Candidate: Donna Baird, 66

Education: Madison Central High School graduate

Past/current employment: Retired from Chase Bank

Community involvement: Chamber of Commerce Ambassador; Chair, Pops at the Park; Richmond Business and Professional Women’s Club; Salvation Army Advisory Board Member (Present).      I have participated in many fund raisers for various organizations over the years.

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond:

1. Drugs

2. Aging infrastructure

3. Sustaining revenue

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

Drugs: Better enforcement and education. I would be in favor of forming a drug task force comprised of five people from the City Police and five from the Sheriff’s Office.

Aging Infrastructure: We are accruing money to start sidewalk repairs and repair storm water issues. Something else would be to work with property owners to upgrade old buildings with the possibility for tax breaks.

Sustaining revenue: The city is preparing for economic growth through retail and industry by having an efficient and attractive community. The city of Richmond is a “Work Ready City.”

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay?

Yes. It couldn’t continue based on sustaining itself economically. The city is becoming financially strong again.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

Yes. When we had five stations, we had three per shift. Now we have four stations and we have five per shift. We have 60 fire personnel. There are 65 police personnel. That is adequate at this time. Public Safety (police and fire) accounts for 48 percent of the city budget.     

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while retaining a desirable residential mix?

R-2 and R-3 are for multi-family apartments and duplexes. I believe we have more than adequate R-2 and R-3 at this time. Until we get an inventory of these properties, we do not need to rezone anymore.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

Repair old infrastructure. Planning and Zoning should require new retention basins on all new developments. I would be in favor of an assessment if city revenue does not increase. We may eventually find it necessary to add a fee, but not at this time.

Name: Robert R. Blythe, 64

Education: High school diploma; B.S. in Mathematics, Education and French; master of divinity in Pastoral Studies; doctor of ministry in Pastoral Studies.

Past/current employment: Public school teacher in Richmond, Ky., Gary Indiana; Madison County; EKU (retired); Marketing representative for IBM; current pastor of First Baptist Church (32 years)

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: Served on Human Rights Commission; currently serving as Commissioner, city of Richmond (sixth term).

Other community involvement: Chair, Faith Task Force of Madison County; chair, New Liberty Homeless/Family Shelter Committee; member, Advisory Board for Central Bank Madison County Market; member, Richmond Teen Center Board.

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. Drug abuse and its impact on crime and public safety.

2. Continued development of moderate to high paying jobs.

3. Decaying infrastructure.  Water and gas lines are in need of replacement in older areas of city. Streets in some areas are bad.

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

1. We must provide our police department the level of staffing that would enable them to focus on some more recent concerns such as the urban presence from the north in drug trafficking

2. We should continue to work with commerce and workforce development officials at state level to find interested prospects. We must also work to keep those businesses we have and to help them to grow.

3. We may need to be proactive in replacing aging infrastructure as funds allow.

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay?  If not, how would you change it a pay for it?

I agree with the final product in the area of vacation leave and feel that we must work some more with the sick leave policy. Our previous approach to “longevity pay” was not allowed by law. We can, however, reflect on employee’s length of service by other tangible means.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

This question requires conversations with the leadership of both of these departments. However, I am not aware of any situations which were caused by insufficient personnel available to fight a specific fire or to conduct a rescue effort. The current number of police officers is insufficient. However, the current budget allows for more. We need to move forward in filling vacancies. This is, however, no short process.

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while retaining a desirable residential mix?

The number of B-3 zones is sufficient. We must encourage more single-family housing.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

The city is currently addressing this matter. An assessment along with grants will more than likely be necessary. Other communities are taking this approach.

Candidate: Bonnie Cable, 44

I am the mother of two girls; Ashleigh is a senior at EKU, and Haleigh is a sophomore at Madison Central. I am involved in many things in the community: the Derby Gala board for Hospice, the Madison Central Girls Soccer Booster Board, the Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Madison County Board of Realtors.

Some of the issues I believe that Richmond has are:

1. The storm water issue – but that being said, there is a plan in place to remedy that. There is a grant we will receive that will help fund that and eventually that will be resolved.

2. The drug issue we have is a major concern for all citizens. The remedy for that would be education and prevention programs, perhaps a special drug force.

The positive things we have in Richmond are our schools and business opportunities.EKU is a tremendous asset to us.

The fire stations are adequate in my opinion right now, but once the development of new neighborhoods and business open, we will need more safety measures.

