Platform / Policies

Responsibility, Vitality, and Sustainability.

1. Responsibility
It is the role of leaders to be of service to all the citizens. Besides service, there are leadership ideas that need to be expressed to our fellow citizens, that they need to hear, 
 we all need to help.   
Ask what you can do for your City.

2.    Economic vitality and sustainability.

We need to make decisions on the City Council that motivates other people and companies to have the maximum success.  That maximum success can only be through self-motivation and wanting to improve your neighborhood, your block, your street, your  community, and your city.  The City needs to enable those successes, but the City does not need to be the sole driver of those ideas. Partnering our limited financial resources will be the economic drivers. A conservative approach to our resources is the perspective that we should look at any infrastructure investment.

Improve today, prepare for tomorrow, and be better than mediocre. Mediocre is not acceptable in the global environment we live in today.

3. Lower business costs.
I want us to lower business costs to attract more companies, not just by a notch, but by a wide margin.

4. Improve infrastructure.
We need to prepare the City with new roads.  We need to plan for more parallel roads to relieve traffic.  These plans will increase sustainability, save energy, and commuting time.  We also need to provide alternative modes of transportation. These alternatives are bikeways, trails, trolley connections, and light rail to Charlotte.   We will plan for the next 50 years and beyond as we grow through the 21st century.

5. New Energy Policy.  We need a new energy policy when we end the PMPA. We don't need to stay in the PMPA agreement. We can promote solar energy, promote ways that citizens can increase their own efficiencies, and sustainable.  We need to be independant and a low cost utility again.

6. Minimize Costs
We need to lower our business license fees to just a small one time registration fee. Let's be number one in business in the state not just in the middle.

We need to minimize City regulations for housing. Review existing ordinances that are increasing housing costs, so we can lower the cost of new housing.  We need policies that lowers costs to make affordable housing for many of our citizens.  I want us to pass City ordinances that will allow low income housing that fit many of the citizens that can not afford the high prices of homes.  We need to allow tiny and small efficient homes as that alternative for low income families and individuals.  These policies will also allow us to increase the density of our center City areas. 

7. Grow inside.
Increasing our density in the interior of our city will help provide the sustainability we need as we grow.  I have the vision for these ideas.

A mayor of the future, a mayor with vision.

This Mayoral election is about the future of this city.  This election is whether we want to rely on past accomplishments or a real future that will lift this city to a better place for the whole population, not a select few. My vision is a City that allows its residents to grow as whole human beings in play, prayer, and work. Many of our citizens want to work here and not drive to Charlotte for every job.  We can accomplish this by making our City more attractive for businesses and people.

The Mayoral race is about whether we are satisfied with mediocre instead of the best.  As a City resident do you like your utility rates 30 to 50% higher than other cities, such as Greenville, SC? Your property tax rates 15% above Greenville and Charleston? Do you like your power bills higher than what York Coop or Duke Energy customers currently pay?  Does saying $20 million in economic impact mean $20 million in City revenue?  No, as a City resident I don’t like any of this. If I am elected Mayor, we will seek ways to lower our Utilities and Electric Bills and add 20 to 50 million dollars in real revenue to our City budget and much more.

My ideas include higher density buildings downtown which will draw more businesses and people.  We don’t need to be a part of PMPA (the Piedmont Municipal Power Authority) because it is costing us more.  We can’t fix our streets because we don’t have the revenue stream to pay for it.  You can’t spend money on public transportation when you don’t have the density or revenues to pay for it. The City needs to be financially responsible and truthful to its citizens.  Transparency is job one. 

There are 3 sides to this financial coin – one: some say we are in good financial condition, but by whose standards?; two: not painting the whole picture, and three: looking at the whole picture and comparing it to what the real truth is. Financial statement information can be interpreted in different ways, but they present the true picture of the financial stability of organizations:1.      The only audited financial statements that are public are the 2016 audited statements. This is the only official document we can review with certainty.
2.      The facts are we have the lowest percent of reserves of seven cities in South Carolina at 0.35%.*  Other cities’ reserves range from Columbia at 11% with 38 days on hand to Greenville at 33% with 119 days on hand.  We shouldn’t have $16 million one week, and $5 million the next. We need a stable flow of income and reserves that do not fluctuate from week to week. The important point is that we don’t have the reserves to handle expansion of any kind.  We cannot afford hiring the people that the city needs for Safety and Fire protection which are core services for our residents.
3.      We receive $26 million in property taxes.  This pays for our essential services of police, fire, and the administration of City functions.
4.      We receive $6 million each year from the Accommodations Tax generated from Sports Tourism and other events the City sponsors. This money must be spent only on tourism related expenses. It doesn’t even cover the cost of our Parks and Recreation budget which is $11 million. We have to subsidize the maintenance of our Parks from our General Revenues, to the tune of $5 million a year. So, when the other two candidates talk about how great Sports Tourism is for the City do they really know that it may actually cost us in the long run because of the continuing maintenance costs associated from building them?

We have policies that are hurting our residents’ abilities to afford housing.  We are squeezing other essential businesses that want to come here but are pushed away by more and more city reviews and controls. Housing is getting more difficult to afford as we push up the requirements.  Tiny and small houses can be part of the solution if we are smart about it. We need to be friendlier in our annexation policies. Property owners need to have incentives rather than be strong-armed into being part of the city.We can be welcoming; our city is friendly, so let’s act like it.

We love our bike trails, ball parks, and we have facilities second to none in the country.  However, we can’t live on sports candy alone.  The monies received from Sports events do not provide direct revenue into the general fund to help pay for core services that are essential to a thriving City.   We need direct revenue. This can only come from property taxes.  And we need not raise them if we have more businesses and people living in our existing downtown.

The truth about our finances is that we don’t have enough revenue, we don’t have enough reserves, and we need to stop transferring funds from one account to another to cover the monthly expenses.

As the Mayor of Rock Hill, I have a vison for the future of our Downtown. Renaissance Rock Hill will give us the opportunity to have diversity in economics and in living environments.  A diverse development of commercial, retail, office, and residential. This potentially billion-dollar development could conservatively bring to the city’s general revenue $50 million a year in property taxes. 

My plan for growth means more jobs, more businesses, more real revenue, and a city that is second to none.  There is no reason we cannot be the best in the state.  That is why I need your vote on Tuesday October

* Based on the most current audited City financial statement ending June 30th, 2016. 
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Paid for by Duane Christopher for Mayor