Small Suburb Looks to Boost Population by Paying Off Student Loans for New Homebuyers

Small Suburb Looks to Boost Population by Paying Off Student Loans for New Homebuyers

“So we wanted to find a way that we could help students but also address some of our local, immediate problems that we have with a shrinking tax base and an aging population,” Elkins says.

Newburgh Heights Seeks To Attract Residents With Student Loan Payments

Newburgh Heights Seeks To Attract Residents With Student Loan Payments

“I figured I could kill two birds with one stone by tackling both problems in a way that was a win-win for Newburgh Heights but also for individuals that had a challenge of their own as it related to student debt,” said Elkins.

Newburgh Heights hoping to attract new homeowners by paying off student loans

Newburgh Heights hoping to attract new homeowners by paying off student loans

“The stipulations are, you have to purchase the home after you've graduated from a four-year accredited college; the home has to be valued at $50,000 or more -- single family, and it has to be an arm's-length transaction so it can’t be a short sale or sheriff’s sale or something like that,” said Elkins.

Newburgh Heights' Bold Idea for Attracting Young Professionals: Pay For Their Student Loans

Newburgh Heights' Bold Idea for Attracting Young Professionals: Pay For Their Student Loans

This is one of those sensible ideas that nevertheless may be perceived as radical strategy because it proposes to give to individuals — a generous financial incentive — what is ordinarily reserved for businesses.    

Mayor Trevor Elkins Lone Voice of Support

Mayor Trevor Elkins Lone Voice of Support

Elkins said it was frustrating, for example, to hear his board colleagues speak so passionately about the need for due diligence. "In this county, we have spent an insane amount of taxpayer dollars on funding for professional sports facilities," Elkins said. "If due diligence and research matter to us, we would never have done that because all of the research, right up to the Federal Reserve, says spending money on those facilities does not ever generate an economic return. Does research and data really matter to us? Only when it's convenient, it appears." 

Elkins Seeks to Restore Activist Base of the County Democratic Party!

Elkins Seeks to Restore Activist Base of the County Democratic Party!

In a conversation with Scene a few days after the primaries, Elkins said that he thought the media portrayal of a centrist vs. progressive fight within the party ought to be recalibrated.

"That's just not an accurate assessment of what's going on," he said. "The fight that's occurring today is a generational fight. It's a fight between a new generation of leaders that are ready to take a different approach to authority and power and the very transactional leadership that exists."

C. Ellen Connally Will Run for Chair of County Democratic Party on Progressive Ticket; Trevor Elkins to Run for Vice-Chair

C. Ellen Connally Will Run for Chair of County Democratic Party on Progressive Ticket; Trevor Elkins to Run for Vice-Chair

“Because I believe Judge Connally’s steadiness, wisdom, experience, and accomplished record of service are exactly the unifying qualities our party needs, I asked her to step into the lead role for our party," Elkins said in a press release. "She and I have tremendous chemistry and we are committed to reforms intended to nurture activist energy to win elections." 

Energizing the Democratic Party

Energizing the Democratic Party

He also said his coalition will strengthen, not harm, Democratic electoral chances, since one of his group's stated goals is to recruit committee members who will commit to helping increase voter turnout. It reflects activists' frustration with party stalwarts, and a desire to push the party in a more progressive direction, he said.

County Party Establishment Targets Elkins Allies

County Party Establishment Targets Elkins Allies

"When we have a narrow group of people looking to consolidate power for themselves, we create a climate where the minority leader [Yuko] can't get what in any other county should be a rubber-stamp endorsement," Elkins said.

...and a willingness to buck the system.

...and a willingness to buck the system.

Trevor Elkins spoke next. He's the Mayor of Newburgh Heights and an RTA board member known for staunch leftism and a willingness to buck consensus. Though he didn't call Shontel Brown by name, Elkins affirmed that one of his opponents would indeed be a puppet if elected. He said that the same people who approached Brown to run had also approached him. They went searching for Brown one week after Elkins "had the audacity to say 'no.'" 

"They wanted to dictate the direction of the party from behind the scenes," Elkins told Scene by phone Wednesday. "I told them, 'there's a difference between loyalty in working together and blind obedience."