Robert Blythe, 62, is seeking his sixth term on the Richmond City Commission.
A lifelong resident of Richmond, he holds degrees form Southern Baptist Theological Seminary and Eastern Kentucky University, where he taught mathematics until retiring. He continues to serve First Baptist Church, Francis Street, as pastor.
Blythe provided written responses to series of questions the Richmond Register posed to the eight city commission candidates.
The Parks and Recreation Department took the biggest funding cut in the 2012-13 budget. After the city finished the 2011-12 fiscal year with a surplus of more than $3 million, should some funding be restored to parks and recreation?
“I believe the Parks and Recreation budget should be reviewed to ensure that we can provide the finest recreational opportunities for our community and the highest quality of life that we can afford. I would support a budget increase if it is warranted and if we can justify it.”
The number of Richmond firefighters recently fell to 52, two below budgeted strength. Do you think the city can provide adequate fire protection with that number?
“The true test of whether or not we have a sufficient number of firefighters could be that we find ourselves in a situation which we are not able to handle. This could be tragic. Therefore, I feel that we should follow the standards established by the industry and apply them to our community. If we are not in compliance, we should take necessary measures to comply.”
How should the city resolve its storm-water issues? Would you favor a storm-water fee to fund improvements?
“We have no choice but to take necessary measures to combat our storm water problems. Many communities have faced the same situation and have found it necessary to levy a fee to provide the funds to remedy the problems. The problem affects the entire city. In addition, all available grants should be pursued.”