The city financials of pay I believe is based on the city revenue. Once our revenues increase, then pays can be increased. There has to be funds to support pay raises. If there isn’t funds, there isn't opportunity for pay increases.

The city is served by KU Utilities, which offers low electricity rates. Our taxes are low. We have a great police department that offers the very best safety of our citizens and the fire stations are top notch. Many of our officers and firemen volunteer in our community as coaches or through their churches. We want to keep the small town feel but be aggressive in our progression of town.

Candidate: Kevin Gorman, (retired head of the city’s parks and recreation department)

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. Amassing tax payers monies way beyond what is required (in terms of general fund percentage) for emergency purposes, instead of making necessary/needed improvements, whether it be police, fire, parks departments etc. Perhaps we should decrease taxes, keep a required reserve and relax while the city slowly deteriorates.


2. Taking necessary steps (yearly) to improve city employee salaries, wherein, they measure up to other second class cities in Kentucky.

3. Transparency in terms of the city commission informing the tax payers and employees of  “The Absolute Truth.” I’ve seen/lived this for 31 years as parks and recreation director.



Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

Absolutely not. Again I’ve experienced this first hand. Instead of the word “change,” I would prefer to use improvement, and the only way to do such is to have employee input and city commissioners who are empathic in terms of employee’s plight. 


Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

Although I worked 31 years with the city, and whereas most all departments have been lacking employees to maintain/provide necessary services, it is essential to meet with department heads as well their employees to slowly improve such vital means. Again, it all boils down to using tax payers monies instead of amassing excessively the general fund.


Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while a retaining desirable residential mix.

Cannot provide a honest answer without input from department heads, planning and zoning commission and citizens of Richmond.


How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

Cannot provide a honest answer without input from city manager, planning and zoning commission, Richmond Utilities, public works, codes department and citizens of Richmond.


Candidate: Bobby Johns, 68

Education:  Some college courses from Louisville, Western, Xavier, LCI

Past/current employment: Retired from IBM/Lexmark, Realtor with Century21 Advantage  

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: Madison County Board of Realtors president-elect, president and past president 200608. Richmond Little League Board 1983-987. Executive Little League Board 1988-present. IBM Sports Board 1972-78.

Other community involvement: Big Brothers/Big Sisters Bowl-a-thon, Habitat for Humanity, All “A” Classic, Relay for Life, Special Olympics.

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. Infrastructure-Storm Water Systems need to be upgraded, because of age. Get the Water Street Project started and completed as quickly as possible.

2. Try to eradicate the drug problem, making Richmond and Madison County a better and safer place to live.

3. Update and upgrade our parks, where every child has a place to play sports. Keep girls softball at Irvine-McDowell Park and re-open the Combs Field. Also host adult softball tournaments, youth baseball, soccer tournaments. This would bring teams and fans to our community, where they can shop, eat and stay in our hotels. This helps our economy, and when visitors stay in our hotels, they pay a hotel tax which goes to the Tourism bBudget.

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

We are getting a grant to repair issues on Water Street. We should go after grants from both the state and federal levels to help fund these projects. I hope the Ky. State Legislature will pass a bill so second-class cities could raise the hotel tax, and hope some of that tax money could help with the parks. If and when we bring some sports tournaments, we can generate some revenue for the city, by charging fees to play and watch the games.

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

I don’t have a problem with these changes. According to what I have been told by the police and firemen, they have problems getting their time off, because of staffing problems. We have to have sufficient coverage. If this is a problem, we need to continue to look at better ways to make sure no one looses their earned time off. There should not be any extra expenses to make sure everyone gets their time off.  

Candidate: Jason Morgan, 37

Education: Managerial Finance degree and Healthcare Administration degree from Eastern Kentucky University

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: City commissioner 2011-12

Other community involvement: Richmond Lions Club, adviser to Richmond Youth Commission, past mentor to Madison Middle School students, past HealthNow board member

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

I would like to spend the next two years addressing three key issues, economic development, improving public safety, and improving the quality of life for our citizens. Our mission and purpose  should be to make Richmond the greatest place to live. Our initiative should be making Richmond a welcoming place to visit and a hard place to leave. We can achieve this goal by committing ourselves to real and diversified economic development, ensuring the safety for our citizens and visitors, and focusing on improving the quality of life of our community.

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issue?

The city can achieve these objectives by reinvesting in our city and building relationships with key organizations within our community.

