Steve Caudill

Political party: 
Question 1: 

What are the major issues facing the City of Berea?

Berea is at a major turning point in our history.  We are currently facing decisions that will be a part of the lives of citizens of Berea for the next 50 years.  Four issues that I think are the most important going forward are the purchase of a power supply and the long-term planning following that contract, the oversight of the Fire, Police, and City Hall renovation, the continuing of efforts to bring a training facility for the workforce of Berea, and the rededication to the upkeep of our parks and recreation.  

The decisions that we make regarding these issues are going to have a major impact for our City.  We must continue to be diligent in out planning and be sure that we make sound financial decisions while keeping in mind the end goals of these projects.

Question 2: 

What is your position on future growth and development issues as they affect Berea; including further development of historical districts, tourism, and sustainable “buy local” initiatives?

The future growth of Berea from an economic standpoint has to be multi-faceted.  We cannot have tunnel vision when thinking about growth. 

Industry growth is extremely important, but we must realize that currently we face a shortage of workers for the factories that we do have.  We have to begin to look at the problems that are keeping people from getting jobs in these industries to remedy the shortage of applicants.  

We also need to continue to work to get a training facility in Berea by working with local schools.  We need to show our high school students as well as our adults that with training they can get good paying jobs in Berea.

Berea also needs to focus on small businesses and working with local entrepreneurs to help them bring businesses to Berea to fill the needs of our citizens.

Question 3: 

Are you in favor of the development of pedestrian and bicycle pathways as safe and practical options to motorized transportation in Berea? If so, what projects of this kind would be your priority?

I am definitely in favor of pedestrian and bicycle pathways.  As a young father I often enjoy the benefits of being able to take my children to a safe place to run, walk, or ride bicycles.  The top priority is finishing the connector on Short Line Pike to complete the Indian Fort Trail.  We then need to continue to work with the Public Works department on insuring that our sidewalks are kept up.  The last piece of the puzzle is looking at further opportunities to expand the trail system and make it as accessible as possible for everyone.  I think we should begin to think about putting more benches and possibly restrooms along our trails.

Question 4: 

State and federal laws do not exist that ban discrimination against people in areas of housing, employment and public accommodation based on perceived sexual orientation and gender identity. Knowing that, would you be in favor of passing a fairness ordinance in Berea that would address this type of discrimination? Please explain.

I do not think that Berea should enact a fairness ordinance because we are not equipped with a court system to handle such claims.  I think there is a good possibility that if there ever was a ordinance such as this that it would end up costing the City of Berea quite a bit of money because they would be fighting it in court.  The best example I know of where this has happened is the case with Lexington and Hands on Originals.

Question 5: 

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, in the years of 2010-2014, 19.7% of the residents of Madison County lived below the poverty line. What policies will you support to improve the availability of safe affordable housing and increased economic opportunities for all citizens?

In terms of opportunities for low-income individuals to better their situation our best opportunity is a training center that works in cooperation with our two school systems.  Education is the best chance that people have to better their lives.  Offering job training, certifications, and GED programs at such a facility would help countless people in Berea with opportunities for better paying jobs.  

As far as safe housing I believe that rests with the City working diligently with developers and property owners to insure that codes are followed so everyone has a safe place to live.  We as a city cannot build properties for people to live in, but we can make sure that developers follow the rules that we have set to make all housing safe.

Question 6: 

What actions or initiatives can the city take to provide help and alternatives to families and people in Berea living with addiction?

As a City I think that we must look at the drug addiction problem from a proactive standpoint rather than a reactionary one.  We do not have the expertise or resources to build a treatment facility and the work that we do with the County and State Law Enforcement is dealing with the outcome instead of the input.  We need as a City to begin investing in our children again.  We need to look at the parks and make sure that we are doing everything we can to engage our youth and keep them involved in our community.  This most likely will mean a capital investment on the part of the City.  We must continue to provide programming in our schools through the Police Department and make sure that we are doing everything that we can to give our children the chance to become responsible adults.

Question 7: 

What measures do you support to foster good relations between law enforcement officers and our local community?

I believe that our Police Department does an extremely good job of working with the community to have a positive relationship.  From my perspective one of the biggest issues that we face with negative feelings towards the BPD is people not asking them when they need help.  I have never seen a case where our officers do not respond quickly and in an appropriate way.  

If anything we probably should have events where our community can get to know our Police Officers and get to see what a great staff we have on our Police Force.   If there are negative feelings towards them it has been my experience that it was from misinformation or not bringing the problem to the police.

Question 8: 

Last year there was a great deal of controversy around the selling of confederate flag merchandise at the Spoonbread Festival, and Berea students reported being harassed on the basis of race while in town. Given that, what measures do you support to address racial harassment in Berea?

Racial harassment is a difficult issue to really get your hands around.  For starters there is little that we can do to place ordinances on the books to prevent people from having feelings one way or another.  Racial harassment like any other harassment is something that should be handled by our Police.  In the case from a year ago where someone was putting an individual in a situation where they felt like they were going to be hurt we advised them to do a Police report.  We do not tolerate any form of harassment in our City.  If the proper authorities are notified then the City will do everything within its power to stop the harassment from occurring.

Question 9: 

Berea is in the midst of making long-term decisions about where and how it gets and manages its wholesale electric power. Beyond safety, reliability and affordability, what considerations should be made with respect to Berea's electric power choices?

The complexity to these decisions is one that cannot be overlooked. When it comes to the buying power the most important things to consider is reliability.  Cost is the next piece of the puzzle.   After those are looked at we must understand is what exactly is our long-term strategy for power purchase.  That does not mean a 5-year deal.  It means 10, 20, or 30 years down the road.  We must decide if we are going to continue purchasing power on the open market or if we are going to get into an agreement with a company or organization that has assets backing the power that we are buying..  I feel like so often that we get caught up in what the fuel it is that we are going to be using when in reality currently there are not many options that will actually work.