RICHMOND — Editor’s Note: This is the first in a series of stories profiling the 13 candidates for Berea City Council.
Chad Hembree, 37
Already serving in a community service capacity, Chad Hembree wants to expand his duty to Berea residents by becoming a city councilman.
Hembree, who serves as co-chair for the Berea Human Rights Commission, is the information technology manager for Hospice Care Plus. He also has served as youth minister for Berea United Methodist Church.
“I wish to give back, in service, to the community that has provided for me my entire life,” he said. “Berea is a very special place.”
The top three issues facing the Berea City Council, in Hembree’s opinion, are maintaining financial stability in an unstable economy, re-evaluating city services and revenues and “breaking through social barriers that have polarized our citizens onto opposite sides.”
When it comes to the city’s future financial status, “I want to help guide Berea in good stewardship toward a brighter future without significant cuts to current services and employees. But, to do this, all city departments will have to give a little to be frugally sustainable,” he said.
The city’s tax base needs to be reevaluated as do the services it provides, he said.
“The restaurant tax, insurance tax, hotel tax, property tax and payroll tax all need to be revisited to ensure the citizens of Berea are getting their money’s worth out of this government or if they are paying too much,” Hembree said.
Smaller meetings and meaningful discussions are more likely to help break down social barriers that he says exist in Berea.
“The growing majority of this community does not wish to tear it apart and are willing to work through the social issues,” Hembree. “I have already spoken with many organizational, community and religious leaders to offer my assistance in starting the discussions.”