He secured that win in a runoff race on June 5, and while he is going through orientation now, he has an idea of what needs to come first in these initial days. Filling long-open positions such as the city manager and economic development coordinator will come first, he said.
“First, I’m focused as a business owner would be, making sure that we’re fully staffed,” France said. “I think we need to focus on getting the staff for the town. If we don’t have a full staff, are we really providing the services that our residents, homeowners and businesses need? I think that’s critical.”
This election has taught him just how involved residents are in the town and the diversity of views it contains.
“Our residents are very passionate about what they see as the future of our town,” France said. “I’ve learned that the perspectives of our residents are typically related to where they live. We have different types of communities within our town.”
Reaching out to those communities is important, and communication and transparency are among his top priorities as mayor, he said. He would like to explore more avenues of communication with the city.
“Throughout the campaign process, my videos and some of my posts were getting thousands and thousands of views,” he said. "So, we have the means to communicate with our community. I would like to continue to do that within the town charter as much as possible.”
To that end, France said he is also interested in bringing back events like Lunch with the Mayor or establishing new ones, such as Dinner with Derek. Community outreach events like this can help educate citizens about the role of local government, he said.
“There are a lot of residents that don’t understand how the town functions—things like how to go about the permitting process or a new business or an expansion of your home or business," he said. "There is misinformation perpetuated throughout social media.”
France said another topic that came up on the campaign trail was the balance of development within the town.
“I'm not for super high density,” France said. “I'm not for every vacant corner having a building on it. There are multiple high-density developments already under construction. I think we really need to see physically what their effects are.”
France said, the town cannot forego development altogether, which he calls an opportunity for citizen engagement.
“We can attract sustainable light industrial, commercial and build the sales tax base to offset the costs of all this really nice stuff that we've come to love and use here in our town,” he said. “At the same time, we can't lose sight of our city’s bills.”