Issue No. 4: The constant mess at Sandusky’s two public recycling drop-off centers, off Cement Avenue and First Street.
DM: In all probability, we are going to get rid of the recycling centers we have. The Ohio EPA has said we need mandatory curbside recycling or the bins. We need to combine (garbage collection and recycling). I want to bid it out and provide a better service. The recycling bins are a mess and are being abused terribly.
Issue No. 5: Attracting people and businesses into the area.
DM: We need to focus some resources on individual neighborhoods and feature our cool assets like the library, parks, the bay front, walkable areas, the restaurant scene and our interesting architecture.
Issue No. 6: Possibly consolidating fire services and creating a joint fire district, consisting of Sandusky, Huron and the townships of Margaretta and Perkins.
DM: We need to get these groups together to see if there is an interest in having that conversation. We send a fire engine and an ambulance every time there is a call. That is a lot of extra equipment. If there is a better way to deploy these assets and equipment, then I want to take a look at it.
Issue No. 7: Resolving an $8.5 million water lawsuit Sandusky filed against Erie County in late 2012.
DM: We have a trial coming up in May. I really want to get this case settled before it goes to trial.