City councilwoman Carrie Tergin told KRCG 13 Sunday she wanted to encourage more citizen participation in the council's actions.
Tergin will face Glen Costales in her effort to retain her Fourth Ward seat. The city's five wards each have two seats on the council, half of which are up for grabs in Tuesday's election. The occupants of all five of those seats are seeking reelection, but Tergin is the only council member facing opposition.
How much priority should the city give to attracting businesses?
It's important to make it easy for businesses who want to locate in Jefferson City, whether it's downtown or anywhere in our community. When it comes to attraction, if there's remodeling of a building that needs to be done, we want to make it easy for the builders, and we want to make it easy for those who want to open a business here, to get started.
How should the city go about attracting businesses?
Well, currently, we have some incentives for those that want to locate in the downtown. If they want to renovate the exterior of their building, if they spend a certain amount of money, you know, $10,000 or more on their facade, they're able to get some tax credits. So we offer some incentives that really make the community as a whole look good because we understand that when you dig into some of these buildings, it's not going to be $10,000. The building owner is going to spend maybe 10 times that to actually fix their facade and their building. So what we try to do is just make it appealing and give them some sort of an incentive to want to do that. So if they spend that minimum amount, they can get some tax credits in return. So then that makes the whole area look good, so then that makes people want to locate their business in that district, in that area.
What issues do you think are not getting enough attention?
You know, currently, we have some big issues on the table that we're trying to address, and those are the more public ones, but what I would like people to know is we are currently working on, our trash and recycling contract is coming up in another year, so we want people to have plenty of time. I know last time when that came up, it was a process that was very new to us because our old contract was 20 years old. So now we had a 5 year contract, so it's going to be time in a year for that to be renewed. So there are things like that out there that the public can start to think about and give us some input at upcoming meetings. So there's a lot of things on the table for future, for progress in our community.
What do you think the city should do about abandoned properties, particularly in the downtown area?
The abandoned properties definitely need to be addressed. There are certain ones that are so far beyond what the code is, and they're a danger, and a hazard, and they also just really look terrible in the neighborhood. So we definitely want to do what we can to get those property owners in touch with some other avenue, a potential buyer or other resources so that they can fix the code violations or dispose of the property to another property owner who would be willing to make the investment. Because there are people out there who are saying, "Hey, we want to renovate. We want to purchase these buildings." But some of the property owners that truly have a bulk of the property aren't really communicating or are not interested. So if they don't get those buildings up to code, we need to take action and get those in the hands of people who are willing to make a difference on those properties.
If you are reelected, what would be your top three priorities?
Currently, conference center is top because we have a vote Monday night to make a decision to hopefully move that forward. One of the proposals hopefully will get moved forward. So that is a top priority of mine because once it's approved Monday night, if that's what the council decides, that's just the next step. There's still a lot of work that would need to be done. So it's definitely a top priority to make sure that we see that through. The voters voted three years ago for a lodging tax specifically for conference center. So that is a priority of mine, to make sure that that comes to completion within this next term of mine. And then I would also like to see the public get more engaged in the process of what's going on in this city. We have lots of ways that people can get involved. I know we hear often that we should be more open. And I would say that we would like the public to be more engaged because we are open, but we need to do a better job of communicating how the public can get involved, come to the meetings, reach out to their councilperson and really get to know what's going on. So I think just getting people in the community involved in their city, how they can make a difference, because there's ten of us on the council, but we do need the guidance and help of everybody in the community to really make a difference and work together as a team to make things happen for our community. And I would like to see, just, progress in general is a goal of mine over the next two years there, and that's countless things that we need to do to make that happen, but I'm really for seeing the community grow. And we're a capital city, and I think that we've made good steps over the years that I've been on council. We had, the trash recycling contract came, so we have single-stream recycling. That's big progress. Things that were put before the voters, such as the ban on smoking in restaurants and indoor areas, that passed by the voters. But that's still some progress that we've seen. So we're getting to see the progress, but there are ways that we need to continue that. So I want to just keep that momentum going and see a positive difference happen in our community.
To sum up, why should the residents of the Fourth Ward vote for you?
I'm a great representative, I've served for six years, and I really make it a priority to act on any concern that comes forward to me. I'm there for the people of the Fourth Ward and the entire community. I have leadership, I have the experience being on the council. As a business owner, I see the value of the customer service that the city should have with everybody that we're serving in the city. And I really want to see that continue. I want to see the service with our city employees. We have a great staff at the city and great services. So we want to make sure to continue that. Our public safety is priority and I want to see that continue because our police and our fire are top-notch, but we take that for granted. So I want to make sure that we maintain the levels of safety and security that we have in our city. And we've done a great job up until now, but I really want to stay on the council. I'm a positive on there. I want to get things done. I have the drive and the motivation to make a difference for the good in our community.