August 31, 2021
Pocatello for Accountable Government Entities (P.A.G.E.) Cofounder Lydia Noble has announced that she is running for Pocatello City Council Seat 5. The seat is currently held by Council Member Linda Leeuwrik.
Noble’s statement announcing her candidacy follows:
After attending every City Council meeting for the past year in person or virtually, I am absolutely compelled to run for City Council on November 2, 2021. I am running because our city budget process and financial planning are in disarray. That fact hurts both our citizens and our hard-working city employees. City Council is responsible to Pocatello citizens for fiscal oversight including creating annual budgets. They should be creating structurally balanced, transparent city budgets that plan ahead for annual operational spending as well as save for large capital needs such as replacing old equipment, new intersection signals and other improvements such as resurfacing the pool and replacing the condemned water slide at Ross Park. Most of these projects are now off-the-table in fiscal year 2022 because, as part of resolving the $2.415M deficit that the fiscal year 2022 budget began with, the city drained our capital improvement fund down to only the 25 percent level required to be held for true emergencies.
Pocatello needs a binding fiscal policy that requires accountability for taxpayer dollars along with written plans and projections at least five years into the future. We don’t have such a citywide plan. The current city fiscal policy established in 2017 was a start. However, those approved financial guidelines have not been actively followed nor used by Council to guide the budgeting process. In fact, the entire policy was dismissed during a recent meeting as being suggested guidelines that don’t necessarily need to be followed. As a result, we have a disjointed, less-than-transparent process with no real obligation toward taxpayers or city staff regarding responsible and accountable budgeting. Over the past two budgeting cycles, council abdicated its statutory duties and obligations repeatedly to the mayor and department heads. Why even have a City Council when they pass off their duties?
I believe I am well-suited to assist our City Council in getting a handle on spending and financial planning by using the skills I developed regarding money management during my 30-years working for a large subcontractor at the Idaho National Laboratory (INL). I understand how a company trims expenses and gains efficiencies through creativity and the use of proven new technology. I understand how they stabilize their workforce and ensure good pay by right-sizing. I understand how they envision the future and think outside the box to humanely do more with less when budgets tighten.
Government should first and foremost benefit the people whom it serves. Government exists to make possible together what we cannot reasonably achieve individually. Unfortunately, after attending City Council meetings for over a year, I am convinced some have lost sight of that ideal and become mired in the scenario of government-for-government’s-sake. They have lost sight of the fact that citizens pay the bills and those citizen-customers come first.
We have a wonderful community bursting with potential. However, many of our residents are disillusioned and struggling. We need to refocus on: providing cost-effective, efficient government that serves our community; cultivating economic development through our processes and messaging; and supporting/growing our existing local businesses to ensure our people can find reliable work with good pay and benefits. We need to focus on reasonable ways to keep property taxes in check while finding ways to partner with specialized developers to increase the availability of attractive, quality and affordable housing. We need to actively cooperate with local and regional economic development entities to attract new jobs. We must reach out and communicate with our residents. We must foster collaboration and cooperation among city departments and team with local organizations for input and ideas. Lastly, we need to unite our citizens and our local government for the common good of all citizens
Of course, I cannot do this alone. However, I can promise I will use the finance, research and business analysis skills I developed over my thirty years at the INL to benefit our community and its people. Change does not happen overnight. It takes a concerted effort by a team—taxpayers, city employees, city council, mayor and local business leaders. I will always make decisions grounded in fact. I will keep our city employees and our citizens clearly in focus. I will not become distracted by self-serving politics, and I can assure you that I have no desire to become a career-politician.
Please consider electing me to Pocatello City Council on November 2, 2021, and please contact me with questions you may have at: email@example.com. I also have a website with additional information at www.nobleforpocatello.com