Solvang City Council candidate Ryan Toussaint responded to requests to speak about his views on local issues. Here are his answers to questions from SYV Star staff presented to all the candidates. He is running for one of two open seats on the council and up against three other Solvang residents Karen Waite, Brian Baca and Hans Duus (incumbent). The November election will be held on November 8.
What are your qualifications for the position of City Council member:
Locally born and raised, I’ve owned and operated an IT business in the valley for the last 10 years. I love the people and hospitality of this small, yet mighty town.
My passion for business and technology started in high school. My studies at UCSB qualified me as a Microsoft Systems Engineer and I started my own business at age 19. I’ve been serving the people of this valley for a decade as most of my customers are small and medium size businesses.
I offer a new, innovative perspective to ongoing issues the council has been facing over the years. I’m committed to sound financial planning and accountability to avoid excess spending, using common sense and best business practices.
What do you consider to be the primary focus of your campaign?
Stabilize water rates by exploring partnership potential with water and sewer agencies.
Reduce Mission Drive congestion
Upgrading the library with a technology center
Reduce the daunting effect Solvang citizens encounter when dealing with city departments such as the building department and others.
I am answering the City Council’s call for new blood with fresh ideas and a new outlook.
Are there any budget categories in which you would like to see city spending increased, decreased or eliminated? How would you prioritize the city’s spending and why?
The weight of rising expenses is a heavy burden on all the citizens of Solvang. While the tourism is great, the City needs to continue to diversify its revenue streams.
The City needs to better balance the importance of those who come for a quick visit and an overnight good time, to those who invest their major savings in property and home within Solvang City.
I would focus more on making it just as comfortable and attractive for the home and property owners of Solvang City as what seems to be implied just for tourists.
If new resources were available, what one area of city services would you feel most need additional resources?
While tourism needs to be a priority, the city needs to examine revenues other than tourism and diversify more towards core businesses that could generate income outside the realm of knick-knacks and overnight stays. This will help increase revenues and spread cost to support, maintain and upgrade our current infrastructure without additional cost to the residents or businesses.