Last month, Mayor William Lantigua raised property taxes by 2.5 percent in his proposed $237.2 million budget for the new fiscal year. The proposal meant 31 firefighters who would have been laid off when the grant that paid for their salaries ran out in August, would stay on the payroll through June 30, 2014.
“I’m not totally for it, but you have to see the pros and cons and make the best decision,” Pina said. “Unfortunately it’s a measure a city has to make to keep public safety going.”
Pina said it is also important to educate residents on why taxes are being raised.
“In the short run, it may not be the best results, but you have to see the bigger picture. You have to analyze what the benefits will be and make a decision as a group and what is best for the city,” she said.
Pina would like to see more businesses coming to Lawrence.
“Having more businesses would be vital to the city, not just because it employs local people, it generates revenue and helps the economy,” she said.
Pina said it’s important to help small business owners.
“They are the backbone of the city because it shows it’s making progress and becoming stable. That’s what we want in Lawrence, not just because no one has to leave the city to work, but the revenue stays here,” she said.
Pina was born and raised in Venezuela of Dominican parents. She first moved to Lawrence in 1989, then moved to Florida in 2000. She returned to the city in 2010. She has a bachelor’s degree in health science from Hodges University, Naples, Fla. and a certificate as a medical assistant.
Pina is outreach and events manager at Groundwork Lawrence for the past two years. She also manages the farmer’s market run by the non profit organization from July through October.