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Hinesville CC District 4 runoff

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POSTED: December 11, 2007 7:19 a.m.

None of the candidates for Hinesville City Council District 4 got a majority of votes in the general election on Nov. 6, so voters go back to the polls Dec. 4 to decide between the top to vote-getters, Keith Jenkins and Jack Shuman.

Before the general election the Courier asked candidates to answer a long list of questions about issues facing the city. Here are those candidates responses:

Name: Keith Jenkins   
Age:
City: Hinesville
Current Employment: Law Enforcement
Current Office/Office Seeking: City Council Dist. 4


1. How would you work to ensure taxpayers' money was used wisely?
To ensure that taxpayers' money was used wisely, I would use checks and balance and regular audits if possible.

2. How would you balance economic growth, quality of life and environmental issues?
Balancing economic growth, quality of life and environmental issues will take time, planning and studies over a period of time.

3. How would you represent people of all income levels - homeless to elite?
I would represent them equally.

4. How would you work to ensure affordable housing?
Through state, federal grants and privilege sectors would be my method to ensure affordable housing.

5. How would you work to ensure your community has clean, affordable water?
Through regular inspections

6. How much time would you have to devote to an elected office?
As much time as needed.

7. How would constituents contact you?
Constituents will be able to contact me through telephone, e-mail, mail and community and town meetings.

8. What do you feel are the top issues affecting your city/district?
Taxes, youth and under paying jobs are issues that are affecting the city/district.

9. What makes you the best candidate for the office?
Strong commitment and leadership skills makes me the best candidate for the office.

11. If you are challenging an incumbent, what would you do differently than he or she while in office?
If challenged by an incumbent, the difference between us is that I would be more accessible to all and address the needs of all constituents and not a selected few.

12. In the last year, there has been rising concern about Hinesville's growing gang problem. What would be your approach to slowing the influence of gangs in the community?
Having law enforcement officers be more pro-active by educating the community on how to recognize gang related activities. 

13. Troop deployments have had a major affect on many sectors of the community, especially the local economy. How would you work to lessen Hinesville's dependence on the military?
I would work on an incentive package that will help major companies want to come and be apart of this city so that we can all benefit from better paying jobs.

14. What is your position on the city's storm water utility fee?
At this time I feel as if it's a new tax. I need additional time to study this stormwater bill.

15. The city's growing population is putting a strain on a number services, especially in the area of healthcare. What do you think needs to be done to improve and/or expand local healthcare services?
To get with the healthcare providers to work up a plan for indigent healthcare.

17. Are you for or against changing the city council meeting time to a time that is more convenient for your constituents?
Yes

18. What are your views on the plan to redevelop Hinesville's downtown district?
More study is needed before I can answer this question.

19. What is your vision for the city in the next four years?

My vision for the City of Hinesville is to reduce crime and gang activities, better jobs, more programs for the youth and less depends on the military by bringing in better paying jobs.

 

Name:  Jack Shuman
Age:  52
City: Hinesville
Current Employment: Canoochee EMC
Current Office/Office Seeking:  Hinesville City Council District Four
Number of Terms, if applicable:  one


1. How would you work to ensure taxpayers' money was used wisely?

The needs of the community should be prioritized first.  Then we must ensure that our citizens are provided with the services they deserve and need.  We should then utilize all resources (grants, etc.) to ease the burden of how this is to be paid for.  It is imperative that all necessary services be provided and at the same time keeps the cost down.  I will continue to strive to lower our taxes and ease the burden on the taxpayers.

2. How would you balance economic growth, quality of life and environmental issues?
We have been and must continue to promote smart growth.  Working with the Development Authority and other governmental groups to find ways to attract new businesses and services that will enhance good job opportunities while at the same time improving our quality of life is a must.  At the same time we need to ensure we have adequate green space as well as preserving our precious water and nature that we are so proud of. 

3. How would you represent people of all income levels - homeless to elite?
It is so important that all citizens are provided adequate representation at all levels.  We must make sure that everyone is provided with resources specific to their needs which will allow them to improve their quality of life.  I will work with all groups to help find ways for better housing, education, etc.  Presently the city is working on the Azalea Street project which address' housing needs for different income levels.  This project is being done through various grants and incentive packages.  We must and shall continue to do projects like this.

4. How would you work to ensure affordable housing?
By working with the City's administration to make sure all grants available to us are being taken advantage of.  Presently, as stated above, we are working on one such project and we will continue to do so.  An assessment of housing needs has been done and the City is working to meet all these needs at this time.  Through the use of these grants as well as working with the Housing Authority this can be achieved.

5. How would you work to ensure your community has clean, affordable water?
Water is a subject we all need to be concerned about.  We must work together to ensure that we have enough water in the future.  This will have to be done through conservation and re-use systems.  The City is presently installing a re-use system, what we are calling purple pipe.  This will eventually be offered to all citizens.  This system takes wastewater and treating it to such a level it can be used for irrigation at the same time not causing any environmental concerns.  It's obvious if our water supply runs low the cost will escalate putting a hardship on everyone.  By conserving and reusing we should be able to avoid this.

6. How much time would you have to devote to an elected office?
As much as is necessary.  My current employer has been wonderful in working with me and allowing me to spend as much time as I need working with the City.  It is no problem in rearranging my work schedule to blend in with the time I need to spend with the City.

7. How would constituents contact you?
My doors have been and always will be open to all citizens.  My telephone number as well as my address is listed and I welcome all calls, and if you are unable to reach me you can always leave a message and I promise I will get back to you.  If all else fails you can call City Hall and they always know where I'm at.  I firmly believe that open communication is essential and the only way I can represent the people is to have contact with them.  I welcome input from all citizens to let me know their problems, concerns, and ideas.  With no communication you have a system that is doomed to fail.

