Wikimedia Commons Five Questions for the Council: Kyle McAvoy, Ward 5 Kyle McAvoy April 11, 2017 With Morgantown’s City Council Elections approaching on Tuesday April 25, the staff at Zackquill contacted all 14 City Council Candidates and offered them each the opportunity to introduce themselves to our readers. All candidates were asked the same set of questions, and each response will be posted in the order that Zackquill receives them. Today’s response comes from Kyle McAvoy, Candidate in Ward 5. 1. Why are you running for Morgantown City Council? Why should our readers vote for you in the upcoming election? I am Kyle McAvoy and I decided to run for Morgantown City Council because I believe our City Council desperately needs a common sense approach that I could bring. The City Council has been involved in a multitude of lawsuits in recent years, and engaged in bickering amongst themselves. Additionally the Council frequently engages in ordinances and resolutions that are either outside the authority of a municipal government, or are unnecessary platitudes. As a fresh face to the City Council I will be able to start with a clean slate with all members of the City Council. I will be a candidate who is open minded, respectful, and willing to compromise when necessary to ensure productive measures for improving Morgantown are passed. I will stay focused on ensuring that our infrastructure grows to keep pace alongside our continued population growth, as well as taking steps to encourage economic development. 2. Improving Morgantown’s transportation infrastructure is a complicated issue, involving partnerships with many state, county, and local entities. What role do you see Morgantown’s City Council taking to address these city-wide, and region-wide, frustrations? The Mountain Line Transit funding was approved during the 2016 election as a Levy issue. This supplies funding for the next four years. In the mean time I believe it is the responsibility of the Morgantown City Council and others to determine funding sources for public transit so that four years from now we will not need a levy to keep public transportation going. One of the biggest deficits of our current City Council is the lack of working relationships with other entities such as the DOH, the Monongalia County Commission, and other neighboring City Councils such as Granville and Westover. I believe that as Morgantown continues to sprawl outside of the city limits, the importance of growing working relationships with outside entities will become more and more important. The Mountain Line Transit is a prime example. The bus service encompasses not just Morgantown but all the surrounding areas. If elected I will work to reach out to the Mountain Line Transit, Monongalia County Commission, and the cities of Westover, Granville and Star City to address how to optimizing routes and develop funding sources. 3. In our interview with City Manager Paul Brake, we discussed the growth of the downtown and wharf districts to be family friendly and work-live communities. One challenge to that project is our local homeless population. How do you envision the city growing these communities while honoring the dignity of this vulnerable population? Without question dealing with our homeless population is a very difficult and sensitive matter. I have talked to many downtown business owners and all have communicated that panhandling has had a negative impact on business. It undeniably drives away customers. While I believe it is important that the city of Morgantown provide basic services for people in need, I do believe that some of these services could be provided at a location that is not in the heart of downtown. Milan Puskar Health Right is a free health clinic located on Spruce Street. The Bartlett house is also located downtown on University Avenue. Both of these organizations provide help for the less fortunate. I believe that the City of Morgantown may be able to reach out to both Health Right and the Bartlett house to see if the City of Morgantown could help these organizations by providing a location with a discounted overhead that would be located outside of downtown or the Wharf district which would be beneficial to downtown business’s while maintaining the services provided for those in need. I also believe the City Council can reach out to various church groups, and civic organizations to coordinate and strategize ways to help decrease the number of those who need to utilize said services. 4. In our reporting on the city’s user fee, we highlighted how the fee has been used to pave some community roads and expand the city’s police force. We also noted that the fee generated an excess sum of one million dollars, which is money that could have been spent at local businesses or used to pay other bills. How would you measure the user fee’s success? The million dollars left over in surplus exist because the paving company who received the contract for the city could only complete one million dollars’ worth of paving in the time frame allotted. Keep in mind that the roads that were scheduled to be paved were still not completed in time, and extensions were given. I think this is evidence which would indicate that the 3 dollar amount was set arbitrarily, without forethought into what amount of funds it would generate and what could be feasibly accomplished with it. There is no doubt that the City of Morgantown was in desperate need of funds. The City of Morgantown has lost millions of dollars in revenue from lost property tax income over the last handful of years. A new funding source was necessary; however, I believe there are more equitable ways to distribute the burden. An example would be to work with the Monongalia County Commission to replace the 3$ “user fee” with a 1% sales tax for the entire county. This would circumvent the current situation where those employed in the city pay a tax while those working just outside the city limits, such as the Suncrest Town Center do not. It would also help foster a relationship regarding our roads with the County Commission. As I alluded to earlier it is increasingly important that the City Council begin to reach out to other entities to address infrastructure needs as our population continues to grow. 5. Five years from now, what changes would you like to see in our community as a result of your tenure on Morgantown’s City Council? I would love for the residents of Morgantown to feel that the City Council has stuck to the issues such as traffic flow, roads, trash and economic development. Most importantly I hope the City Council addresses all these issues with long term planning in mind. It will be my personal goal that if elected at the end of my time in Council, that no one will say that I wasted the Council and the city of Morgantown’s time with empty gestures and inaction. I hope to serve in, and be a part of a City Council that can work together to accomplish what is best for Morgantown.