Name: Lenny Riccio
Occupation: Sales manager, Preferred One Communication; Middleton City Council president.
Education: Cal Poly San Luis Obispo 2006 graduate with a major in city and regional planning and a minor in philosophy
Political experience: Incumbent, Middleton City Council president; Canyon County Republican Youth Chair
Civic involvement: Community service with the Nampa Rescue Mission; constitution class lecturer in Middleton and Meridian; guest speaker at Middleton High School on Sept. 17, 2008, Constitution Day; playing trumpet at church services
Years living in Middleton: 4 years
Family: Wife, Mandy Riccio
Social media accounts: Facebook
1. What makes you a better choice for voters than your opponent(s)?
Im supported by: Councilman Rob Kiser, Shelly Kiser, Councilman Brad Spencer, Marianne Spencer, Councilwoman Carrie Huggins, Jack Huggins, School Board Trustee Marc Gunning, Barbara Gunning, Lane & Tammy Kofoed, Kassa and Joe Hartley, Paul and Janet Okamura, Shaun and Sherry Mills, Becky and Kevin Crofts, Kelly Rupp, Dale & Linda Burnett, Jeremy and Brandi Fielding, Jim Payne, Tracy and Tara Crane, Jay and Marilyn Gibbons, Alan Mills, Shane Rupp, Gary and Dee Schrecongost, Lee LaPrath, Patty & Pedro Miraz, Luke McManamon, Trevor and Lynsie Mills, Jed and Jami Wyatt, Michael McEvoy, and many others because I have kept my promises and delivered by: Never raising the property tax rate; promoting an entrepreneurial atmosphere; ending burdensome over regulation, fence permits; and unwavering supporter and author of government transparency and openness. In addition, I earned a bachelor degree in city planning with planning work experience, which gives me a unique insight on council in planning for city growth.
2. If elected, what are your top three priorities? How will you accomplish them? Please provide specifics.
Strengthen the economy. While government does not create jobs it can create a favorable regulatory and tax environment, which will promote an atmosphere of production and job creation in town.
Continuing promoting a pattern that reduces the historic property tax increase rate as it benefits all Middleton residents to have more money.
Increasing the quality of life in Middleton by increasing the level of service within city parks through renovation of bathrooms, adding electricity, and adding other amenities, while promoting a Middleton Connects plan which adds more walkable routes within town.
3. What is the one thing your city should start doing to encourage economic development and create jobs?
Maintaining a low tax rate and continue eliminating burdensome over regulation as this helps promote an atmosphere of production in Middleton. This in return creates new jobs, allows one to buy local, lowers commute times to jobs, lessens drive times to stores, provides infrastructure improvements, provides hook up fees for water and sewer services, and provides a larger tax base of which can lower the individual tax burden.
An example of this philosophy is reflected in the 2013-2014 budget as the Middleton Tax Revenue increased by about 5 percent while the property tax rate was not increased.
4. How do you envision your city 10 to 20 years from now? How should it change?
Middleton is an idyllic place to live due to the rural life style and affordable high quality of life.
Growth forecasts show that Middleton in 10 to 20 years will be double in population, but the city can continue to grow in a fashion that promotes the small town feel, and values that bring people to Middleton.
Middleton needs to continue moving forward with providing an atmosphere of entrepreneurship. Middleton is a smaller town and as a result it is not going to attract big box business that can absorb high taxes. Middleton is a city where small business, entrepreneurs, and mom-and-pop shops succeed and invest. Small business owners do not have excess capital, financing, to pay for high taxes and high start up fees. By maintaining an atmosphere of entrepreneurship this keeps new services closer to Middleton residents while lowering the individual tax burden, which promotes the high quality of life Middleton residents enjoy.
5. Are you concerned about public apathy and involvement in civic matters? How would you get more people involved?
I support the efforts the city has made in involving the public in the decision making process. This has been done through: the adoption of a government transparency resolution, asking for input from residences on city council agenda items, organizing eight neighborhood meetings, establishing a mayor youth advisory committee, monthly meetings with the mayor, two surveys to gauge public opinion on city improvements, and a monthly newsletter to report city business and provide greater transparency and openness.
Im an unwavering supporter and author of government transparency as I wrote the first ever fiscal transparency resolution that provided transparency in city expenditures to better inform Middleton residents. Through this effort I was awarded the Friend of Freedom Government Transparency Award from the Idaho Freedom Foundation.
6. What are the top two issues facing Middleton, and how should they be addressed?
Economy: Capital, time and money, are very important for a successful economy, businesses need it to be successful and when the private sector is successful that creates more tax revenue for the city, which lowers the individual tax burden.
Parks: Creating more places to play in Middleton. The city needs to continue increasing the level of service and amenities in city parks, which includes renovating the restrooms, adding electricity, creating more traditional parks, increasing path connections in town through the Middleton Connects Plan, and incorporate the planning for a future community center.
7. If tax revenues take an upswing in the next few years, which part of city government do you think most needs an infusion of cash, and why?
My first priority is lowering the tax burden on each individual Middleton resident through lowering the property tax rate. Second, I will continue moving forward with increasing the level of service and amenities in city parks.
8. If more budget tightening is needed, where would you look first for cuts? Why?
Middleton is well positioned should the economy turn down. Middleton City Council has approved a balanced budget that does not over extend revenues while aggressively paying down outstanding debt. Paying off outstanding debt promotes financial stability as the city has less revenue obligated towards interest payments and more money available to maintain city infrastructure.
Nonetheless, if reductions are needed those reductions can be made to services outside of maintaining water services, sewer services, storm water management and trash disposal.