York News Times City Council Race Q&A 2022
- Senior Vice President and Branch Manager at Henderson State Bank;
- My wife, Monica, and I own K9 Kennels
Past work experience: Worked in the State Treasurer’s Office and served as a page in the Nebraska Legislature
Other experiences: York Rotary Board Member; Henderson State Bank Board Member; York Young Professionals Board Member; York County York County Human Trafficking Task Force Member; York County Development Corporation Board Member; York County Health Coalition Treasurer; York County GOP Chairman; and York Library Foundation President.
Q: Why are you running for this position?
A: I am running for the York City Council as a way to serve and give back to my community. I have a lot of passion for York as this is where I was raised, and it’s where I chose to raise my family. I want to help grow York and make this the best city in Nebraska.
Q: What talents do you bring to the table that would best equip you in this position?
A: I graduated from UNL with a double major in finance and business management, and I’ve received a diploma from the Graduate School of Banking-Colorado. At work I put this education into practice, spending time analyzing financial statements, building relationships, and solving problems. I plan to bring my talents to the city to study the financials, ask questions, and try to problem solve issues as they arise. I enjoy thinking about the big picture and coming up with ideas to make things more efficient and to work towards a better future.
Q: The city has started the process toward building a new fire station. Money has been set aside, as a beginning of saving for the substantial investment. Do you have any feelings about where a new station could be located, how it could be funded and features that should be included?
A: If the city is going to be building a new fire station, I believe the location needs to be kept centralized as best as possible. We need to take into account the ease of moving the big trucks in and out of the station and design it to work best with the street layout. With many large manufacturing businesses on the north side of the city, residences on the east and west side and interstate calls on the south side, maintaining quick efficient access is key. I’ll leave the design for features that need to be included to the professionals who understand what is best suited for our community. As for funding a new station, it will depend on final cost estimates, and what reserves the city has available, what the bond market looks like, and where the current city’s debt payment structure is at the time. I think the current city council is wise setting some money aside currently for a future project, while sales tax revenues have been at all time highs.
Q: This year, the city’s levy actually decreased. Do you believe the city’s real estate tax levy should be allowed to increase in order to create more revenue to be used for more projects or to grow the reserve?
A: The amount each citizen pays in property tax is determined by multiplying their current property valuation by the city’s property tax rate (levy). If our individual property valuation increases, and the tax rate doesn’t change, that’s an increase in property taxes we pay. When a community’s property valuation base increases, there are generally two causes:
1.) New properties being brought on to the tax rolls (New construction, expansion, annexation, etc.), which leads to an increase in need for the city’s services.
2.) Rising property values; If this is the case, the city should look at whether they’re able to decrease the property tax rate to avoid raising taxes.
Ideally the goal should be to lower property taxes, but that may not always be possible, depending on other funding sources. Recently York has had record sales tax receipts. The city should look at using that revenue stream to lower our reliance on property tax. We need to maintain a healthy reserve and only use the taxes that are needed, as the money belongs to the citizens of York.
Q: What do you feel the city’s role should be regarding economic development? Do you feel the city has been successful in that endeavor in recent years?
A: One of the best ways a city can decrease the overall tax burden, and to provide value for the taxes being paid, is to focus on economic development. There are many ways that a city can contribute to that goal, from creating an inviting community, to making sure we have adequate housing, childcare, recreational opportunities, infrastructure, building development opportunities, etc. York has done a decent job on being an attractive community in recent years, but I believe there is more that can be done to further grow our city.
Q: Is there one specific area of spending in the city’s budget that you believe is not necessary or should be cut?
A: There’s not one significant line item/department that I think needs cut, but more a mindset of looking for efficiencies when work is being done. Is there a way to run the departments more efficiently? When department heads are buying products/accepting bids, are they looking for the best deals for the money, as if they’re spending their own dollars? As an example, for a number of years the convention center had a $25K budget item for telephones, compared to roughly $3K-$5K for the other city buildings. Looking at recent budgets, our department head was able to drastically bring that cost down, saving tax payer’s money, I’m assuming through a negotiation with the provider. My question is, do these types of analysis of expenses happen throughout the city, and if not, how could that become standard practice?
