331 Louisiana Ave
Campaign Web Site
I believe that having lived in cities across the United States during my 20 years of public service as a Coast Guard Officer and well over 27 years of private business experience has given me a unique perspective on what works and doesn’t work which I would like to continue to bring to the Oak Ridge City Council.
Updating our water distribution system is the most urgent improvement facing the city now that we are addressing the replacement of the water plant. Over the last 75 years we have made small fixes to the system, but a systematic review and update is required. The number two priority is increasing the number of miles of roads repaved each year.
Maintaining our great schools,
Improving housing throughout the City,
Continue the expansion of retail and commercial development
Offsetting the loss of the declining Hall Tax revenue will be the property taxes generated by the sale of new homes in the city. Currently there are 3 major sites adding new homes to the inventory.
As Chair of the Chamber’s Oak Ridge Housing Committee, Council’s representative to the Land Bank, and Oak Ridge Housing Authority Board observer, I have a firsthand sense of the exciting progress we are making with housing. Being a member of the Oak Ridge Chamber’s Advocacy Committee, the Oak Ridge Public School Education Foundation and the Oak Ridge Breakfast Rotary Club, I continue to gain valuable insights into how our community works, where it shines and where it needs some improvement. As Senior Vice President of Operations at Information International Associates and a member of the East Tennessee Economic Council (ETEC), I certainly understand the needs of the business community.
40 New York Ave
Rick Chinn for Oak Ridge City Council
I know of no better way to have a larger effect on your community than through local politics.
We need to find a way to entice more of the people that work in Oak Ridge to live in Oak Ridge. Only 17% of the DOE / Federal Contractor Workforce live in Oak Ridge. This is unacceptable.
Growing our population / New Housing development
Our aging infrastructure / Water Plant, sewer lines, roofs
Diversifying our economy away from DOE dependency.
We cannot continue to raise our property tax to pay for the services we provide. We need to "grow the pie" through population growth and new businesses. While our property tax rate does not look bad when compared nationally, We compete for residents with Hardin Valley, Farragut and Powell. We need to tell our story better for why it is a good investment to live in Oak Ridge. We have incredible schools, a great fire department and low crime. Additionally our quality of life is outstanding. Once Oak Ridge workers realize that residential investment is good here, our population will grow. This growth will relieve pressure on our tax rate.
My degree is in economics and business experience is in development. These are precisely the types of qualifications a growing vibrant city needs in its leaders. I am also very engaged in state and federal politics. We need to continue to leverage these officials by pursuing grants and legislation to help Oak Ridge grow.
Four years ago, I pledged to be a consensus builder and to work with my colleagues on City Council, the Board of Education, and the City Staff to restore collegiality, team work, and shared goals for the future. I also committed to actively promote Oak Ridge and our commitment to excellence in our schools, city services and quality of life. I believe I have kept those commitments, and Oak Ridgers have embraced the collective efforts of elected officials, City staff, and Oak Ridge Schools Administration. Our work has been successful, as evidenced by the development of Main Street Oak Ridge, the establishment of the Manhattan Project National Historical Park, redevelopment of Jackson Square, new retail, commercial, residential housing, the approval of the new Pre-K, Senior Center, and upgrades to Scarboro Park, continuing support of funding for our school system, addition of the 8th lane to the Melton Lake rowing venue, and the award of the 2020 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship, and u
In the near term (before the end of the year), the City needs to complete street repairs, and paving, which is underway or contract. In the longer term (24-48 months), the replacement of our 75 year old water plant is our most critical infrastructure improvement. We need to continue improvements to the Melton Lake rowing venue which will be the site of the 2020 NCAA Women’s Rowing Championship; complete the installation/design of signal improvements to the Oak Ridge Turnpike and Illinois Avenue utilizing the $2.8 million dollars in federal highway funding, with no local match to improve our traffic system. We need to support the plans of AT&T to significantly upgrade its broadband services in the City and the efforts of the private sector in bringing wireless broadband to residential customers.
It is important for Council to continue its focus on the things which make us competitive as a city in attracting new residents and more capital investment. These would include continued revitalization of our Center City, maintaining financial and political support for our outstanding public school system, supporting development of residential housing, and additional improvements to our waterfront.
There is no question that the City will face an ongoing challenge to replace the loss of revenue from the Hall Income Tax which is being phased out by the Tennessee General Assembly. Additionally, in FY/2018, there was an $800,000 shortfall in sales tax collections from the Roane County portion of Oak Ridge, as compared to FY/2017. At the same time, sales tax collections from the Anderson County portion of Oak Ridge were very strong. Hopefully, new home sales across the City will generate additional property tax revenue, and the sales tax from UPF, Main Street, automobile sales, restaurants and other retail will off-set, in whole or in part, the loss of the Hall Income Tax and negative impact of sales tax exemptions which have also been enacted by the Tennessee General Assembly to promote certain business activities.
As Mayor, I have worked hard to delegate responsibilities among my colleagues on Council and to appoint every member to lead the specific initiatives based upon their personal interests and Council’s priorities. This governance model works for Oak Ridge, and if I am re-elected, I intend to build on its success during my next term. I have served as the managing partner in one of the largest law firms in East Tennessee, and I am comfortable with delegating duties and the need to find consensus on issues from all stakeholders. In the last four years, I have been accessible to Oak Ridgers; promoted the priorities set by City Council and the City Manager; and at the same time, listened and considered different views and opinions about these priorities.
