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NAME: Scott Marshall Caserta
CANDIDATE FOR: Huntington Mayor
CAMPAIGN WEBSITE: https://www.facebook.com/scott.caserta
HOME CITY: Huntington
HOME COUNTY: Cabell
EDUCATION: Graduated Barboursville High School, 1982; attended Marshall University.
CURRENT OFFICE OR OCCUPATION: Special Metals (INCO) 25 years-Carpenter Shop-Current Leadman.
OTHER WORK HISTORY: Huntington City Council 12yrs Elected in 2004, 2008 and 2012; Elected Chairman of City Council by its members in 2007 & 2015. CCERC-911 Dispatcher -WV State Police Dispatcher. -Teacher/Counselor & Educational Services Coordinator at Pressley Ridge Schools - Behavior Management Specialist at Russell L. Daugherty Center. United States Air Force (Honorable Discharge).
CIVIC ORGANIZATIONS: Board of Directors-Children's Place Huntington, WV; CPR/SFA Instructor American Red Cross; CPR Instructor-American Heart Association; NR-E.M.T. Emergency Medical Tech; Industrial Firefighter/HAZMAT Tech-Confined Space Rescue; Member of Christ Temple Church on Johnstown Rd, Huntington, WV.
FAMILY: wife, Cindi (23 years); daughter, Hannah Marie Lynn.
PERSONAL STATEMENT: We can turn this City around with cooperation, dedication and tenacity. We must make our City safe again with good paying jobs and a strong infrastructure. We need to develop the riverfront to provide an experience not offered anywhere else in WV. I want to increase development in both the West End and Guyandotte. I have plans to alleviate the flooding issues, increase safety, and put residents back to work. As your Mayor, “you” are priority. Let’s work together to bring back safety, prosperity, and restore Huntington to what we all remember. It’s time to bring our families home again.
1. What are your suggestions for the long-term financing of Huntington's government?
I believe oversight is key to accountability. Our budget is not the problem, mismanagement is the problem. There has been too much focus on growing government finances instead of what benefits citizens. Increasing tax burdens to fund government finances does not grow the local economy. As Mayor, I will budget appropriately and use revenue as promised and required by law.
2. What are the most important problems in your district (or city for mayor and at-large council candidates)?
Our goal must be the safety of our neighborhoods and residents. We must address the growing number of unregulated sober living homes. Our city continues to ignore the growing population of homeless and transient addicts even as they occupy vacant property causing damage and creating fear for the neighbors. Flooding issues continue devastating neighborhoods as the taxes and fees rise.
3. Should the city bring back a curbside recycling program? If so, should it be funded with a levy vote or by expanding the county's program?
Though I support the concept, options for funding a recycling program would only need discussed if it is shown to be a program the residents would want. Regardless of funding avenues, if the taxpayers are expected to pay the bill, they should have a right to vote on it.
4. What more needs to be done to encourage new housing construction in the city?
Families want to build in desirable areas that will sustain or increase their property value. These areas for development are dwindling throughout the city as dilapidated properties increase in numbers. We need to review our permitting processes to be more user friendly. The experience must be streamlined to provide families a smooth transition from paper to build.
5. How would you continue to fight the opioid epidemic? Do you support the harm reduction program?
The program lacked oversight and accountability. It’s been a needle give away, not exchange. Agencies should work together to create clinically based programs that provide transition from the street to rehab to success. With skills training and guidance the clients can again become productive members of society. If the program is to exist, it can’t be detrimental to community safety
6. What more could be done to help tear down dilapidated houses?
We must have a revitalization plan that is based on quick implementation for immediate results that includes every neighborhood. We must review codes and fees that slow progress for rehabbing existing properties. We should not outsource work while our residents remain unemployed. We can provide good paying jobs for our families here in our hometown. Let’s place Huntington first!
7. How will you address Huntington’s dwindling population?
Our priority must be to make our city safe, affordable and attractive. Huntington was founded as a “River and Rail” town. The railroad has all but left and the riverfront still lacks development. As other cities have done, we can turn our Riverfront area into a prosperous, booming development and once again have bustling streets and vibrant neighborhoods.
8. How will you continue to encourage the decrease in crime throughout the city?
As your Mayor, I will partner with the residents, the Neighborhood Organizations and City Council members to address specific needs known by them in the areas where they live and represent. I will partner with our police officers to be sure they have the tools, manpower and training to remain effective and efficient. Laws must be enforced consistently and fairly.
9. Do you think staffing levels for the city’s police and fire departments are adequate, too low or too high? If you think changes are needed, how would you accomplish those?
Staffing remains dangerously low as the current administration cut both departments with untimely layoffs in 2017. The positions have been budgeted, it’s only a matter of priority and as Mayor it will be my priority to fully staff and equip both HPD and HFD.
10. The state of WV government recently put all finances and purchases online for the public’s review. Do you support a similar thing happening in Huntington?
I support complete transparency!!The residents of Huntington deserve to know where & how their money is being spent. I would encourage an “open book” policy above and beyond the online program. The bottom line is we must elect honest, trustworthy leadership who will manage the public’s money behind “open” doors.
NEW GENERAL QUESTIONS
11. How would you address the problem of loose trash and litter in the city?
We must be responsive to the needs of our community by using and expanding our Public Works Division efficiently and effectively. This will also enhance our local economy providing jobs for our families. Huntington has been blessed with proactive neighborhood organizations who routinely volunteer to help keep our city clean. I look forward to partnering with them.
12. Do you support rehabilitation housing in the city? Why or why not?
We should reach out to residents in a time of need with clear goals and expectations. As Mayor, I will partner with Council members to review facilities, ordinances and codes to assure oversight and accountability is addressed. I would ensure financial resources are dedicated to the recovery of our residents. We can’t be the country’s solution for the addicted.
13. What more could be done to encourage businesses to open in the city?
Flooding issues along with street and property crimes must be addressed. Our taxes and fees have been raised by alarming rates while services provided have declined. I will make sure your tax dollars work for you, not City Hall. We must change the perception of Huntington and work hard to promote our Riverfront, our beautiful West End and Historical Guyandotte.
14. What more could be done to promote an inclusive environment as part of the city’s “Open to All” campaign?
Huntington residents and businesses over the decades have made great strides to welcome visitors, residents and workers of all walks of life. This is nothing new to our city. We can all strive to do better while maintaining our heritage of Faith, Family and Freedom.