Letter to the Voters in Put-in-Bay Village, by Mayor Jessica Cuffman
I’m so very fortunate to find myself with another opportunity to reach out to the public and say why I think I should be elected as the Mayor of the Village of Put-in-Bay. I’m so very grateful.
What I campaign for is the future of the children that my husband, Donnie Dress, and I will be lucky enough to raise here in this quiet, safe place. That is my campaign — to make sure Put-in-Bay is a place where we will want our children to grow, and for it to be a place our children will want to inherit, live in, and to become sixth-generation islanders. And Seventh. And Eighth.
In other campaign articles I’ve talked about what I’ve done in my four years on council and in my six years living on South Bass Island. Now, I take this opportunity to share what I would like to accomplish as mayor for a four-year term.
I see a community that is progressive, forward thinking, and proactive in our plans for “one island” or “Bass Island Government,” rather than reactive. Seeing what’s best for all who live here. The unfortunate circumstance of village government is that a small pool of voters is able to vote for the council and the mayor. From that small pool, what happens downtown affects us all, with regard to revenue, our enjoyment of the island, our joy of the good, and endurance of bad publicity. There’s a disproportion between the number of people those factors affect, and those who can actually run for office and choose who our elected officials are.
For that reason, I will continue to encourage voluntary annexation into the village limits, while also researching the pros and cons of any sort of government restructuring so options can be placed before the community prior to any changes.
The discussion about whether a waterline to the mainland could be more effective is in a decades-long cycle. The most current consensus is that anything imminent, meaning in the next 10 years, is not currently feasible or reasonable with village budget constraints. But the current government should not dismiss or disregard the discussion. Until funds are available to be fully invested to explore outstanding questions, we won’t know for sure. In the meantime, with an amazing current staff and contractors, we’ve invested in a $2-million project to ensure that our island water supply is one of the best in the State of Ohio for the coming years.
Most important is the stabilization of the police department by investing in long-term housing for officers. While we’ve taken steps in the past two years to invest in additional property downtown to provide long-term housing in the form of small apartments for year-round officers, it’s a start, but it’s not enough. If we want consistency in policing — in investment by officers into the well-being of the community, and in any kind of longevity of officers beyond their initial years in gaining police experience in Put-in-Bay — we have to do better. Budgeting for further investment, by moving all police housing to the Erie Street property and building larger housing units for officers to have families, is essential to our future.
As a volunteer EMT for the township, I’ve seen firsthand the comfort that comes at an emergency scene when residents are familiar with the first-responders who come into their homes or into their lives at some of the most traumatic moments possible. Retaining officers year-to-year is so important to developing trust between our residents and the police department.
Finally, I will continue building accountability and transparency in all our village workings and departments. Government, at all levels, works for the people – for the taxpayer. All records are theirs. Each decision is made on behalf of what the people say. As mayor, I will continue to pass on that attitude to village employees and ask officials to follow my lead to work together. Differences in opinion will always be welcome and expected. Being able to work through them to deliver what’s best for the community is where our strengths lie.
I ask for your vote, for support from the whole community, to take a few more steps toward organizing our government to be what we need, hope it can be, expect it to be. I’ve come as far as I have by working with members of council and by working with members of our administration. Setting employees up for success with a reliable support system and doing it all with fiscal responsibility and transparency is fundamental.
I ask for continued support to see this mission through for at least one full term as mayor.
I have, and will do everything I can to make sure this is the best place possible I can live, and you can choose to live.
I want to do well, to be kind, and to serve the best interests of the people I represent. With your support, I will do nothing less.
I ask for your vote on November 5th to continue serving as Mayor of the Village of Put-in-Bay. It’s your island. It’s your future.
Letter to the Voters in Put-in-Bay Village, by Judy Berry
To Our Wonderful Put-in-Bay Community,
As seasons change so does our island politics and the issues that are important to the future of our island. Some of you may know me and some may not. I will be running for the office of mayor in the upcoming election.
I came to the island in 1985, embarking on a venture in the lodging business and have been a fulltime resident for 24 years. During this time, I have managed my own successful business for 20 years. I know what it means to create and adhere to a budget, be fiscally responsible, manage multiple employees, and be a prospering enterprise while respecting the concerns of our residential neighbors. I am committed to keeping this a wonderful place to reside while working with the thriving business community.
As a former mayor of the village of Put-in-Bay, I know what it takes to achieve success in the challenges we face. We have an amazing community. The inner workings of the island may seem distant to some, but they are at the heart and soul of what makes this island great. During my time in village government I worked diligently to secure grants, improve infrastructure, and find ways to cut spending while still being productive in our village goals.
Some of the projects I worked on while on council and as mayor are:
-upgrades and expansions of the sewer and water treatment facilities
-building of additional water holding tank
-acquiring housing for the utilities department
-securing grants for the dock project
-upgrading the heating system in the bathhouse for substantial cost savings
-developed a Safety Program with the Ohio Department of Workers Compensation which helped to lower premiums
-worked with State of Ohio to help facilitate the collection of the gross receipts tax
But anyone who has been in the political arena has accomplishments that they have achieved while in office. I think the real test is engaging with and listening to the concerns of the community. I promise to do that. And I will act on those issues that matter most to you with urgency, accountability, and transparency. I will bring a common sense, creative approach to the office of mayor. I will be open-minded when exploring options and finding solutions to village problems.
My campaign platform based on the greatest concerns we face are:
- Water. Providing safe drinking water has and will continue to be a top priority. While the algae persists to plague Lake Erie, we must be vigilant in the struggle to stay one step ahead. We must explore all options to keep our water treatment facility relevant for our needs.
- Safety. Keeping this island safe continues to be a challenge. Creative hiring, constant training, and proper funding of the police department remain at the top of the agenda.
In addition to these priorities, I promise to foster open communication and work together with the other island governments and our business community to achieve goals and solve problems. Nowhere else does your vote count as much as it does on our small island. I humbly ask you to please join my vision and vote Judith Berry for Mayor on November 5.