This 75th anniversary year is an exciting time to be in Oak Ridge. I see renewal all over town – investments in our city that will help secure our future for the next 75 years. As an incumbent Council member, I'm proud to have contributed to fostering the progress we see. I want to remain on Council because I'm eager to help finish what we've started, and because I am aware of other needs that are waiting to be addressed.
Additionally, I believe that my 9+ years of service on Council (spanning two city managers) and the learning I've received from experiences such as representing the Council on the preschool task force, working with the Chamber on retail recruiting, and serving on the National League of Cities Energy, Environment, and Natural Resources Committee are experience that the City cannot afford to lose at this time.
Finally, although I know that too often I fall short, residents tell me I respond to citizen requests, and I don't want people to lose that.
The most urgent infrastructure improvements are situations where something is broken and needs to be fixed quickly (water main breaks, electric outages, potholes, etc.). These are not discretionary items; they need to be fixed!
Currently the city top priority for infrastructure investment is replacement of our drinking-water treatment plant, which could fail if we don't deal with it soon. Fortunately, this project will get low-cost capital funding through federal and state programs. Our aging water distribution system needs improvement to help prevent future water-main breaks and associated street patching.
In general, our streets and sidewalks need upgrades and more frequent maintenance.
Two less traditional infrastructure areas that I think deserve more attention than they've been getting are the stormwater system, which is causing localized problems around the city, and our public open spaces (especially greenbelts) that are plagued with kudzu and other invasive weeds.
1. Follow through on the ongoing initiatives that are creating new investment in Oak Ridge's future, including (but not limited to) continued revitalization of our retail sector, completing the preschool and senior center projects, building that new water plant, adding sidewalks and getting the stoplights coordinated along our thoroughfares, making the "rail trail" a reality, and leveraging the national park and our other assets to bring more tourists here.
2. Provide adequate resources to maintain our infrastructure and sustain excellence in our schools, police, fire department, and other public services.
3. Work on our relationship with DOE, for the benefit of both parties.
Our biggest fiscal challenge continues to be the fact that our city is home to a major industrial enterprise (the DOE facilities) that yields only a tiny fraction of the revenue we would get from a “normal” industrial enterprise of the same size, while imposing special burdens that add to local government's costs and diminish our ability to generate other revenues. To maintain the positive relationship between DOE and Oak Ridge, the community needs fair compensation for the costs of hosting the important federal enterprise. Other challenges include loss of Hall tax (about $700 thousand annually), slow growth in property values, and state proposals to repeal other taxes that benefit cities or transfer revenue from cities to counties. To address these challenges, we need to increase our property values and sales tax collections through continued commercial growth and by offering a quality community with attractive housing (both new and renovated) to attract new residents.
Our current City Council is a well-functioning team of individuals with differing backgrounds, perspectives, and expertise. I'm the only woman in that mix and in this election, and my more than 25 years of ongoing involvement in city government, including 9+ years on Council gives me a long-term perspective that Oak Ridge needs. I'm also the only one with experience inside the local DOE complex, with 36 years at ORNL. As an environmental scientist by profession and an environmentalist by avocation, I have a particular interest in sustaining the quality of our city's environment, and I'm always eager to try to dispel misconceptions about environmental safety. Possibly because I prefer reuse and recycling, I have a heart for our historic heritage and our older neighborhoods, but I do support blight removal as a critical part of sustaining those neighborhoods.
17 NEWCASTLE LANE
Over 28 years ago, my family was moving to East Tennessee. We could have moved any where in the greater Knoxville area. We chose Oak Ridge and it was the best decision for my family. That decision changed our lives forever. We raised our children here. Our kids went to Oak Ridge Schools and that foundation helped them become thriving and successful adults. We have many friends here. We are connected all across this community. This is home. I want to be an advocate for this great city.
Work in Oak Ridge and Live in Oak Ridge. I recently turned 60 years old. I have a servant's heart. I want to spend the next years of my life giving back and helping this community continue to be a great city.
The original infrastructure is aging and in need of continuing improvements. The plan for improvements needs to be followed within the available of the revenues available. We need to continue to look for grants and other matching funds to expedite these plans. Also, we need to work toward becoming a "Smart City." I feel that the "Smart City" can be accomplished through a partnership with ORNL and their technology capabilities in supercomputers and research resources that they have available.
Increasing are tax base by working with the various entities that are charged with recruiting new businesses and industry to our city. This can also be accomplished by adding more homes and residents to our city. Providing new and affordable housing to families who work in Oak Ridge needs to be a top priority. My campaign motto is Work in Oak Ridge, Live in Oak Ridge, Shop in Oak Ridge. The City Council needs to be promoters of this philosophy and partner with those folks who recruit new businesses, industry and residents to the City.
We need our tax base to increase in order to avoid future tax increases. Our tax rate needs to be more in line with other surrounding communities that we compete with for attracting residents, businesses, and industry.
Actively recruiting and promoting our City is needed more and more during this next few years. A more coordinated effort among all the recruiting entities and the City needs to be a top priority,
More that 30+ years in business management, leadership development, and counseling and life coaching experience has prepared me to be a great member of the City Council. My education which includes a BS in Accounting, MBA in Business Management and MDiv in Counseling have been a great foundation to draw upon throughout my career. Living in Oak Ridge for over 28 years has provided me a great understanding of the needs of our community. Also, I am connected across the city in business, education, health care, and faith based organizations. I am an ordained minister and counselor. I have been in ministry for over 20 years here in Oak Ridge. I have a servant's heart and spent the bulk of my career helping others. I recently turned 60 years old and I want the spend the next years of my life giving back.