LIMA — Six months into their first term, Lima City Councilors Carla Thompson, Jamie Dixon and Jon Neeper have had time to learn the job, and now, they are looking to continue to pursue the initiatives they’ve mentioned on the campaign trail.
Gaining a unique view inside city government, all three councilors have had to tweak some of their expectations of how to work with the city. Thompson and Dixon both mentioned understanding how agendas and personal politics plays into understanding the “why?” behind certain actions.
And then there’s the speed. Dixon said that with the election of younger individuals onto council, he had thought council would move a little quicker.
“I was thinking we could do things faster with a youth mentality,” Dixon said. “I’ve learned it does takes those moments of dragging our feet for the whole thing to be exposed.”
Neeper also mentioned how the number of moving parts can make it difficult to do things in a timely fashion.
But that hasn’t given the three new councilors any doubt in being able to to accomplish what they promised on the campaign trail. All three are considering the next steps.
Thompson said in the last six months, she has helped bring some energy to some of Lima’s neighborhood associations, and in July, she is beginning talks with renters, property owners and other individuals involved in putting together the necessary policy to create a landlord registry that community members and city officials alike can use.
“I’m the only person in city government that still wants the landlord registry. I don’t mind that it’s going to be a challenge,” Thompson said. “We have to look at it realistically. … I’ve been telling people it’s going to happen.”
And after dealing with registry, Thompson wants to spearhead a true youth initiative that considers creating programming for teenagers.
“Junior high tends to be the wasteland. I would like to see more programming or better communication with the public about what’s available for the middle schoolers and high schoolers,” Thompson said.
Dixon said many of the issues he has considered before the election — such as quality of life improvements and education for elders and youth — continue to be his priorities.
Dixon pointed out his no-vote on a resolution spending Community Development Block Grant funds on the demolition of a collapsed building instead of quality of life improvements for low- to middle-income areas as well as his stance on what he calls unfair treatment for the business in charge of Beantown Saloon in comparison to the owner of North Side Firehouse regarding liquor license permit renewals. In the end, liquor permit renewal objections were waived by the city council for both parties.
Dixon, as a safety services committee member, is also helping investigate potential abuses by the Lima Police Department. Dixon is currently working with the city to quantify if officers have biases in how they treat Lima residents.
Neeper, who mentioned crime and drugs issues during the election, said those issues are still major problems for the city, and he will continue to push for a third party to investigate any potential police abuse in order to deal with the mistrust between officers and residents. An outside objective party would be better trusted to deal with presenting the facts of each incident, he said.
Neeper also mentioned he would like to see the city push the body camera imitative more heavily as footage from body cameras would also be a major source of objective data that groups such as the NAACP and Black Ministerial Association can review when allegations are made.
“We need to get everyone on the same page,” Neeper said.
Reach Josh Ellerbrock at 567-242-0398.