Igniting the Spirit of Change!
For the past six years, I've walked our neighborhoods visiting many of our citizens and listening to what they've had to say. During that period, I've faithfully attended city council meetings and watched how the affairs of our city have been decided. I've observed our progress as a community dealing with the various problems we've had to face. From this, it's become clear to me that while we've accomplished some things over the past five years, the simple truth is we can do better!

My pledge to the citizens of our city is to not only work harder, but to work smarter —to ignite the spirit of change in our community we need to make Franklin a vibrant, exciting place to live, work, and raise our children.

To accomplish this takes three things: a vision, a plan, and the passion to carry it out. Now you know my vision and my plan is outlined below. I invite you to experience my passion with your vote on November eighth!
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Douglas Greathouse
Candidate for City Council
July 4, 2015

Unquestionably our city is poised for phenomenal economic development over the decade ahead. A quick look at the expansion of I-75 to eight lanes and ramp improvements combined with new business develpment on Second Street are an open invitation to attracting new business--and jobs--to Franklin. In fact, recent projections by MVRPC suggest that our area will be looking at over 67% growth over the next thirty years. But our downtown remains a huge disappointment. We've leveled many of the buildings and jazzed up the streetscape but what we haven't done is attract new business. To the contrary, we've seen most of our downtown business community flee. The downtown area is the heart of any city, it needs to be vibrant and alive. Yet ours is nothing but a sea of lost opportunity. We can do better. No, we have to do better. I have a plan to revitalize downtown through business incubation focusing on attracting micro-business. This approach has been very successful in other communities and is presently being implemented in Middletown. I've also explored the feasibility of contracting with an economic development consutant with a proven track record to work outside of the city to promote Franklin as a potential business destination. Additionally, I would like to look into creating a staff position to address economic development in our community and focus on getting the message out that Franklin is open for business. In my conversations with county and state officials, I believe they would welcome this outreach and will work with us to bring new business here.


I believe that over the next four years, the economy will recover sufficiently that the additional half percent income tax increase can be rolled back provided we remain fiscally prudent and restrain unneccessary growth of city government. There is strong evidence that lower tax rates tend to attract new investment into a community and conversely higher rates encourage businesses to relocate to other, more favorable, communities. Frankly, the notion that we haven't had a tax hike in so many years is absurd. You raise revenues by growing your tax base, not by bleeding it.


The key to success over the long term is prudent money management. Easy to say--hard to do. Local governments have always struggled to balance growing demands (what the public wants) against limited resources (what we have to pay for it). The city must be an exceptionally good steward of public money, ensure that our citizens are getting true value for every dime spent, and ensure we are spending for the right things.


One of the biggest complaints I've heard repeatedly as I visit in the neighborhoods concerns excessive noise from two venues. Little has been done to address this and a workable solution is long overdue. These aren't that tough to address but you have to have the willingness to do it. In both cases, it isn't necessary to use high sound volumes to satisfy patrons.  "The if you can't play good, play loud" approach went out decades ago.


Unkempt yards and proliferating refuse continues to affect some of our neighborhoods. Clearly we need to address this problem as a priority, but we need to do so in a kinder, gentler way. Heavy handed enforcement shouldn't be used except as the last resort because its the right way to do it—not because it's easier for city workers and most certainly not as a "revenue enhancement" tool. Disposal of some types of refuse remains troublesome, so we need to make sure we have a suitable solution that actually works. Finally, we need to be willing to work with those who are cooperative in spirit but need some help perhaps due to illness, disability, or age.


We have a good fantastic! park system; we need to keep it looking great and safe for our children and promote quality family fun and healthy outdoor activities for all. Our park crew does an extraordinary job providing everyone with these great facilities. Several opportunities we could explore include expanding hard surface parking and looking into additional outdoor lighting. Suggestions have been made to creating designated dog walking areas or even a dog park. I've  also heard there is interest in establishing a skateboard area with ramps. As park usage continues to grow these are rapidly growing out of the like-to-have and into the need-to-have category.


Job one of any city is to assure its citizens they have the best police, fire protection, and emergency services available—if we don't have that, we have nothing. Nothing is more important than ensuring the safety of our citizens. Moreover, effective and efficient public safety is critical to economic develoment.


Being a police officer is a dangerous occupation and every dispatch potentially puts him or her at risk of harm—or even death. It's a lot to ask of these brave people who daily put their lives on the line for all of us. It's critical that we ensure our policemen have the manpower, training, and equipment to do their jobs safely and effectively. I'd like to see a real effort to expand and promote true community policing and work harder to clean up the problems that have arisen over the years especially with growing complaints about illegal drug traffiking and related theft crimes.


A well trained, well equipped professional fire department is crucial for a city of our size. I fully support our team of firefighters and will fight to keep our department at full tactical strength. Our first rate department has earned every property owner in the city tremendous value on our fire insurance premiums and that's something we surely don't want to lose! Clearly, the department's performance with the Bistro fire just a few years ago showcases just how great a team we have.


Frankly, after decades of JEMS service, the city outgrew it's capabilities and it became more cost effective for us to follow the trend in other cities to provide fire based EMS service. Initially I was skeptical of the idea, but after spending many hours in discussion along with my independent research I came to support the concept and joined the campaign to bring it to fruition. What we've learned in our first year of operation is that response time is now an amazing *four* minutes to any door in the city and even with the new tax millage, our cost for EMS service is now less than had we stayed with the JEMS approach. Moreover, leaving JEMS didn't result in it's demise and it is continuing to offer the same services it always did to Carlisle and Township residents.


A vital community resource that's a critical component in the economic development formula is our commitment to superior schools. Yet, our ability to deliver on this commitment is threatened by cuts in the State budget. Attracting new business to the city can help expand the school district's tax base to replace lost state funding. When we do this, we need to be especially carefull in granting tax abatements and should work closely with our school board to ensure both short and long term objectives are met. As a professional educator, I know that now, more than ever, we need to support the great work our hard working teachers do for our children every day. Although we don't normally think about it, many decisions of city council bear directly on our local schools, and as your councilman, I will work to ensure these decisions help rather than hinder our pursuit of quality education for our kids.


The best way to instill public confidence in the work of council is to ensure public participation in the decision making process. When people are engaged and involved, they develop a strong sense of ownership in the decision and its outcome. Many feel that far too much of the decision making process occurs behind closed doors and decisions are "done deals" by the time council goes into session. While it's true that certain matters are legally mandated to be discussed privately, I'll work to keep those that aren't out of the back room.


I've had the opportunity to meet with community, county and state officials throughout the area to discuss ways we can work together and explore  options available to help us get the best value for our hard earned money.  As your councilman, I'll work to ensure no opportunity is missed and make sure we always have a seat at the table.


It appears that extending Walnut Street only 1000 feet to the northeast could completely resolve the issue of semi truck traffic through residential west Franklin. In addition it would open considerable acreage to job creating commercial use. Such a project requires intergovernmental cooperation along with public/private partnerships. Hard work, but could be very worthwhile to the community.

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