Lederman Releases Future City Initiative
Springfield City Council President Jesse Lederman, Candidate for Mayor of Springfield, has released a Future City Initiative highlighting common-sense reforms to local government alongside visionary goals for the City of Springfield under a Lederman administration.
“The history of our city is one of innovation and progress, and it’s time we lived up to that legacy,” said City Council President Jesse Lederman, Candidate for Mayor of Springfield, “With a fresh perspective we can take on our city’s greatest challenges, become a model for communities across the commonwealth and the nation, and build a local government that meets the needs of all our neighborhoods.”
“It is time for Springfield City Hall to do more than just collect taxes – we need proactive leadership to build a city that is ready for the future,” said Lederman.
The pillars of Lederman’s Future City Initiative include the following proposals:
1. Establishing the Municipal Bank of Springfield
A public bank is a bank owned by a city, regional, or state government that serves as a depository for public funds, and is operated by skilled and professional bankers with public oversight, accountability, and transparency for the benefit of the public and the local economy.
In his first one hundred days as Mayor, Jesse will commission a feasibility study to explore the benefits and the steps necessary to charter a public bank owned by the residents of Springfield to put our city’s tax dollars to work for the people: The Municipal Bank of Springfield.
One of a growing number of public banking proposals in the nation, establishing a public bank in Springfield could create an unprecedented opportunity to partner with existing local financial institutions to extend more affordable loans with lower interest rates to support homeownership, facilitate community-led and neighborhood based business development, finance municipal infrastructure projects, provide banking services to historically underbanked communities, and keep our tax-dollars local while making them go further.
A public bank would not compete with local retail banks and credit unions, but instead work with existing local financial institutions in pursuit of its mission, and return revenues to the municipal budget.
The study would also explore how the City of Springfield could benefit from the establishment of a public bank at the state level, for which a bill is currently pending in the state legislature.
2. Building a Municipal Fiber Internet Network
54% of Springfield residents lack access to high-speed, reliable Internet. Meanwhile neighboring communities have already built their own networks, increasing speed, reliability, and affordability. It’s time to end the monopoly on Internet access for Springfield residents and businesses.
As Mayor, Jesse will build upon his past efforts that have laid the groundwork for municipal fiber. Working closely with Springfield’s state and federal legislative delegations, Jesse will pursue funding to establish Springfield’s own Municipal Fiber Internet Network and provide a new option for high-speed, reliable, and affordable Internet access to Springfield residents and businesses as a public utility.
3. Shifting City Operations to Better Serve Residents & Neighborhoods
As Mayor, Jesse will modernize and improve the 311 Service Call Center to allow individual constituent requests to be tracked in real-time and across departments from start to finish to ensure resident’s issues are resolved efficiently the first time they call City Hall.
During peak municipal collections seasons Jesse will open Satellite Constituent Service Centers throughout the city’s neighborhoods in existing municipal buildings to make it more convenient and accessible for Springfield residents to pay their bills and get their questions answered, and will locate a permanent satellite office in a centrally located area with free parking year-round.
For those paying their bills online, an auto-pay feature will be developed that residents may choose to opt in to in order to ensure bills are paid on time and to help residents avoid late fees and interest.
Jesse will move more city forms online, allowing city residents to request various services directly through the city website instead of having to fill out and submit paper forms.
Jesse will also implement permanent, short-term free parking in the City Hall Parking Lot for residents to use when engaging with municipal departments.
4. Implementing the Hub & COR Public Safety Initiative
Hub & COR is an innovative and internationally recognized model of public safety collaboration between local police, community organizations, and human service agencies that seeks to connect at-risk individuals with existing services in the community.
The Hub & COR model strategically convenes community partners to provide individual attention and follow up to those in need from the organization most qualified to assist based on the situation, providing competent intervention and care to support community members facing challenges including drug and opioid addiction, chronic homelessness, and mental health challenges.
Jesse worked to make Hub & COR a reality in his very first term on the City Council, but currently the program has stalled. As Mayor, Jesse will re-commit and re-implement the practices and tenets of the program and ensure its coordination is properly staffed and funded.
5. Increasing Community Engagement with Participatory Budgeting
In 2019 Council President Lederman led the effort to set aside and preserve 33% of the local tax revenue generated by newly opened cannabis dispensaries for neighborhood quality of life, housing, infrastructure, job training and education in communities historically impacted by the illegal sale of drugs and neighborhoods located near cannabis dispensaries.
With over $1 million now eligible for allocation, it’s time for the community to decide how it should be best spent.
Participatory Budgeting will allow the community to petition and vote directly on how to best spend these public funds during local elections. By directly engaging voters in how the city spends these funds we can increase community engagement, participation, ownership, and voter turnout while simultaneously allocating funds to improve our communities as a whole.