8. What do you feel are the top issues affecting your city/district?
There are several issues affecting us and it would be hard to prioritize them.  Some of these are water issues (wastewater, storm water, and potable water), gang problems, lack of recreational activities for our youth, the need for more post secondary opportunities.  However, I feel the area we need to work on the most is the tax issue.  All branches of our government need to work together to come up with a plan to lower our taxes and give some relief to all citizens.  The City of Hinesville just approved our new budget and we will be lowering the city's millage rate which we help ease some of this burden.  This is something we are all proud of, but we need to keep grinding until we can find other ways to reduce taxes.

9. What makes you the best candidate for the office?
I feel having already served one term on City Council gives me a significant edge.  As we all know you can't jump into a new position and immediately know what is going on.  It takes a while to learn how the City operates, what you can and can't do, etc.  I'm still learning, but during the last 4 years I have learned a great deal and I feel with this experience it is a great benefit to the citizens.  I also have the time and desire to serve and it would be a privilege and honor to serve again.

10. If you are an incumbent, what have you achieved since taking office to warrant re-election? What have you not been able to accomplish?
I'm very proud of the fact that we have been able to lower your taxes the past two years,  we have a new Waste Water facility up and running without placing a burden on taxpayers, and the new Midcoast Regionnal Airport an Wright Army Airfield, a joint effort between the County, City, and Ft. Stewart is about ready to go. We have also continued providing excellent fire and police protection. These are just a few of the things accomplished, there have been many more.
I still feel we can lower our taxes.  This is an ongoing process and something our city administration works diligently at doing.  We also need to work with the LCPC to make it more user friendly for our citizens.  I would also like to see more traffic signals at certain locations around town.  This issue is something we are constantly addressing with the D.O.T. but sometimes the wheels turn slower than we want.

12. In the last year, there has been rising concern about Hinesville's growing gang problem. What would be your approach to slowing the influence of gangs in the community?
Gangs are not unique to Hinesville, but we do have a problem.  I believe it is imperative that we first educate the community on gang awareness.  Our Police Department has a task force established that is doing this now, but unfortunately we have not had the participation we had hoped for.  I feel we need to continue to work on this.  I also feel we need to offer more activities and opportunities to our youth.  Let's give them a choice. We need to implement a plan, involving all groups, to battle this problem.  The youth must be given n opportunity but they must also be punished if they choose the wrong path.  Our police and recreation department work hard trying to educate the public and offering activities but they can't do it alone. 

13. Troop deployments have had a major affect on many sectors of the community, especially the local economy. How would you work to lessen Hinesville's dependence on the military?
I feel the only way to remedy this problem is to attract new business and industry to our community. We need to work with our Development Authority to find ways to get new business to town.  More business means more jobs, better quality of life and hopefully less of a tax burden. 

14. What is your position on the city's stormwater utility fee?

I support it.  Their were some new federal regulations that were requiring us to do some things that we had not had to do in the past.  Some of these were to monitor storm water runoff in parking lots not belonging to the City, monitoring storm water as it enters drainage ditches, educating the public on storm water, etc.  This storm water entering our ditches and streams is an environmental concern and by monitoring and educating hopefully we will be able to help keep the water clean and lessen the impact on our environment.  These along with approximately 15 million dollars worth of capital improvements to our drainage system forced the City into taking some sort of action.  We could have borrowed the money to do this but this could have resulted in a tax increase.  Instead we opted to create the utility and bill everyone who received city water.  However by doing this we were able to pull the money out of our operating budget that was set aside for ditch work, etc. and put it into this new utility, and this has allowed us to lower the millage rate and thus lower the taxes you pay to the city.  The lowered millage rate could offset the price your paying for the storm water fee. 

15. The city's growing population is putting a strain on a number services, especially in the area of healthcare. What do you think needs to be done to improve and/or expand local healthcare services?
I feel our local healthcare system is headed in the right direction.  There are a lot of services offered here, but I often wander if the people know what is available to them. We need to do a better job of communicating to the public.  The hospital is doing a good job in the area of recruiting new physicians and are now offering more services, our Health Department is doing an outstanding job and we now have the new Diversity Clinic.  We need to make sure we can help Diversity receive the funding they need to stay in operation and we need to work with the Hospital to find ways to help them to be more financially secure. I believe committees need to be established to get input from our citizens to see what added services they feel we need as well as working on the financial issues.

16. Are you for or against Sunday alcohol sales? Why?
Whether or not I'm for against this is not important.  However, I feel that our citizens have the right to make this decision.  I feel Hinesville has lost some businesses because they were not allowed to serve alcohol with meals.  If this were allowed there is a good chance we could attract new restaurants to town which would automatically provide more jobs.

17. Are you for or against changing the city council meeting time to a time that is more convenient for your constituents?
I would have no problem in changing the time of the meetings if it would generate more community involvement.

18. What are your views on the plan to redevelop Hinesville's downtown district?
I feel it's a good idea to redevelop and revitalize our downtown area.  Doing this will make Hinesville more pleasing to the eye and should bring more people and business' downtown.  This needs to be a collaborative effort between Ft. Stewart, Hinesville, And the DDA to ensure it meets all our needs.  I feel we must have various grants, incentives, etc. in place to offer to those interested in moving to the downtown area, and we have to make sure that in no way will this put an undo burden on the tax payers.

19. What is your vision for the city in the next four years?

It is my desire to make sure our citizens have all the quality services they deserve.  I want us to provide these services at affordable prices and make Hinesville a town we want to live in, raise our families in and retire in.
 

 

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