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Mark Evans is running for mayor

October 23, 2013
BERLIN With the municipal elections just around the corner, many seats are vacant. Mayor Paul Grenier filed for a third term, and former councilor, Mark Evans, who currently serves on the planning board, decided to be his lone opponent, to give the public a choice.

"One of the hallmarks of democracy is voting and having a choice," said Evans. "It generates interest and excitement."

Evans has a three-part platform as a focus in mind: Relaxing of regulations for private property owners, updated city ordinances, and reducing the tax rate.

One of the issues in the council regarding property owners this year involved allowing back yard chickens, and Evans was among a very few who supported lifting current restrictions. The current ordinance restricting chickens ended up remaining in effect.

"It would be nice to craft a fair ordinance and allow chickens in their yards. It would be a benefit to the community. We should support property owners' rights to use their own property as they see fit," he said. "I want to roll back some of the regulations."

Evans also stated that he believes some of the current ordinances and signs are outdated. "Signs are sitting around and ordinances exist that don't need to exist," Evans said. "For example, there are ordinances regulating loading zones for businesses that have been closed for 50 years. It's all about good government."

Evans' third part to his platform is to reduce the tax rate. "We need to work harder at finding ways to control spending. If we don't find ways to do that, property taxes will just keep going up. I don't want to increase property taxes for people who can't afford it," he insisted. He pointed out that Berlin is usually in the top three cities of the highest tax rates in the state. "I believe that a high tax rate works in opposition to prosperity in the city," he continued. He noted that he would try to balance out one-time spending in capital expenses and yearly spending in operating expenses. Regarding municipal spending, his big picture view is to make wise investments in capital expenditures. Another issue he addressed was the need to "lure" and "entice" small businesses to locate to Berlin. He stated that a high tax rate takes away from the goal to make the city appealing to small business owners. He did go on to say that he feels most departments have done admirable jobs cutting costs. "We need support measures that would consolidate administration functions," he said.

Evans also pointed out his view on North Country issues versus issues in the southern part of the state. "Our issues are completely different than down south. We have a declining population, a decaying infrastructure, and declining revenue. The state government creates a one-size-fits-all policy. We should take every opportunity to educate those institutions part of our unique set of challenges," he concluded.

The municipal election is on November 5. Evans has set up his Facebook page, Mark Evans for Mayor.

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