While we were disappointed that two of Clearwater's three city council elections went uncontested this year, the race between Norma Carlough and Paul Gibson offers city voters a clear choice.
Carlough has campaigned on a platform of three issues: "clean, safe neighborhoods; responsible redevelopment and a waterfront for everyone". Gibson, on the other hand, has touted fiscal responsibility as his major campaign issue, prioritizing city services that are "needs", such as police, fire and public utilities, over non-essential "wants".
Having served on the Finance Advisory Committee of the City of Foxborough during the implementation of Massachusetts tax cutting initiative "Prop 2.5", Gibson's experience in reducing municipal budgets will serve Clearwater's taxpayers well. He supports Zero-based budgeting, a discipline that Clearwater's Mayor Frank Hibbard has suggested for the 2007/08 budget cycle.
Gibson can also be counted on to be an independent thinker on the Council. This is, after all, a democracy that is based on majority rule and a public debate of the issues. Too often the Clearwater City Council has given unanimous approval to staff initiatives with only limited debate. Gibson is unafraid of digging into the details, asking the tough questions, and participating in lively debate.
While the ultimate solution for the issues of escalating taxes and property insurance premiums may lie at the State level, it is incumbent on every taxing authority to examine its budget and provide relief for the taxpayer. Gibson is the right person at the right time to help Clearwater do that.