I am an Ultra-Conservative, Alpha-Male, True Authentic Leader, Type "C" Personality, who is very active in my community; whether it is donating time, clothes or money for Project Concern or going to Common Council meetings and voicing my opinions. As a blogger, I intend to provide a different viewpoint "The way I see it!" on various world, national and local issues with a few helpful tips & tidbits sprinkled in.
Thank you for bring up one of the three most important issues I have heard in this community as I began my campaign for Mayor, and have watched over the past 6 years as a lifetime resident. While taxes (all levels of government) and the dump fee ranked up their just as high, economic development and the business climate in Cudahy were probably the most talked about issue.
Once elected Mayor, I will once again bring a sales focused private sector pro-business attitude to the Office of the Mayor, and the Director of Economic Development. As I did in the past, I will encourage my fellow residents to shop local, whenever possible, and work with local businesses on ways to attract more dollars into their businesses not only from our residents, but others in the area.
Like a laser beam, I will once again focus the city’s efforts on a multiple prong approach. First, I will work with our existing businesses to focus on job growth and any efforts that the city and Office of the Mayor can put forth to increase business. I will make sure that city department’s work cooperatively with business owners yet work firmly and fairly to ensure that all codes are enforced, and when issues arise work with a common sense attitude to resolve them. In talking to many local small business owners, this is something we are lacking herein Cudahy.
Second, I work to attract new business to the community. As someone who worked in business for 23 years and the bulk of it in Sales and Sales Management, I know that during tough economic times you have to prospect even harder (rather than waiting for an economic return) to attract new businesses. If you create a business friendly attitude, and seek out new businesses, over time things will pay off. We will create a “wish list” of businesses to attack, and continue to prospect utilizing all tools available to attract new businesses to the city.
Third, I will work with existing businesses to develop additional leads of businesses to move into Cudahy. During my term, a company approached me about adding a possible facility in Cudahy. While this did not work out, in sales, you use referrals in prospecting to gain new businesses. Government should be no different.
Fourth, I will work with the Common Council, Community Development Authority and Director of Economic Development to send out Requests for Qualification and Requests for Proposal on city owned land, currently not under agreement. Again, the Office of the Mayor will proactively work to identify potential developers sending out these requests which should lead to presentations to the appropriate governmental bodies, leading to economic development. I have done this in the past, and with processes in place, will do it again.
Fifth, I will look at any existing agreements between the City and developers and work proactively to move development forward. The time for sitting on the side lines is over; we need to start getting shovels in the ground.
Sixth, I will look at the position of the Director of Economic Development, the requirements of the position and time being spent between Economic Development and Inspection Management duties. Until I have studied the position and current time allotments for duties, I cannot 100% say if some of the duties will need to be realigned. I look at our community during the last 6 years as we have spent at least $500,000 on salary and benefits of this position. The question becomes, what has come from it? This is one of the most asked questions I have heard during the past two months, as they look for brick and mortar projects that justify this. I will work the Economic Development Director to align development as a number one priority and we will do what it takes to accomplish my administrations goals and objectives. During my term of office, Mr. Vaccaro, who held the position of Economic Development Director had his hours increased from 20 to 30 per work, and truth be told, worked more than that. The Director appeared at almost every council meeting giving the council a report on any governmental development updates, and updates from the business community. Working cooperatively, we worked together to bring many new businesses into the community, met with developers, and other interested in bringing a business into the community. Sometimes it was a simple as trying to find a couple of thousand square feet of space, but it was about the attitude, which my administration projected, we are here to HELP YOU!
The Director of Economic Development will be required to at least once a month provide an update to the Common Council at one of the meetings. As many of the Department Managers report to the Mayor, I will work cooperatively with all Managers, the Council, and citizens to achieve the highest in results when it comes to providing services and economic development in Cudahy.
I apologize for the length of my response however the answer to bringing new business, economic development and holding management accountable is not a simple one. If you look at the many of the new businesses that located here in Cudahy during the last ten years, those were businesses or developments that occurred during my term from 2004 to 2007. If you or residents would like to contact me, I can be reached at 414-614-7169 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
John R. Hohenfeldt