“Because I need to be left alone to do my job, the job for which I was elected,” Murray said. “The changes that I have proposed and the public has supported, there’s a lot to this.”
Murray said there are many projects she has been discussing with staff and with Portsmouth Solicitor Mike Jones.
“They are all things that need to be done, not only for efficiency in government but also to save a lot of money, to create an atmosphere in which business can develop, because it is the entrepreneur that makes cities like this go,” Murray said. “Ideas that we are working on to enhance our relationship with Shawnee State University. I need to get on with what I think I bring to the table, and why I ran for this position.”
Murray was asked if she sees a pattern that City Council will not seriously consider the merits of her proposals.
“It’s not being considered on its merits,” Murray said. “And Mike Jones, though, is trying to work with me to make them (City Council) understand that it has been — ‘OK, let’s get Jane Murray’ — now let’s do what is the right thing to do,” Murray said.
Murray said it makes no sense to bring her ideas up for discussion when they would languish for months in committees that don’t meet.
“I have environmental background. I have written environmental laws. I have been interested in this whole subject area for 25 or 30 years,” Murray said. “I’m working on a plan to bring solar arrays and to do a pilot project with the Sunrise Reservoir contain site. We have room for the solar arrays, we harvest the energy, and we operate the pump stations and so forth.
Murray said she has also talked about recycling the city’s trash at one regional facility where they have source separation to produce waste energy.
“Our landfill costs are about $25,000 per month for us to have Pike Sanitation haul our trash from our transfer station, which is down off of Broadway to Pike County to the landfill,” Murray said. “Besides that we don’t have curbside collections for recyclables and that is a little trickier for communities such as this, but people have shown that they want to recycle, and others can be brought along. If we do that we’re going to save our environment and save money.”
Murray said she also wants to work with officials at SSU to bring student housing downtown.
“We need people downtown for businesses to be vital. They have to have a certain mass of people,” Murray said. She also said Boneyfiddle Art Gallery has unique items that can’t be found in large stores.
“I’m buying a lot of Christmas presents there,” Murray said. “I’m trying to encourage our community to do the same.”
Murray said she has also talked about doing an infrastructure bond and using enterprise funds to pay the debt service on the bonds.
“So, instead of using $250,000 a year to pave streets, and that paves parts of three streets, let’s do $5 million street resurfacing. Let’s get them all fixed up, and then we maintain them,” Murray said. “That’s the only way we’re going to catch up with our infrastructure needs.”
Murray says those projects are what she brings to the table in helping the city move forward.
“I need this legislative body to step back from the politics to hear it on its merit, to discuss it on its merit,” Murray said. “I have no problem with honest discussion. But if everything is just a slingshot at me, that is just getting us nowhere,” Murray said.
She said the “beat up on Murray” routine is just a waste of everyone’s time.
“Here we are —December — we could have accomplished so much more this year,” Murray said. “It didn’t matter what I did or when I did it, they were already determined to get rid of me. But the public is saying no.”
Frank Lewis may be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 232, or firstname.lastname@example.org.