Q: Do you feel that, if elected, you would be accessible to your constituents to hear their opinions and concerns?
A: Yes, I plan to be accessible to anyone that has an idea on how to grow York, concerns on city issues, or any other topic they’re interested in discussing. I have a website, stephenpostier.com, along with a Facebook Page, where people can follow me and send me messages online. I’m also open to meeting in person to discuss any of these issues/ideas.
Q: What do you believe are the most important services the city should provide for those who live and work here?
A: The city should be a conduit to provide services that make it possible for our community members to lead happy, productive lives in York. This covers the gamut from safe, reliable infrastructure like streets, pedestrian pathways, water, etc. to quality-of-life resources like our library, parks, fire and police departments, etc. to concepts like quality housing, access to childcare, and foster a strong job environment.
Q: What are York’s greatest assets?
A: I know it is cliché to say, but I truly believe that York’s people are our greatest assets. The amount of passion I’ve seen for our town is astounding. For a community of our size, to have the number of things to do, the quality of year-round events, the various types of activities, often times free of charge, never ceases to amaze me. We have a business community that supports many of these activities through donations. We have individuals who give of their time, talent, and treasure to make them happen. We have schools, non-profits, service clubs, and other community groups who come together to accomplish a lot to make York an amazing community to call home.
Q: What are York’s biggest challenges? And how could those issues be addressed?
A: Our biggest challenges today are housing, childcare, and people. We have a substantial amount of job openings in our community, but finding the people to fill those jobs is a challenge. If companies want to bring in people from outside York to move here, there’s an issue finding housing, and if there are kids in the picture, finding childcare is difficult. What the city can do to help address some of these issues are update/improve the zoning ordinances, making it easier/less costly to develop quality housing. The city can look for public/private partnerships to address the physical infrastructure requirements. We can work with various groups and organizations in the community and state to increase the supply of quality childcare openings to fill a variety of needs. If we are able to address the housing and childcare shortages, I feel like it would create a large draw for people wanting to come work in our community.
Q: There are a number of problematic residential properties in the city, with rundown buildings, garbage and other issues. Do you feel the city is aggressive enough when handling these types of situations?
A: While it is important to maintain the private property rights of individuals, it’s also equally as important to maintain safe standards in our community. I believe the city of York should continue focusing on working with home/business owners to make sure property is kept to a safe standard for our community, and to do what’s necessary only once all other efforts by the city are unsuccessful.
Q: What do you want to see accomplished in the city, if you are elected?
A: In all the groups/committees I serve on, my goal is to Grow York. That can mean something different for each group, but overall, it’s working towards a better York for our future. That means working with YCDC to bring new jobs, people, and housing into our community. It means working with the York Childcare Alliance to address childcare needs. It means working with passionate community members and Four Corners Health Department, to address the walkability needs of our community, so we have safe pedestrian access for everyone. It means working with the York County Health Coalition to make sure people’s basic needs are met, especially if they’re going through a crisis. It means working with individuals on ways to start/expand a business, and fulfill their lifelong dream. It means working with our state and federal lawmakers to improve the opportunities, and access to resources, for our community. It means putting on a Christmas Light Show each year at our house/business, so families can bring their kids and build memories together. It means serving in many roles through Rotary in our town. It means creating opportunities, through the York Young Professionals group, to connect people in our community. And if elected to the York City Council, it will mean doing my best to Grow York.
Growing York isn’t just about adding more people to our population. It’s also about making life better for those that chose to call York home.
For more information, follow me on Facebook, or visit www.stephenpostier.com
I would appreciate your vote and support in November, so I may serve this community as your city councilman.