Kathy Hart's Platform
As a Council Member, I attended numerous Missouri Municipal League and St. Louis County Municipal League conferences. Learning from these conferences and working with municipal officials across the state gave me a broad perspective about the community and about municipal governance.
Along with my experience on the Webster Groves City Council, I have decades of service on the Board of Governors of the Bar Association of Metropolitan St. Louis, the Missouri Bar Association, and Nerinx Hall High School. I co-founded and chaired numerous charitable projects and organizations.
All of this work enhanced my ability to work cooperatively with my colleagues and leadership teams to manage our organizations and provide the needed service to our members and citizens. Difficult conversations and decisions will need to be made so that we can maintain the high level of services Webster Groves citizens have become accustomed to and deserve. Maintaining a well trained police force and fire department while maintaining experienced city staff is crucial. Our School District is critical to our community. The City Council and Webster Groves School Board should have regular meetings to discuss mutually beneficial policies to ensure our School District is well-funded to support our children. I have experience balancing the needs of our organization, our employees, and our citizens while creating a fiscally stable environment.
We face unprecedented budget deficits in Webster Groves. The City Council plans to continue multi-million dollar deficits for the future. We need a Mayor and Council with experience and understanding of the budget. During my tenure on the City Council, we ended each year with a budget surplus. By living within our means, saving money, and ending each year with a surplus, we created a fiscally stable environment with strong operating reserves. We followed a five-year capital improvement plan to save money for capital expenditures. We increased our credit rating, allowing us to save money when borrowing for large capital expenditures.
I am running for Mayor because my experience and leadership will restore stability in our budgeting and fiscal decisions, in our staffing, and in the reputation that has made Webster Groves such a desirable community where people are proud to live and have enjoyed professional, quality municipal services.
COMMON SENSE DEVELOPMENT
Webster Groves is not just another suburb. It is a community full of talented, dedicated residents who make it a uniquely wonderful place to live. Our neighbors are artists, educators, restaurateurs, creators, and each one contributes to the colorful patchwork quilt of who we are.
Recent events have shown our citizens want to have a voice in shaping future developments in our city. The City needs to do a better job of facilitating community forums to give everyone the opportunity to have input so we can ensure future projects reflect the interests of our community.
I have experience conducting forums and listening to our citizens. I have reviewed countless development proposals and site plans. I facilitated public forums to create the Development Foundation Plan and plans to upgrade many of our parks. The Sisters of Loretto asked me to join the Board of Directors at Nerinx because of my experience with planning and development. We recently completed a multi-year process of engaging our Nerinx community for input and assistance in creating a Campus Master Plan.
I support responsible development. Change is inevitable, and we can work together to insure future development projects reflect the character of our community.
HOUSING THAT WORKS
We have heard much discussion about housing over the last few years. The rich and varied opportunities Webster Groves offers to residents has resulted in an increase in property values. What is a boon for many homeowners is a real problem for many potential buyers. Affordable housing for older residents and for the young professionals who are the future of the community is an ongoing conversation that must be addressed.
I led the efforts to protect our more affordable neighborhoods and repeal the Council’s ordinance amending the zoning of A4 single-family residential districts. The amendments allowed duplexes throughout 69% of our town. The majority of our affordable homes are in the A4 district. I live in the A4 district. The City said developers were watching what happened with this ordinance. I believe the amendments would have resulted in a net loss to the city of affordable housing and would have permanently changed the character of many of our neighborhoods. There is a place for duplexes in our community, but it is not in the middle of our single-family neighborhoods.
We also need to address problems with vacant houses in the community. I have experience raising the funds and organizing the volunteers to build a house for a single mother and her family through Habitat for Humanity. I will pursue partnerships with similar organizations who have the expertise to provide affordable homes. I believe the generous citizens of Webster Groves would volunteer to help in this effort.
I am dedicated to listening to all sides of these discussions, forming partnerships with organizations to improve our vacant houses, and finding solutions to continue to make Webster Groves a thriving, diverse community.
CARING FOR OUR SENIORS
Caring for seniors is a growing concern, and unfortunately, there is no real comprehensive guide for how to best address the many issues our seniors face. From accessibility to aging in place and social services, Webster Groves needs to do more to develop the resources to help our elderly residents and their families navigate the challenges. I will work with the planning and development department to create tools and suggestions to assist families in making building additions or home modifications for aging loved ones. I have experience with this. I recently completed renovations to my home so my aging parents could live with me. Our families should be able to choose Webster Groves as a place to age together. I have a multi-generational vision and will work to make Webster Groves a welcoming and accessible city for everyone.