September 16, 2021

Lydia Noble (Photo Credit: Lydia Noble)

Last week the Pocatello-Chubbuck Observer sent an email interview request to all Pocatello City Council candidates.  Lydia Noble, P.A.G.E. co-founder, is running for City Council Seat #5.  Her answers to our questions follows:

1. What, in your opinion, is the main purpose of government?

To provide citizens with those needs that are better provided “together” than can be provided individually—economies of scale such as the services provided by cities (fire, police, water, sewer, schools, etc.), by states (roads, bridges, schools, etc.), and by the federal government (national parks, freeways, FEMA, major nation-wide infrastructure needs, etc.)  Of course, these often overlap, but I believe the main purpose of government is to provide and coordinate necessary public services.

2. How would you ensure that citizens are given the opportunity to be involved in city government decisions?

Use the current “Mayor’s Newsletter” more effectively by promoting town halls to be held in city parks so that it becomes a routine way for citizens to learn about and become involved in local government.  Use these forums to communicate upcoming issues and important decisions which must be made.  Publish an agenda for upcoming town halls.  The goal would be to get citizens to take an interest and participate in resolving the challenges facing our local area.  You never know where a creative solution or good idea might come from, but first you must give the issue wider visibility.

3. What is your position on the City imposing health-related ordinances such as mask or vaccine mandates?

Each public-health issue (or crisis) may require our government to make decisions based on known facts from health experts in efforts to protect the public.  Higher levels of government typically receive the most current and accurate information.  Therefore, I believe that Federal and/or State government should be in the drivers-seat regarding such decisions and associated explanations.  City government should not become involved with imposing either mask or vaccine mandates.

4. What is your fiscal policy?  How would you ensure that the taxpayer is getting the best value for his tax dollar, and what steps would you take to reduce spending therefore reducing taxes?

I am fiscally conservative, but I understand that spending is necessary to achieve local needs and goals.  I also believe that some government actions have caused the loss of public trust, especially regarding responsible use of tax dollars.

First, we need a culture change in local city government wherein leaders ensure that all city employees (elected and employed) are held accountable to taxpayers for their decisions and actions.  Taxpayers are the customers—they pay the bills and deserve accountability.  The city should investigate using a “self-assessment” system of performance standards for city departments as well as a “performance appraisal” system for employees.  These could be the first steps toward facilitating a culture wherein all employees work toward a common goal and understand common standards.  This creates a work environment and culture where everyone focuses on finding safer, better, more cost-effective ways to work.

Second, to achieve true public accountability, our city must embrace questions—especially financial questions—from council and the public.  Questions are an opportunity to showcase the knowledge and expertise of city experts and prove to taxpayers that our city is making wise decisions financially, environmentally, technically, etc.  Questions can also uncover potential problems before they become significant, especially financially.  Questions must not be viewed as threats or as doubting the integrity of anyone.

Third, creating and maintaining at least a 10-year Pocatello Strategic Plan is essential toward guiding our city to becoming what we desire it to be for future generations.  Let’s do a better job of being “fiscally responsible” in Pocatello by sitting down and deciding what path we want to put ourselves on toward achieving that future and then planning how we will pay for it.

Goals should drive decisions and decisions can reach goals.  I want our city to make smart, wise financial decisions that lead us to the goal of a successful, beautiful and desirable place to live with as many amenities as we can realistically afford.  I want to see a thriving local economy, booming Old Town, good-paying jobs, growing population, sustainable and well-managed resources, and happy citizens and city employees.  What’s wrong with a successful, well-run, financially stable and beautiful city—perhaps even a city that is the envy of other similarly sized cities?

5. What is your policy with respect to economic development?

Not enough serious effort has been made in recent years regarding this issue, despite much discussion.  Bottom-line, economic development is the key to growing our city.  Good jobs with benefits keep families prospering.  Attracting businesses with such jobs is essential for a city to progress and move forward.  First, I would promote working with local businesses to ensure their success and potential expansion.  Second, we must have a more sophisticated, up-to-date city website to attract potential businesses.  Third, we must streamline city processes for businesses to enter our city—the less red-tape bogging down business and development growth, the more inviting our city becomes.  Fourth, we must get a handle on our escalating property taxes.  This is probably the most complex issue to tackle, but it is absolutely essential we do so to resolve the current issue of Pocatello discouraging both business and residential growth due to high property taxes.  Pocatello cannot reach full-potential without addressing all roadblocks to success.

6. What do you believe are the most important issues facing Pocatello right now, and how would you address them?

Because my background for the last 30 years was in overseeing spending, the most important issue for me is to get a solid handle on city finances, especially since this impacts our property taxes.  The goal would be to focus on: sound financial decision-making that reduces or eliminates future budget deficits; well-planned and coordinated overall city spending; and city departments consistently using fact-based, data-driven reasoning to ensure that taxpayer money is being spent as cost-effectively as possible.  We should then take pride in showing taxpayers how we consistently use city taxpayer funds wisely.

Editor’s Note:  To learn more about Lydia Noble and her campaign, visit:

https://www.nobleforpocatello.com/

 

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