Building a Strong Foundation through Infrastructure

Building a Strong Foundation through Infrastructure



Herb Roach believes that the foundation of a vibrant city life rests on well-maintained capital infrastructure. Quality of life, public safety, commerce, and tourism depend to a great degree on the proper care and quality of our streets, sidewalks, support facilities, police protection, fire suppression capacity, and water, sewer, and storm water systems. Herb says, “These invisible contributors to our daily life are only missed when something goes wrong…a water main breaks, causing a boil order, storm water flows into a basement or a slow response time results in complete destruction of a home by fire.  All of a sudden, the invisible infrastructure becomes a black hole of inconvenience or even tragedy.”
During his 35 years of business experience, Herb has visited over 100 cities and reviewed over 100 economic development plans.  He noted, “Every good economic plan has the maintenance of a solid infrastructure as a key element of its plan. Like anything you build, if you don’t maintain your infrastructure everything around it begins to crumble. I will work with all our homeowners to see that every neighborhood in O’Fallon has the needed infrastructure which will maintain safe and attractive housing.  I do not want to see areas become blighted.  When blight begins, it usually spreads.”
Proposition S, the one-half cent sales tax passed in 2001, was intended to fund O’Fallon’s infrastructure needs. Unfortunately, some of that money went to pay for amenities, and as a result, it took 15 years to begin implementing fixes in the historic part of town identified as the “Presidential Streets.”
“That delay is unacceptable and should never have been allowed to occur.” said Mr. Roach, “As Mayor, I will ensure that every bit of Proposition S tax revenue is spent where it was intended; on infrastructure needs such as storm water drainage, street maintenance and improvements and public safety.”
Good and well maintained infrastructure is the basis for protecting the value of homes and businesses. It is one of the first things that new businesses want to make sure exists in an area they are considering for their business.
“Two years ago, my opponent was in favor of privatizing a major part of our infrastructure, our water and sewer systems.” Roach stated. “In a letter to the editor of the O’Fallon Progress, Mr. Goodwin defended privatization, insisting ‘the city was looking for a creative way to fund O’Fallon’s future.’ ”
Herb said, “You don’t fund the city’s future ‘creatively’ by leasing or selling off major assets to give the city a blank check to spend.”  During the Water/Sewer controversy Mr. Roach visited and talked with over a dozen communities that had privatized their assets.  Some were spending millions to get out of their agreements.  He continued, “As an Alderman, I led the push to allow our citizens the right to vote on this. I took a lot of heat from some of my fellow Council members, but it was the right thing to do.”

“I will see that we always fund and maintain our infrastructure needs and city services before we fund more amenities.  This includes our police, fire, EMS, library, park, street, water and sewer departments.  Without these basic operations nothing else happens; no new businesses, no customers for our businesses, no new home development, and no visitors to community facilities and functions. This solid infrastructure along with good schools, I-64, and Scott Air Force Base are the key elements in the future growth of our city.”
Mr. Goodwin, wants to give away the city reserves.  But we used $10 million of our reserves last year and the FY 2018 budget has use of over $11 million of our reserves.  Many of these dollars are going toward infrastructure needs. We have been told of needs to replace old water mains before we have major problems, from our Public Works Department and of needs for additional staffing by our Police, Fire and EMS from our Public Safety Departments.  Without the use of our reserves on these types of needs we would have to increase taxes or borrow more money and further increase our debt.
As Mayor, Herb Roach will fund the city’s future sensibly, by growing O’Fallon with Smart Growth Planning that preserves and enhances quality of life and economic stability for every citizen in every neighborhood.

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