Editor's note: Patch reached out to Canton City Councilman-elect John Rust as he prepares to be sworn into office next week.
Rust will replace outgoing City Councilman John Beresford, who decided not to seek re-election to a second term.
Rust discussed what challenges he believes Canton faces and his ideas to help solve some of the city's longstanding issues.
1. Now that the election is over, how have you been preparing for your new role?
I have been preparing for 4½ years, so I expect a seamless transition.
2. What are some goals you'd like to see the city and the city council achieve?
I want to see an improved fire service delivery systems put in place, a 10-year street improvement program implemented, a 10-year water and sanitation upgrade/improvement in place, reduce the cost of Canton's government services, increase tax revenues from new businesses and quality development, reduced stormwater rates, park management program in place, city charter repaired and reduced garbage rates for all residents.
3. What are your thoughts on what could be done to bring in more businesses and activity into downtown Canton?
Reduction in the difficulty and barriers to opening a business in Canton and create an ombudsman to assist in the process. The goal will be to interview new business owners one year after opening and have a response of the "best business experience ever." They will tell their business owner friends.
4. What efforts do you think should be taken to enhance public safety — police as well as fire — in the city?
Canton has both excellent fire and police departments. However the Fire Department needs 1-2 new fire stations and the Police Department needs to continue to replace old vehicles.
5. What are your thoughts on how the city should tackle its debt? Would you be in favor of a millage rate and/or water/sewer rate increase to help mitigate the debt?
The payoff of the existing debt will be taken care of over the next 10 to 20 years. I would be in favor of additional debt for infrastructure and street improvements. The additional debt will be at historically low interest rates and hopefully existing debt could also be refinanced to reduce the total annual net tax burden. I am in favor of a millage rate reduction.
6. What do you think are some of the biggest obstacles the city and the city council face as a whole?
None that cannot be handled by a City Council team.
7. What should Canton residents expect from your tenure on the council?
Progress, peace, civility and maximum bang for the taxpayer’s buck.