BEREA — Editor's Note: This is the second in a three-part series profiling the 13 candidates for the Berea City Council race. The council is comprised of eight seats.
Virgil Burnside, 61
After serving as a Berea City Council member for the past 15 years, Virgil Burnside wishes to seek another term. The Berea College Administrator said it is the role of serving that keeps him coming back into the political arena.
“I believe in service to one’s community,” Burnside said. “I care deeply for my community of Berea.”
While Berea continues to grow, there should be an importance placed on maintaining the city’s uniqueness, he said.
“Also, I want and wish to maintain its small-town charm while progressing, so our young people will find opportunities if they choose to live here,” Burnside said.
Preparing for the city’s future growth is one of the biggest issues facing the council at the moment, he said.
“Currently, the city is doing well,” Burnside said. “But, in the future, it is important that it develops a strong and diversified economy to provide a high quality of life for its citizen or at the very least to maintain the city's current level of services.”
Burnside said he wanted voters to know that “I am level-headed, fair and consistent and will represent all the citizens of Berea.”
Diane Kerby, 60
Her first year has been spent “learning the ropes,” according to council member Diane Kerby.
“I’m getting up to speed, but I decided to run again because I want to continue the work we've started with financial planning and I want to continue serving the citizens,” said Kerby, who retired from Berea College.
The issue of long-term financial planning is one of the largest tasks before the council, she said.
“We’re in good financial shape, but I think we need to do some contingency planning in regards to revenue services to diversify our revenue strand,” Kerby said. “A large part of our revenue comes from the occupational license tax.”
Some challenges now for the council include finding funding for a federally mandated storm water system upgrade for the city and continuing to fund the county’s joint E-911 system.
“The system is aging and needs to be replaced,” she said. “A few years down the road when the CSEPP (Chemical Stockpile Emergency Preparedness Program at the Blue Grass Army Depot) goes, I think we have some decisions to make as to how we want to work.”
Addressing the community’s drug issue also is on Kerby’s agenda.
“I know a lot of those things (incorporated in addressing the issue of substance abuse) is beyond the control of a city council, but we should help the people who are trying to address them.”
When it comes to the proposal to add protection to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community into the city’s existing human rights ordinance, “I think we need to address the issues of human rights and the inclusiveness within the community. We need to work with the Human Rights Commission and their outreach efforts.”