City council candidates were sent questionnaires and asked to address the following:
1. Please rank the following issues in terms of importance and emphasis for your city: Taxes, streets, water and sewer, parks and recreation, fees (water, sewer, garbage), economic development, law enforcement, attract new residents and housing developments.
2. Which statement best describes your primary reason for seeking a place on the city council?
a. correct administrative or financial problems that exist within the city
b. change current direction and policies of city
c. continue current direction and policies of city
d. increase local funding for city programs, including streets, law enforcement, parks
e. maintain or lower local funding for city programs, including streets, law enforcement, parks
f. support bond election to improve city issues as needed, including streets, law enforcement, parks
g. oppose tax increases required to improve city facilities, including streets, parks, etc.
Candidates were given a 50-word limit per question due to space constraints. If he or she exceeded the word limit, the remainder of the sentence containing the 50th word was published, and the rest of the answer was deleted.
RHOME CITY COUNCIL
THREE AT-LARGE SEATS
COLE LEWIS BLANCHE
Occupation: Logistics broker at Blakeman Transportation Inc.
Education: BBA with minor in psychology from Mississippi College, Clinton, Miss.
Family: My wife, Gretchen, and my 23-month-old daughter, McKenna
1. Economic development for Rhome remains my main objective. With this as our focus, I believe issues of taxes and city improvement will be addressed. New businesses and industry will increase tax revenue that can be used to improve our community and will provide employment opportunities. These improvements and jobs will help increase our population. (Exceeded word limit)
2. My primary purpose in seeking a position on city council is to increase local funding for city programs through economic development and fiscal responsibility. If we can increase our tax base with more businesses and residents, and reduce unnecessary spending, we should be able to avoid any tax increase. As a family man, I would like to see funding from new businesses used to improve our park and provide other recreational opportunities for citizens of all ages. (Exceeded word limit)
LOUIS E. GODFREY JR., D.SC., PH.D.
Occupation: Retired from the federal government
1. I would rank economic development as my top priority. Bringing in any major development for the city is a step in the right direction to help our city grow and be competitive in the future. Second, you have to have a strong internal infrastructure, which we have, to sustain any business that you would want to develop in your city. (Exceeded word limit)
2. The statement that best describes my primary reason for seeking a place on the city council is to continue with the current policies at the city with emphasis on seeking more economic development and to improve all the city facilities. Making sure that city tax dollars are spent in a responsible way and not wasted on items the city can do without or can wait to be purchased at another time. (Exceeded word limit)
Education: High school, insurance and finance schools, some college
Family: mother, Marie Moore
1. Economic growth is of utmost importance. With this growth and subsequent tax money, all city services and infrastructure, as well as the police and fire will benefit.
2. I am currently the vice chair of the Rhome Parks and Recreation Committee. I actively participate in all city functions and see the need to help the city increase the tax base through planned economic development to allow for increased services and recreation programs.
Occupation: Executive sales
Education: High school, Graham School for Cattlemen and some college
Family: Wife Sandy; two children, Ross and Abby
1. Economic development is the key to all of the other items. As Rhome grows, we must plan accordingly with fiscal responsibility to ensure we provide a healthy, safe and secure haven for our residents. All of the above issues are important.
2. I am currently serving as Rhome Parks and Recreation chairman. I would like to see all amenities and services increase but at the same time ensure that the city has at least four months reserve in the general fund without raising taxes. Planned economic development is essential.
Editor’s note: Candidates Chris Graves and Patti Mitchell did not return questionnaires.
DECATUR CITY COUNCIL PLACE 6
PETER A. RIVERA
Occupation: Retired planner, designer and consultant
Education: New York City, architecture major, school of industrial arts
Family: Single with two daughters, one son and four grandchildren.
1. Parks and recreation facilities and improvements to the fire department.
2. He would support a bond issue to improve recreational facilities and facilities for the fire department.
The city of Decatur must develop a more aggressive future so that the city may continue to grow – a growth pattern that will attract more commercial and various residential, housing requirements for this city to move ahead. The energy resources in this area will always be in a state of flux. (Exceeded word limit)
Occupation: financial advisor for Edward Jones
Education: BBA in accounting from Angelo State University, Certified Public Accountant, Certified Financial Planner
Family: Wife of 20 years, Julie; three children: Sam, 14, Noah, 12, and Rachel, 9.
1. Economic development, taxes, law enforcement, streets, parks and recreation, water and sewer, attracting new residents and housing developments, and city fees.
2. Continue the current direction and policies of the city.
I believe the city of Decatur is well-run, financially sound, and on a good path. We need to focus on the planning, infrastructure and services that will be required to support the economic development of our city as it grows.