Upper Arlington News

City council race

Adams will draw on financial, business expertise

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Upper Arlington City Council incumbent John Adams said he hopes to be retained by voters this fall so he can continue to give back to his community and help the city resolve impending financial constraints.

Adams, 62, will seek his first four-year term on council Nov. 5 after being appointed to fill a vacancy in 2011.

He is one of five candidates -- along with fellow incumbents David DeCapua and Debbie Johnson and newcomers Carolyn Casper and Kip Greenhill -- vying for four council seats.

Greenhill, Johnson and DeCapua will be profiled in the Oct. 10 edition of ThisWeek Upper Arlington News.

Adams, a public finance group manager and banker for Fifth Third Securities Inc., said he wants to use his professional expertise to help address rising financial concerns for the city while continuing his service to his community of the past 32 years.

"Now, with our three sons successfully launched, it is time to give back to the community I have called home for so many years," Adams said. "My financial and business expertise is directly applicable to the needs of UA city government, and would be very helpful as our city faces some of its greatest financial challenges."

Adams has a bachelor's degree in physics and mathematics education from the University of Indianapolis, and he obtained a master's degree in public administration and a master's of business administration from Ohio State University. He also is a chartered financial analyst, a professional credential for finance and investment professionals offered by the CFA Institute.

He's been married to his wife, Blair, for 34 years, and the couple has three sons.

Adams said the biggest issue for Upper Arlington's future is how to fill about $4.5 million in annual revenue gaps, which the city expects to see following the elimination of the estate tax and continued state cuts to local government funding.

"Because of changes made at the state level, UA will face a structural budget imbalance beginning in 2015," he said. "Our current very strong financial position will erode very quickly unless we continue to take steps to bring the budget into balance.

"A direct result of the budget imbalance is that we are falling further and further behind in maintaining our infrastructure," he said. "This just passes the problem on to future residents and raises our overall costs."

If elected, Adams said, he will look to streamline the budget through "right-sizing" the city staff and seeking shared-services options with nearby communities, as well as other agencies.

"Our starting point for addressing these problems is to continue to look for ways to reduce costs without reducing the quality of services provided to our residents," he said. "We have made good progress in reducing employee head count through not filling some positions, and consolidating departments and functions.

"Our ongoing discussions about possibly combining 911 services with other suburban communities is a good example of a way to improve service and keep costs down. We cannot totally discount the possible need to look at our sources of revenue, but cost control is the starting point for solving our upcoming budget imbalance."

Additionally, Adams said he'll focus on investing in city streets and other infrastructure to reduce future costs to reconstruct or replace them.

"Our infrastructure maintenance program is well behind schedule," he said. "The only way to remedy this is to raise infrastructure to the same level of importance as other critical services like police and fire protection, parks and recreation and senior services.

"Continuing to defer infrastructure expenditures raises our overall costs and makes it harder to provide quality services now and in the future. Raising infrastructure repair as a priority will mean some hard choices, but we can no longer wait to make those choices."

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