The following are Mr. Price's response in writing:
Mr. Price, we have heard it said that you are out of touch with citizens of the 3rd District, how do you respond?
* I am always accessible. I receive on an average of 20 to 25 calls a day from my constituents. I will be more than happy to meet with any group or individual and listen to any suggestion, ideas or complaints to make New Albany a better place to live.
Our city is in a financial crisis. What do you suggest to help with these problems?
* New Albany needs to focus on budget cuts early. Stop the wasteful spending. I consider this to be one of our main concerns. The city should be run like a business. Freeze hiring and wages, or start laying off city employees. Police, EMT's and Fire Department employees are pricing themselves out of a job.
These employees need to be cross trained, or we will have to go to a Volunteer Fire Department like Clarksville.
Mr. Price responded:
"Let me ask FOS a question. Would the taxpayers rather spend $1-2 million to make Spring Street a two-way street or would they rather spend $1-2 million to provide needed city services?"Please elaborate on other issues of importance to our city:
* We need hands on leadership through example, starting with Mayor England. Code Enforcement needs to enforce the laws on the books and not create more new laws that won't be enforced. City Attorney should go after these violations.
I've researched property owners through our Assessors office, and have never had a problem identifying the owner.
Why did you refuse to sign President John Gonder's Rental Inspection Committee report?
* If used, it could set our city up for a discrimination lawsuit. It should be an equal playing field for all.
* All city departments should follow ''FOIA and OPEN DOOR LAW", and provide financial information to the council and the taxpayers. We need a real hands on Mayor. You don't hire someone else to do the job that we elected the mayor to do.
A town of 36,000 citizens, should not have to hire a Deputy Mayor at a cost of $92,000 to taxpayers.
Service is your best product.
* Clean up the financial mess of the city of New Albany. We are drowning in city debt. We should take politics out of all decision making. There is a lot of waste in local government with no accountability. Our current administration keeps spending and spending. Our city is in a big financial crisis just like our country.
* There needs to be more of a "we" attitude rather than a "me" attitude. Many times department heads are more concerned with their own issues than the city as a whole. There needs to be more interest for the citizens then the departments. Citizens are on a budget, why shouldn't local government?
* We need to shop for the best deals on insurance, even a higher deductible if necessary. I gave up my insurance, why don't other council members? Our council should lead by example and repeal their own insurance benefits.
About 82.3% of our General Fund goes to Police, Fire and 14% goes for Employee's Insurance. These issues needs to be addressed sooner rather than later.
* We should do like Clarksville, let employees pay their own cell phone bill, since NO one wants to follow State law, by keeping required logs.
Take home cars:
* First, we need a take home car policy. When off duty, office holders and employees need to maintain a mileage log and pay mileage on off duty use, and/or just park them.
I pay for my gas, don't taxpayers?
What's your thoughts on raises:
* I voted against raises for Mayor England, Deputy Mayor, City Clerk and others. Now two billing employees want raises. Have other council members forgotten we froze the 2009 budget? I will NOT support ANY raises until we fix city finances.
How can we give raises and then ask rate payers to pay higher taxes and higher fees. That's NOT right or fair.
This administration and council needs to stop the tax and spend mentality.
* The street department needs a route system similar to the previous sanitation department instead of "ping ponging" to answer selective telephone calls. Even rotating routes every two or three weeks would be better than the current system.
I am in favor of bring sanitation back, but the only problem I see, is our city does not have the money to buy new sanitation trucks.
Councilman Price, how do you feel being one of two left of the so called "Gang of Four?"
* In my personal opinion, as I cannot speak for Mr. Coffey, everyone needs a "watch dog" and that is what I focus on, what is best for our city and all citizens not a selective group.
As of yet, not one of my critics have admitted that Jethro has been right yet. But look at the mess our city is in. "I can now say, I told you so!"
What about all of the attacks against you on the other blogs, Councilman Price?
* It means I am doing the job I was elected to, and the job the taxpayers are paying me to do. I am not a "rubber stamp" for this administration or any group. I have always believed in checks and balances.
Is there anything you wish to share with the citizens of New Albany?
* Yes, my grandmother's philosophy is, "If you don't have it, don't spend it, and our city doesn't have it!"
We also asked Mr. Price why he ran for City Council again:
* He saw the unfairness in the previous administration and all of the wasteful spending and felt taxpayers were being abused. As of today, I still feel the same way.
One final question Councilman Price, who is your pick to win Super Bowl XLlll?
* Arizona Cardinals, even though the Steelers are favorite to win.
Steve Price, Councilman Third District
Freedom of Speech wishes to thank Councilman Price for taking the time to answer our questions. We are sure many of our reader's appreciate his honest answers.
Contact: Councilman Steve Price at (812) 941-9032 or 112 Butler Street, New Albany, Indiana 47150