The city’s infrastructure from our parks to our storm water system is outdated and needs immediate attention. Given our city’s financial resources, we must reinvest a portion of our tax revenues back into the community to improve our quality of life. We should be investing in our parks system. We should be actively addressing the worsening storm water issues that our city’s citizens have dealt with over the past four years. We should be engaging our public service departments to ensure that we are adequately prepared to meet our future needs and ensure public protection does not falter. City Hall should be committed to fostering better relationships amongst leaders and key players in the community. The city should be engaging educational leaders, governmental leaders and industry leaders in our community to ensure their needs are met. If we are committed to investing in our city and opening dialog with the community, Richmond becomes an attractive place to live and businesses will want to invest in our city.

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

Everyone, including the employees agreed that the city’s vacation policy needed to be changed. I favored a proposal that is more aligned with the private sector and allows the employees to earn vacation hours up to a maximum limit. Once the employee reaches the limit, he/she no longer earns vacation hours until vacation time was used. The city would not incur any additional cost by adopting this policy. In regards to longevity pay, we should be paying our employees fair market value thus making longevity pay a non-issue.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

Public safety is the city’s first obligation to the citizens. City leaders need to rely upon their departments for expert advice. When I served as commissioner, I was advised that given the city’s growth over the past 20 years, providing adequate fire protection is difficult with only four stations. The cost of maintaining our fire departments can be offset by creating policies allowing our fire department to generate revenues through inspections. The police department has shown over the past few years that they are able to meet the city’s needs. I would be in favor of our police department adding additional officers so that our city could take a more proactive approach in dealing with crime.

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while a retaining desirable residential mix?

I feel that our city has ample number of properties zoned for B-3 development and would like to see more single-family housing development as well as revitalization of existing properties. This can be achieved by focusing on economic development and seeking grant funding. In regards to B-3 zone changes, it would not be responsible for me to arbitrarily say that I would not favor a zone change if proposed. A city commissioner must be willing to maintain an open mind and listen to the evidence. I would favor a zone change if it has been reviewed by the city’s Planning and Zoning Commission, it comply with the city’s comprehensive plan, and it shows a long-term benefit to the community.  

 

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

Until the aging storm water system is addressed by the city, our problems are only going to get worse and more expensive to correct. The city needs to begin implementing the plan that was developed specifically for Richmond by storm water engineers. It should be financed by redirecting the $3 water meter fee to the storm water fund.

Candidate: William A. Mulhern, 73

Education: Graduate of Central Michigan University

Past/current employment: Retired; 10 years toolmaker, 24 years management in the automotive industry.


Community involvement: Current president of Richwood Home Owners Association; have served three years.

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

Lack of coordination between departments, especially after elections and new hires.

Still a lot of discrimination going on.

Drug abuse.

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

There are solutions to every problem. I would spend a lot of time working with the department managers, chief of the police and fire chief.

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

I have to agree with some of it. I think sick leave in all industries has become more of an extention of vacation time for a lot of people. Vacation time and longevity pay should be at least as good as the private sector.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

I have been been to almost every commissioners' workshops and regular meeting for the past three years. Both chiefs have always expressed their concerns and got the support they needed.

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while a retaining desirable residential mix?

Any place that has renters, apartments, duplexes and houses seems to have a lack of maintenance that degrades the areas. If more apartments are built they should be in outlying areas.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

The mayor and his staff are trying to resolve the worse areas, and the Water Street problem has a good-looking solution. I understand they are waiting on a grant for that project.

Candidate: Jim Newby, 45

Education: Bachelors degree in criminal justice

Past/current employment: Richmond Fire Department

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: Richmond City Commission

Other community involvement: Masonic Lodge No. 25 F&AM

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. The most important function of any city is to protect the safety of the citizens. One major issue facing Richmond is public safety. With the increase in drugs in our city and outside influences coming into play, it is vitally important to have a fully staffed, fully trained and fully equipped Police Department. We must continue to enhance the department to prepare for all circumstance. Going along with that, we much emphasize the importance of our Fire Department. The city has made great strides in the past years to make the Richmond Fire Department one of the best. We must allow the Department to continue to excel with a complete staff, complete training and complete equipment.  With the growth of the city, we must emphasize fire safety and fire prevention.

