Richmond City Commission candidate Bobby Johns is no stranger to the race. This election season marks his second time running for a seat on the four-member commission.
Annual pay increases for city employees and promotions based on performance are just two of the issues Johns said he would support if elected.
Johns is outspoken in his criticism of the city commission’s rezoning of property at the corner of Lancaster Avenue and Barnes Mill Road so a private builder could construct a student housing complex.
He also is critical of changes in fire protection service and city personnel policy.
“One of the first things I wouldn’t have done is to rezone the (John) Lackey property,” he said. “Secondly, I would not have closed Fire Station No. 5. I also wouldn’t have taken away the vacation from the city workers.”
Many cuts were made to city departments to compensate for the city’s growing debt, which has now turned into a $3 million surplus this past year.
“I would be in favor of restoring some funding if the need is there,” Johns said. “I know the playgrounds are in need of mulch and the basketball court at Lake Reba needs to be resurfaced.”
He is speaking about things taken care of by the city’s parks and recreation department, which received one of the biggest funding cut of all city departments in the 2012-13 budget.
“We don’t have enough firefighters,” he said. “I also would recommend that we re-open Station No. 5 on Duncannon Lane. I also understand that some of our firefighters are occupying different ranks instead of promoting to that position. If they are performing duties at a higher rank, then they should be paid for that rank.”
The city should aggressively seek grant funding to perform a mandated upgrade to its storm-water system, he said.
“We need to try to apply for grants from both the state and federal governments,” he said. “I would hope that we could use the $2.10 meter tax to help pay for these projects. We are going to need $1 million for the next 20 years. I would be in favor of selling bonds to cover these projects if we can’t get enough grant funding.”
A proposed “Fairness Ordinance” that would include protection of members of the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations also has generated controversy this year.
“There is a federal law which protects everyone from discrimination,” Johns said. “You just can’t terminate an employee without proper cause or because of their sexual preference.”
Richmond City Commission candidates
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Berea utility doubles solar farm, again
Berea Municipal Utilities started its solar farm in October 2011 with 60 panels. In less that five days, all were leased.
Another 60, which became operational in June 2012, were leased in less than four months.
Now, the farm again has doubled, with the addition of 126 panels that are ready for leasing, said Steve Boyce, a retired Berea College professor who has been involved with the program since its inception.
My fair ladies
10th Quilt Extravaganza is Friday, Saturday
Displays of quilts by men, baby quilts, the Grandmother’s Flower Garden pattern, an exhibit of feed sack fabric, ongoing demonstrations, and a vendors market are features of the 10th Berea Quilt Extravaganza Friday and Saturday at Berea Community School off Ellipse Street.
RPD: Heroin sales lead to trafficking indictment
Executing a warrant issued after Samantha Frederick, 29, Northgate Drive, was indicted July 16 by a Madison County grand jury, Richmond Police arrested her Monday on drug trafficking charges.
YMCA, county district to provide after-school care
The Telford YMCA is partnering with the Madison County School District to provide after-school child care for kindergarten and elementary students.
YMCA Executive Director Dave Wallace and Madison County School Superintendent Elmer Thomas announced the partnership Monday afternoon.
Memories bloom in May’s garden
After realizing a story was being written about 96-year-old Lucille May, tenants of Willis Manor gathered in the lobby to share stories about her.
Affectionately called “Mamaw” by other residents and workers at the apartment building, May has spent the four years of her residence transforming an outdoor garden that was overtaken by weeds. It’s now a thriving flowerbed, complete with interesting rocks, decorations and conversation.
Water Street storm-water digging begins
Caisson holes were drilled and then filled with concrete and steel poles Monday to create a retaining structure to shore up the Allstate Insurance building foundations' firm when excavation for the Water Street Stormwater Improvement Project begins.
Digging for 20 ton, 6 by 7 foot concrete box culverts will begin today, if weather permits, said Jason Hart, Richmond’s director of Planning and Zoning. The culverts will help reduce the likelihood of flooding on Water Street by carrying storm water under Main Street, the CVS parking lot and Irvine Street to a stream, he said.
RPD: Bottle bomb injures man, damages neighbor’s home
Richmond Police on Friday charged Robert Abney, 30, of Moberly Avenue, in connection with a May 30 explosion that injured Abney and damaged a neighbor’s home.
Officers were dispatched May 30 to a residence in the 500 block of Moberly Avenue to investigate the report of an explosion.
They found the remains of a plastic bottle bomb near a residence adjoining Moberly’s, according to an RPD news release. A wall of the occupied home was smoldering and grass was burned in the area, it added.
Two led police on I-75 chase from Berea
Berea Police found a man passed out and intoxicated inside his crashed vehicle on Interstate 75 Wednesday, according to a police report.
Steven Coffey, 34, of Berea, had slurred speech and was unsteady on his feet when officers arrived at the vehicle, the police report stated. They determined he was under the influence of drugs, the report stated.
A race to the finish line
Sheltered by overcast sky and supported by a cool breeze, teams competed Saturday morning in the second annual HeartChase at Richmond Centre.
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