Steve Onos pledges to focus on the economy and taxes, if elected to the South Portland City Council.

Onos is running against Patti Smith for the District 2 seat that is held by Councilor Kay Loring, who is not seeking re-election.

Onos is a 43-year-old banker who works at JP Morgan Chase. He holds a business degree from the University of Southern Maine.

The economy, tax rate and keeping spending in check are top issues for Onos.

“The global credit crisis could have a major impact on our local economy,” he said. “We need to keep the tax rate affordable (for) the average citizen… and balance spending… We need to make tough choices on both the school and city side on how we spend to keep our tax rates low.”

Onos’ background includes serving on the South Portland School Board. “I believe that I could combine my skills in banking and finance with my six years on the School Board to make a very effective leader,” he said.

Onos was involved in the last two teacher contract negotiations on behalf of the city.

“I have a proven track record of strong negotiation skills, accessibility, and making informed, independent decisions,” he said.

Onos was motivated to run for office in part by frustration as a resident and taxpayer. “Councils have become reactive instead of proactive, and that has led to some poor decisions,” he said.

He opposes renovating the armory for city offices, an idea that leaders have considered since buying the building in 2006. “The site is surrounded by traffic and would make a poor location for City Hall,” he said.

Onos supports renovating South Portland High School. Voters spoke loud and clear when they defeated a $56 million borrowing plan in 2007 for rebuilding the school, he said.

“The building committee needs to get a revised plan together that can be phased in over time that has a lower price tag,” he said.

Onos notes that the project needs to be approved soon, because the school’s accreditation may be at stake. “Time is of the essence,” he said.

South Portland City Council – Steve Onos – ‘We need to make tough choices’

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.