2. Another issue facing the city is the city’s aging infrastructure. We simply cannot continue to allow our storm water system to degrade without a proper plan to rebuild and replace the system where needed. It is plain to see that the system in the ground is not adequate to meet the needs of the city. Drains that have been placed years and years ago are failing at an alarming rate. This is a problem that must be addressed in a proactive way.

3. Another issue facing the city is the debt of the city. This includes Richmond Utilities, which is part of the city. The city has been fortunate to have leaders in the past that saw the future needs of the city and planned for them. Many of the bonds have been paid off or will soon be paid off for capital improvements that were made in the city like Lake Reba and Gibson Bay Golf Course. We must look at the debt of the Utility Company (City water, Gas and Sewer) and how that will affect the citizens of Richmond and their rates.

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

As commissioner, it is now more than ever, vitally important that we work together as a team to resolve these issues and other issues that arise. I am the first to say that I do not have all the answers, but by working together for the common good of all citizens we can go a long way to solve those issues.  There cannot be a big “I” and little “You” mentality in City Hall. We have good employees that can contribute to solving any problems; they should be included in any discussion. It will take proper planning and the need to develop a workable strategy to deal with what “ails” the city. I will not promise you things that are “pie-in-the-sky” answers, but I do promise to work hard for each and every citizen. Together, we can make a difference. Preparation and planning are the keys to having a more successful city. We can call on our many talented and intelligent citizens to help with these questions, citizens in business, industry, education, and all other areas in the city. That was we will not just be partners in progress, but partners for progress.

Do you agree with the changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

I do not agree with the taking away of benefits of city employees. We have a very talented and hardworking group of employees in the city who, in many cases, could make more in the private sector, but they choose to be public servants to help the citizens of Richmond. I do not think it is right or fair to “jerk the rug” out from under the employees, so to speak, without looking to see what the ramifications would be to the employees. The employees make the city run and operate efficiently.  When you have a family to support, it’s hard to decrease your benefits. I think we need to look at the vacation, sick and longevity policy and come up with a fair plan, a plan that will be fair to the employees and fair to the taxpayers. I know the economy took a nose dive a few years ago, but it is recovering slowly. The benefits issue should be revisited and looked at in light of today’s economy.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

No.  The city had one of the best equipped and best trained fire stations around, on Duncannon Road.  This fire station was strategically located in a growing section of our city. It covered our large Industrial Park, a Daycare Center, Extension Office, homes and the new I-75 interchange. The industries were happy to have such a good fire station in the area, as well as the day care. It was also located near an EMS substation. The Fire Department on Duncannon Road had an ample storage area for all the city fire departments, training areas and was a strategic location to work with the EMA.  Then it was closed. This did not make good, common sense. It should be reopened and the Fire Department itself should be fully staffed. This, as I said before, is basic public safety.

The Police Department is working on fully staffing the department. It is a long process to advertise, interview and train a new officer. They must go to a 16 week training class then be trained with another officer in the field. I know our Chief is working on this. The Police Department should be fully staffed and equipped to meet the safety needs of our citizens. Public Safety is job one.

People pay taxes for services and this is a service they expect. Some would say, “We can’t afford to,” but I would ask, “Can we afford not to?”

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while retaining a desirable residential mix?

This, of course, is a tough question. Property owners want to make the highest and best use of their property to maximize their investment. I think that we need to approach this with proper study. We cannot just look back one or two year; we must look back many years and see the trends that have developed. We need to look at population, both the in-migration and out-migration to determine the needs of the residents of our city. We should look at housing trends and housing starts to see if they are adequate. We need to look at our present mix and then look to the future to see what the growth patterns are for Richmond. Of course the economy drives this pattern as well. Once again we need to bring many people to the table, to determine the city’s needs.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

The wide spread storm-water problems of the city are a major concern. The city was made a Phase II Storm Water community by the federal government. This was an unfunded mandate, meaning they told the city it had to be fixed, but did not offer any funds to fix it. Of course, Richmond is not the only city in this boat. It is a problem in every city in Kentucky. Storm water problems are a major concern.  Even if the federal government did not issue this mandate, the problems still would have to be addressed and fixed. At one time, the city had a storm water committee, and the issue of a storm water assessment fee was discussed, but it was not thought to be advisable at the time. The city will need to set aside some funds each year to pay for the upgrades. The city will also need to explore all other means of funding.  The city will need to work with the state to see if funds can be developed. It is a problem that is not going to go away, and it will be expensive to fix. We need to be creative in our funding to address the problem. We will need to explore many avenues of funding.

