Posted on: December 1, 2017

A Message from City Councilmember Jason Gillam

Jason Gillam    City Council

Being a “Public Servant” has been an honor and great experience to represent the citizens of Edwardsville as a Councilman. This opportunity has been about paying it forward to make a difference in our community using my skills, talents and presence to serve in a selfless way. I have several people to thank including current and previous City Councilmembers, Planning Commissioners and other advisory board members, the Mayor, several great staff in all City departments and many citizens that asked questions, offered feedback or simply expressed care about our community by showing up. I also owe a great deal of thanks to my family (Rebecca, Rachel and Jared) for supporting my ministry of service by their understanding of my absences from family activities or other events at times. My time will be filled making a difference in new ways going forward and they are helping provide many new ideas.

Reflecting on what we have been able to accomplish over the last four plus years has given me peace that I am leaving office at the end of December with Edwardsville being in a better place now than where we were in 2013. During my time in office, together we have:

  • Started a high quality EMS service that dramatically reduced response time, saved lives and controlled cost,
  • Made it a priority to re-invest in roads on an annual budgeted basis throughout the city - although much more is needed,
  • Brought sewer to the north end of the city to spur development in an area that’s been talked about for many years and we did so without the burden of a special tax district or unrealistic debt,
  • Partnered with our business community on many quality expansions and additions that provided new or increased revenue to the city and job growth (over 1 million additional commercial sq feet added),
  • Set a budget that will lower the city’s property tax MIL rate this next year below the level of when I started in office (keep in mind our costs have risen over this same time as well),
  • Participated in many budgeting discussions with staff and helped make decisions over time to put the city in a stronger financial position today with a reasonable cash reserve,
  • Supported the growth of a parks and recreation program that is reaching new heights in participation and partnerships, has added multiple annual community events and continues to add amenities to our parks (soccer fields, futsal courts, trails and soon disc and soccer golf),
  • Established curbside recycling as a new service with carts provided for recycling and trash and expanded the capacity of our Citywide Cleanup Day,
  • Begun transitioning the billing of sewer to our city so we can retain the maintenance dollars necessary to preserve this system and better plan for maintenance expenses,
  • Experienced improved city communications with the addition of a digital newsletter - The EdHotshot, updating of our city website, utilizing Facebook and posting meetings on YouTube,
  • Welcomed several new professionals hired or promoted to fill vacancies and who are working hard to make a difference,
  • Celebrated public safety personnel for heroic acts, professional development accomplishments and well-earned retirements,
  • Supported the investments in many equipment purchases for Public Works, Police, Fire and EMS to improve the quality of services offered, and
  • Provided raises to all city staff albeit less than I would have liked to have offered at times

Honestly, I could keep going as it has been a great four plus years in Edwardsville.

Our City’s work continues beyond elections. The next council will be challenged to meet the needs of our community and work collaboratively with staff and citizens on many items such as:

  • Completing smart development agreements that offer a significant win for our citizens - otherwise why have growth,
  • Determining the best way forward to promote growth and development,
  • Conducting a new roads study that involves public discussion to make significant road and pedestrian infrastructure improvements in the future,
  • Continuing to improve the visibility of our community via codes education, communication and enforcement to protect the investment in our neighborhoods,
  • Complete projects underway such as the management of the sewer system, the implementation of the railroad crossing quiet zone and study of city facilities necessary to properly house our staff, facilitate our work and store equipment today and into the future,
  • Financial planning for capital replacements,
  • Sourcing additional investments for care and management of our Cemetery,
  • Making investments into additional compensation for all our staff to remain competitive in the marketplace with additional focus on hard to fill or high turnover positions,
  • Re-investing in older parts of town to re-green neighborhoods and
  • Balancing a tax policy that will allow Edwardsville to compete on a regional basis.

The good news is that City revenues are on the rise, good operational budget planning has served us well, long term debt is retiring in the near future, smart development agreements and excellent leadership from city staff set the new council and our citizens up for great things to come without the city needing to raise property tax rates. We have a good story to tell in Edwardsville and need to welcome and encourage more involvement from our citizens in order to continue reaching new heights and for the community to have hope for continual improvements like these.

Helping set Edwardsville apart and making it the jewel of Wyandotte County - the place where people want to live and businesses want to operate has been an honor.

Thank you again for allowing me to be your Councilman and I offer my continued prayers and support for Edwardsville.  

Jason Gillam, Edwardsville City Council

Follow us on Facebook and stay engaged!
Facebook Twitter Google Plus Email