High-Density vs. Authentic Development
I believe we can achieve authentic growth by targeting certain redevelopments and working with developers who want to build quality empty nester cottages and similar housing to match Worthington’s current family-friendly character and historic charm.
This election will determine the future of Worthington’s density.
Other candidates believe Worthington should have higher density to match surrounding cities. This would require a 50 percent to 100 percent increase in housing (view the data on this article here). To achieve this density, high-density supporters promote changing the current zoning laws to allow for high-density apartments and affordable HUD housing throughout the city.
Dramatically increasing housing would negatively impact our infrastructure and require major changes to water, sewer and other underground support.
I believe the UMCH site should be developed with the community in at the core of all decisions.
This election will decide how the city handles the LC lawsuit. If the wrong people are elected to Council, there is a risk that Council could settle with LC, which would lead to a poor quality high-density development. Electing the right Council members will lead to a better outcome in the lawsuit and a better outcome for Worthington residents.
Property Tax Abatement Program
I believe the city should abate property taxes for residents based on age and longevity in the community. This will help reduce the concerns of being “taxed out.” In my next term, I will place this as highest priority for Council to consider.
With Worthington housing values increasing, and with voters approving additional school levies, property taxes are at an all-time high for Worthington residents. It is important to remember that a small portion – less than 5 percent – of property taxes go to the city of Worthington.
Many long-time residents, and retired residents, have talked to me about their concerns for being “taxed out” of Worthington.
I have been working on a concept: a property tax abatement for residents with longevity in Worthington. The parameters I have initially considered include the following:
Owner-occupied property owners (residents)
Owned property / lived in Worthington at least 20 years
Age 55 and older
I envision this type of program could be an application-based program available to any resident meeting the decided criteria.
See more details at my article here.
Promote Job Growth
Doug has developed innovative ideas to help spur economic development and job growth in Worthington. Programs like public/private partnerships, ReCAP, and payroll incentives are just a few of the effective measures the city has taken to increase job sustainability. Nearly 74 percent of Worthington's budget is from income tax revenue so it is important to keep Worthington employer-friendly. Doug will work with the business community to create ways to foster local business growth, increasing jobs and local revenue.
Develop Community Vision
Doug has worked extensively to help form the policies, structure, and goals for a community-wide visioning process. The purpose of the visioning is to see what residents desire for Worthington's future and to get into the deeper philosophical reasons why residents desire the things they desire.
This process is started in 2018. The Visioning Committee began their work in the Fall of 2019 and reported the vision statements in late 2020.
Council is advancing these statements with Council-led task forces to identify tangible projects and intangible programs and policies to fulfill these statements.
See more here.
Offer Superior City Services
Worthington is known for offering residents a high level of city services, including police and fire protection, trash and recycling pick-up, recreation programs, and customer service from city staff. When annual budget time comes, Doug actively works to protect these vital services and place these as top priority. He will fight to protect these services and develop innovative ways to serve residents of all ages, including providing age-friendly resources for individuals aging in Worthington.
Grow Sustainability Efforts
Doug led the effort to implement the renewable electric aggregation program for all residents. He also worked to prioritize the city's energy reduction efforts through upgrading energy-consuming equipment like HVAC and lighting. As a result of these efforts, the city will reduce carbon emissions by more than 50 million kilowatt hours per year.
But that's only the start. Doug will work to identify additional ways to reduce energy and consumption, and will work to find innovative sustainability initiatives, like community solar.
Create Engagement Program
Worthington has a significantly high number of residents who are educated and participate in city matters. To enhance and augment the "collective brain," Doug will implement a participatory democracy so residents can be educated and heard on any issue they wish. He will communicate with residents and businesses to create a user-friendly engagement platform.