"I felt like I was being told how things were and not asked," Jones said. "I intend to do it completely different It's something that needs to be done, and I've got the strength of character to do it."
The city budget
Amid projections that expenditures in the 2006-07 city budget will exceed revenue for the fifth year in a row, Burtner, 55, said his first priority if elected will be the city's finances.
"I think it's going to be important for the city commission to get good information on revenues, to have a good handle on the requests that are coming in, and I think that we are going to be called upon to make some very hard choices in 2007 and beyond," Burtner said.
The candidate said that everything is on the table when it comes to revising the budget, explaining that the city needs to review and evaluate all of the programs that receive funding.
For cutting costs, Burtner said officials can trim expenses based on the merits of each program or simply apply adjustments across the board. But he said both options are on the table.
"I also think it is going to be important for the City Commission to inform the public about where our financial situation is, where our revenues come from and the status of those revenues," Burtner said. He added that he hopes to begin a debate and dialogue within the city and with the public on how to spend taxpayers' money.
As far as taxes, Burtner said he hasn't ruled anything out, but he hopes that higher taxes would be a last resort.
"I do think that we need to create a dialogue with the public so that they understand that if we want to do the kinds of projects and programs and activities that we as a community would like to do, then there is a cost for it," he said.
Meanwhile, Jones, 27, cited projected shortfalls and projects running over budget, arguing that city finances are on the wrong path.
"They don't have anybody that is willing to manage the budget," he said, questioning whether officials check up on revenue receipts or follow up on line items.
"One of the things I would want to do is when the next budget cycle comes up, take a hard look at where every penny has been spent and see if it is justified," Jones said. "If it's not, we need to start trimming the budget and holding people accountable, even the people on the council who give the money out."
Jones indicated that the city must also take a critical look at current projects, noting that if projects are over budget, then maybe the city has too many.
The candidate expressed a desire to increase revenues through developing the north side of town, rather than raising taxes.
"I think taxes are always going to be the wrong answer because you are never going to be able to generate enough money through taxes alone," he said.
In terms of growth, Jones said he wants to fight for a clear, concrete understanding of what Winchester will become in the future. He also expressed support for businesses with long-term, community-oriented goals.
"I think that our growth is unplanned. I think it's uncoordinated. I think that its short-term goals and it doesn't benefit the community at-large," Jones said, referring to the current growth-management strategy.
The city should promote more diversity and businesses that open up cultural activities and experiences, Jones explained, noting that those types of business will generate revenue as well.
"I think our city should have it's thumb on top of (growth). We should have it nailed down. And I think that again, it goes back to the fact that we have no concrete vision," he said.
Jones also expressed concerns over proposals to locate new businesses on the northeast bypass, criticizing current growth patterns on the Bypass.
"We have hundreds of vacant buildings and yet we want people to build new ones," he said, criticizing the city for not promoting those spaces enough.
Jones added that he also supports residential developments with more green space, parks and sidewalks.