City Council Candidates – District 5
Stephanie Burnside (Incumbent)
41 years old. Resident of Modesto for over 10 years. Business owner, Councilwoman.
78 years old. Resident of Modesto for 73 years. Retired nurse.
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Stephanie Burnside*: The Modesto City Council provides leadership for the City and is charged with dutifully representing its residents. When I was first appointed to represent the 5th district on the Modesto City Council in 2010, and again when I was elected in 2011, I carried with me two guiding principles that still remain today: fiscal responsibility and forward thinking. As a council member, it is and has been my responsibility not to shy away from the tough decisions that face our community. I am, instead, to be an independent voice for the people of Modesto and help guide the City with my fellow council members in ways that ensure long-term prosperity and thriving neighborhoods, schools and businesses.
Jenny Kenoyer: To provide the most effective city government to the taxpayers.
Stephanie Burnside*: Revenues to the City of Modesto’s general fund dropped sharply because of the recession. Only recently have revenues began to stabilize and improve slightly; but it’s still not enough. Our response to the multi-million dollar structural deficit our City faces should not be entirely dependent upon one-off revenue sources drawn from increased taxes on residents; an infusion of cash will not outright solve Modesto’s fiscal problems. If voters approve a temporary tax increase in November, like the general sales tax increase measure, for example, we must be diligent and strategic with how every dollar is used through a transparent budget process.
Jenny Kenoyer: Working with the finance staff to check to see that all departments are working within their budgets.
Stephanie Burnside*: My number one priority has been to get Modesto back on track. We are close. As a small business owner in Modesto, I understand the unique and beneficial relationship that businesses have with our community. I will work tirelessly to reignite that partnership between residents of Modesto and our local community businesses. A flourishing, business-friendly city with a rich heritage like Modesto will attract new jobs and bring lasting growth to our local economy and prosperity to its residents.
Jenny Kenoyer: Revitalization of downtown by providing a day drop-in center for the homeless. With the homeless having a place to go during the day, it will make the downtown more attractive for foot traffic.
Stephanie Burnside*: Our strength as a local government comes from our ability to maintain close relationships with the community around us. I’ve seen this firsthand as a small business owner, as an active community member and as a member of the City Council. By being active and involved at all levels, we stay in tune with our City’s needs. I have said all along that I do not profess to know all the answers, but I recognize that working with the community and our other units of government to understand the facts, and then follow them wherever they lead, is necessary for any successful collaborative and cooperative relationship.
Jenny Kenoyer: We already have collaboration with Stan COG. I will attend other official meetings such as MID and Stanislaus Board of Supervisors meetings.
Stephanie Burnside*: I want all Modesto residents to have the opportunity to work for a fair wage. The best, sustainable engine to advance that is a healthy and vibrant business climate—one where businesses and communities partner together and invest in each other; where industry and residents are teeming with activity. I am working alongside my colleagues to get Modesto’s fiscal house in order. A solvent budget and structurally sound expense sheet lays the foundation for local economic growth by freeing up businesses and residents from the pressure of paying higher taxes. Those freed up resources are then left to the community, where they are shared and allocated in ways no city government could imagine.
Jenny Kenoyer: We need to reach out to our agriculture industry since that is what our economic base is. Possibly we could get a University to put an extension in Modesto to do research and education pertaining to agriculture.
Stephanie Burnside*: If the measure does in fact pass, it is imperative to recognize that our obligation as elected representatives to be good, fiscally responsible stewards of taxpayer money is not lessened. It is necessary to maintain rigid oversight over general sales tax revenue, as is the case with all public funds; every dollar spent must be scrutinized and justified. I believe that the primary role of city government is public safety, a value which is reflected in the City’s proposed allocation of the new revenue: half for public safety, a quarter for roads, a tenth returned to our City reserves, and the remainder to parks and recreation and economic development.
Jenny Kenoyer: It has already been determined that 1/2 of the $.01 would go to safety. I would have to work with the staff to see what their recommendations are.