The Sound’s 2015 Rochester City Council Voter’s Guide: Caroline McCarley

Caroline McCarley

Caroline McCarley

For Mayor: Caroline McCarley
Occupation: Publisher, Wiley Publishing
Prior public service: 17 years on Rochester School Board, 11 as chair; six years as state senator for District 6 (Rochester, Somersworth, Barrington, Nottingham), 1997-2002

If elected, what would be your top priority for the city?
I want to ensure that Rochester is seen as a vibrant city with lots to offer businesses and individuals/families who want to live here, raise their families, and grow their businesses.

What can be done to promote more economic development in Rochester?
We must continue to improve the image of Rochester as a great place to live, work, and raise a family. The mayor and the city council must always present the best face of Rochester to the community at large. We must insist that our city departments always put the customer first, be that a new business considering moving here or an unhappy homeowner.

Has the tax cap been beneficial to Rochester, or has it inhibited the city’s ability to get things done?
The tax cap has required that our elected officials plan better and prioritize within the limits set by the tax cap. It has made volatile tax increases a thing of the past and guarantees more planning. That is good for economic development and for homeowners.

Do you think the city should set aside a capital reserve fund to repair/expand its school buildings?
I think this is a good example of elected officials trying to plan for the long-term development of its capital building plans. While it will require hard choices for the school board, I think it is in the long-term best interests of the city and the schools to have such a fund.

What can be done to revitalize the downtown and promote a more vibrant arts scene?
Efforts are already underway to give more energy to the downtown. The Main Street program has been a major contributor to downtown revitalization, and new restaurants and the redevelopment of the Rochester castle are clear indicators that arts and dining are flourishing in Rochester.

What is the most important issue facing Rochester that city officials are not yet talking about?
While the council has been addressing this issue, the concern over the drafting of the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System permit is an ongoing concern that we must monitor. Rochester has done a good job of decreasing the discharge of nitrogen to the Great Bay, but we have to make sure that we meet the demands of the EPA to ensure that they do not issue the draft permit at a standard that we may not be able to meet except at great costs to the city. A great deal of reporting is due to EPA and NHDES on a monthly and quarterly basis, and it is critical that we stay on top of this issue.