Farmington City Council member Julie May has publicly announced she will not seek reelection this November.
May made her announcement during the closing portion of Monday's council meeting. She acknowledged that she still has five months on the council, and that she will continue to be a good steward for taxpayers in that time, but that her name would not be on the ballot this fall.
"It's been very frustrating to me at times," May said. "Perhaps a bit naïve in thinking that council has more of a role in working with staff and residents to think outside the box.
"I'm not discounting my fellow councilmembers or members of our staff, but how government operates and spends money is far different than in the private sector. The private sector takes much more immediate steps to make changes and cut spending, and that is certainly not the case in government, I found out these last few years," she said.
May urged council, staff and residents to remember that it is the taxpayers who pay the bills for city services. Citing bankrupt cities in California, May said she is concerned that Farmington may be headed the same direction if city leaders do not take a hard look at where money is being spent in the community.
"I thought I could be part of the solution, but it's difficult to even have a meaningful workshop dialog to bring up new ideas, and then to actually implement them? Well, it just doesn't seem to have happened a whole lot, in my opinion," she said.
May referred to a July 23 budget workshop where a comment about the budget for the Rambling River Center resulted in being "inundated" with phone calls and emails from angry senior citizens. No one, she said, proposed to eliminate the budget or close the center. Rather, May said she was asking questions that need to be asked.
"If we don't ask the question, the expenses will just go up every year and that's guaranteed," she said, adding that council has a responsibility to look at the city's organizational structure, and to talk about possibilities like whether some services need to be privatized.
"Perhaps a new dynamic on our council can get this new dialog going and get some creative ideas moving in a forward direction, and I hope I helped pave the way for others who will come after me," she said in closing.