Candidate: William H. “Bill” Strong, 73

Education: Graduate of Madison High School, attended EKU

Past/Current Employment: Retired from restaurant business, presently employed at Hall of Justice/District Court part-time.

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: Mayor, city of Richmond, four years; mayor pro tem, eight years; city commissioner, 21 years; Madison County magistrate, four years.

Boards I have served on: Telford Community Center, Richmond Housing Authority, Community Development, Downtown Revitalization, Tourism & Recreation. As mayor, I helped set up and served on Richmond Utility Board, Senior Citizens Board, Housing Authority and Open Concern. Served as liaison to Fire, Police, Street, Parks and other departments over the years.

Other Community Involvement: Army veteran, life member of American Legion and VFW, American Legion commander for three years; Member 40/8 Club and served as commander, member of Honor Guard, Jaycee Community Service Award, Shriners Oleika Temple, past president of Madison Shrine Club, the Grand Lodge of KY F&AM, Richmond Lodge No. 25, Richmond Council No. 71, Richmond Community No. 19, 3rd Scottish Rite Mason, Richmond Elk’s Lodge, First Church of the Nazarene.

What do you see the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. Drugs and related crimes

2. Infrastructure

3. The budget.

Drugs and Related Crimes: Each day is another story about meth labs, heroin, narcotics and drug busts. Drug dealers from Detroit are taking up residence in Richmond apartments and hotels, etc. This also leads to thefts, break-ins, robberies and other crimes. Our city and county law enforcement and courts are continually dealing with this problem. The effects of drugs on our city and our families are devastating. I would support our law enforcement and local agencies and any programs that we can utilize to get into our schools to educate our children and public about drugs. Neighborhood Watch programs to help our police would also be a great help. I would want to find and implement programs that are proven to work for our judges and social workers to use that would empower them in every way possible to help people that get on drugs. A town of our size should make available clinics for those with addictions to try to rehabilitate them. Working hand in hand with the court system, health care and school systems who secure these types of programs are put into place.

Infrastructure: We need to pay close attention to the infrastructure especially in the older areas of our town and the parts of the city that were annexed after Planning and Zoning. The areas of interest to me would be: aging sidewalks, streets and pot holes, abandoned houses, park system upgrades, rental property and storm sewers that are collapsing. I would keep open communication with the department heads and the public and the council on the top needs and seek funding and grants for these projects.

The budget: The city had a very tight budget for the 2012 and 2013 fiscal years.  Expenses have been lowered to the point where it is difficult to find other areas of expense that can be lowered. However, the cost of operation of the city continues to grow and we must continue to find ways to lower expenses. It will be exceedingly difficult to meet all city needs without additional revenue. The only way to meet the future needs of the city without additional revenues is to seek state and federal money and create employment opportunities in the future.

Do you agree with changes made in the past 5 years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

No. It would be my last resort before I would vote to take anything away from a city employee. Over my years of service, one of my top priorities was establishing morale and good benefits for city employees. It would be very difficult to undo those changes made by the present commission and mayor. My hope and determination is through good management and recovery of our budget we can gain control back where we can take a look at putting some things back on the table in the future. I would like to see some raises or help with insurance looked at as soon as we are financially able to help these employees.

Is the current number fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for? Is the current number of police officer adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

At one time, the city of Richmond had five fire stations; however, in August of 2012 the fire station at Duncannon was closed to help lower expenses. The most firefighters the city has ever employed was 83 and we presently we have 65. A large portion of the city’s budget goes toward the pay and hazardous pay of firemen. I feel the city does have adequate coverage and response time from the fire department.

The Police Department currently has 60 officers. They have topped out at 72 but probably would do real well with about 65 according to Chief Brock. There could always be room for extra help in 3 other areas: to staff every middle school, answer every call quickly, and dealing with narcotics. Hopefully, we could fund the police department the same ways that we have in the past.

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while retaining a desirable residential mix?

Very adequate.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

For the past three years the city has had a very tight budget. The costs for the city continue to grow. Even though the city has cut expenses and kept firm control on everything, it will be very hard to not fully recover without finding additional revenue. During these past three years, the city:

1) Under-estimated repair of storm sewers on Water Street by $3.8 million.

2) Requested an over-ride to finish the Water Street project that now totals $8 million.

