Southeast Ward/Chapman Name: Jere L. Chapman
Education: Norfolk, NE High School / two years college Norfolk Junior College.
Occupation: Self employed restaurateur, Silver Dollar Restaurant, Vermillion Cherry Street Grille, Texas Casino, Silver Dollar Restaurant, Beresford.
How long have you lived in Vermillion? Moved to Vermillion in January 1982.
Why are you interested in serving on the Vermillion City Council?
I was appointed to the council for one year after Roger Kozak from my ward was appointed to be mayor after the passing of former Mayor Radigan. It takes at least a year of council meetings to come up to speed on the outstanding issues. I would like to continue to serve the citizens of Vermillion to finish a project that we have discussed a lot which is Chestnut Street paving. I believe my extensive experience in owning and operating several businesses for over 25 years gives me an insight to efficiently spend our hard earned tax dollars. I am quite concerned with
the growth of Vermillion yet maintaining the quality of life we enjoy here which originally attracted us 20 years ago to move here and raise our family.
Please list what you believe should be short term and long term goals of Vermillion city government.
Short term goals:
1) Hire the right city manager, one who will take us forward and be receptive to all citizens of Vermillion.
With the resignation of our city manager we have a unique opportunity to hire an individual who can lead us to the next level and also have the proper people skills to change all city departments to be more user friendly.
2) Continue our current trend to ensure that we have timely input from as many citizens as we can. As I watched past city council meetings it seemed that the citizens of Vermillion always got involved when it usually was too late to do much about the decision already made. I have and will continue to ensure that as many affected citizens are contacted and that they have the opportunity to have their voices heard during the decision making process not after the fact.
3) Resolve the Chestnut Street paving project. This item I believe needs no further explanation. The current council inherited this issue and spent almost a year on it again; it is time we proceed to find a compromise and get that street paved as soon as possible.
4) Rewrite city codes to clean up and eliminate run down properties. We have too weak of codes on the books at the present time to really be effective in trying to force properties owners to clean up their properties especially rentals in Vermillion, only if the properties are unsafe or unhealthy can we do something about them. We need to completely rewrite several codes to help city staff do a better job of cleaning up Vermillion.
5) Check into the possibility of converting the private gas utility to a city owned utility. In the next several months the gas utility lease with the city is up and needs to be negotiated, if the city could get in to the gas business like we are in the electric business (which by the way contributes several hundred thousands of dollars to be used to fund city government) and make a profit by doing so this would be a good thing for all the citizens of Vermillion as in the future it will keep our taxes down.
Long term goals:
1) Create a community that is receptive to new business to increase our labor force and population base. Our city government and the policies we have can have a direct impact on how new business considering moving to Vermillion perceive our town. We need to make it so attractive that every new business that looks at Vermillion has no choice but to choose us over all other towns.
2) Implement a downtown revitalization program. We are not keeping up with many other communities across our region. Our downtown must become more viable and we need to figure what we can do to attract the right kind of businesses to this part of Vermillion. We need to spend some money to improve the appearance of our downtown.
3) Elimination of as many outdated trailer courts as possible. Several years ago we probably needed this form of housing for lower income families and USD students, however, now some of our trailer courts have outlived their usefulness and need to be eliminated. The remaining ones
need to improve their image.
4) Complete makeover of the image of the city to a lot of outsiders. If you live in Vermillion you probably are satisfied the way you see things, however, I visit with a lot of people who are not residents of Vermillion and some of them are quite critical of our appearance, business climate and attitude.
It's interesting to note that a lot of what I hear is really only a perception and not reality, but remember perception is sometimes more important than reality. We need to change this perception which exists outside our community.