3) Finished up on Sunset Avenue with a $720,000 project and a lot of controversy.

4) Tried to cover problems in Brookline Subdivision and another in Bluegrass Acres due to flooding issues.

5) Worked with the US Highway detention basin funded by the KY Transportation Cabinet while paying for a survey and excavating fees.

The city would most likely have to establish a “storm water utility fee” as other cities have done in order to help with this cost. The city is reserving approximately $228,000.00 a year beginning this fiscal year 2014 from its collection of meter fees to also help offset this cost. This is a good start. I would also continue to seek grants to help with the storm-water problems.

Candidate: Richard Thomas, 72

Education: B.A. at EKU; MBA at Xavier University

Past/current employment: Retired hospital CEO

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: Richmond City Commissioner, 2010-12; Richmond Planning and Zoning Commissioner, 2001-10; 2013 – present

Other community involvement: Board of directors, Madison Bank; Richmond Chamber of Commerce; American Legion Post 12; Richmond AARP; Madison County Honor Guard

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. A need to have consistent growth in both the commercial and industry arena to ensure sufficient revenue for the operation of the city

2. To maintain a strong public safety venue

3. A deteriorating infrastructure of our streets and storm water systems

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

As noted above we have a need for growth in areas that produce revenue, i.e., payroll taxes and property taxes.

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay?  If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

As a previous city commissioner, we devoted many hours to all these issues with our department heads and city manager. Changes were made, and I believe we made the right decisions.  All of these benefits are based on the financial condition of the city. Employee benefits are evaluated during the budgeting process each year.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city? If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for?  Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city? If not, how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

Again, the number of police and firefighters is studied each year during the development of the budget.  How many public safety employees, as well as other city employees, has to be based mostly on the growth of the city and revenue to pay for increases and numbers.

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while retaining a desirable residential mix?

As a current Planning and Zoning Commissioner, we devote many hours studying growth of the R-3 (apartments) needs. Currently it appears the number of apartment complexes are adequate for our city.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

A storm water management study was completed in 2011. A total of 23 projects were identified with an estimated cost at that time near $22 million. The study further stated the city should be funding over $1 million a year for these projects, slthough there are still funds available through FEMA and other state and federal agencies. The City must look at some type of user fee to address the storm water issues in our city.

John E. Young, 68

Education: Bachelor’s degree in business administration, EKU

Past/current employment: Insurance agent

Past elected or appointed boards/offices: Pops at the Park 25 years, chairman; Richmond Chamber of Commerce-11 years, one year president; 12 years RAAC board, three years president; Kiwanis-treasurer two years; 25 years elder Madison Hills Christain Church, 12 years chair of finance committee.

Other community involvement: Two-time Sister Cities trip to Japan, several committees for city.

What do you see as the top three issues facing Richmond?

1. Drainage Problems during heavy rain

2. Drugs

3. Downtown city traffic.

If elected, how would you go about resolving these issues?

1. We need to look at ways to improve our drainage problems as our present system is not adequate to handle run off problems.

2. We need to set up a special drug force unit in our police to deal with the drugs going up and down I-75.  It needs to be a limit on it’s own.

3. We need to look at a way to get flow of downtown traffic so as to help our downtown businesses and attract tourism downtown. We have so much to offer. Maybe two one-way streets.

Do you agree with changes made in the past five years to city employees’ vacation, sick leave and longevity pay? If not, how would you change it and pay for it?

I feel all previous employees should be grandfathered and all new ones should fall under new rules.  We know we have funding problems for employees past. There are several ways to handle this. All new employees need to be under new more restrictive rules.

Is the current number of fire stations and firefighters adequate to protect the city?  If not, what needs to be done and how should it be paid for?  Is the current number of police officers adequate to protect the city?  If not how many more are needed and how should that be paid for?

I am not sure about exact numbers.  We need a active drug unit.  We need enough fire stations and firefighters so as to not raise insurance rates because of a lack of stations or firefighters   We as residents pay for good solutions.

Is the number and size of Richmond’s B-3 zones (apartments) adequate to meet the growth needs of the city while retaining a desirable residential mix?

Because of our economy and the mobile ability of many of our residents, I feel we need to look at the B-3 zones.

How should the city systematically correct widespread storm-water problems? Would you favor a property assessment to finance a solution? If not, how should a solution be financed?

No assessments. Property owners pay enough. Let’s look at a bond issue since we have improved our finances.

 

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