District A, Post 2

Published 6:40 pm Friday, October 30, 2009

Incumbent Joe Sweet is being opposed by retiree Robert Coney.

The Post-Searchlight attempted to call Coney at the telephone number he put on his elections qualifying form; however, a woman who answered the phone said he did not live there anymore and she did not know how he could be reached. Coney’s telephone number was not listed on whitepages.com, nor in a search of public utility records conducted using intelius.com. In addition, City of Bainbridge General Administration Director Lisa Taylor said Thursday she had not heard from Coney nor had he submitted the financial disclosure documentation required of all candidates.

At its past two annual retreats, the current Council has discussed the possible renovation and/or redesign of the two buildings that make up City Hall and the city-owned Kwilecki building into a more modern, functional structure. What’s your feeling on how the project should progress during the next two years?

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Sweet: The renovation of City Hall was first conceived in the mind of the late Mr. Bill Reynolds. Of course, at that time the economy was not excellent, but it was not at an all-time low. So I think we should wait maybe a couple of years, in hopes that the economy will get better. Because Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax will have to be paid by everyone, even the people that were laid off.

The City of Bainbridge currently makes more than $100,000 per year from its 5 percent hotel/motel tax, at least 2 percent of which must be spent on promoting tourism. What do you think is the best way to spend this and other monies on tourism?

Sweet: I support the suggestions of the Mayor and City Manager about tourism.

Given the popularity of the city’s baseball/softball leagues and other Leisure Services programs, how would you like the council to support their growth?

Sweet: I don’t think our Leisure Service programs should be limited to baseball and softball only.

What are your ideas on how the city government can help encourage the creation of new jobs and bolster both existing and potential business activities?

Sweet: We have special people working on those potentials.

Would you be in favor of enacting an ordinance that placed a preference on local bidders if it were worded in a legal manner?

Sweet: No, I think our bidding process should remain the same and that includes our local bidders.

Declining overall revenues have made the drafting of the City of Bainbridge budget difficult in 2008 and 2009. How do you think the city can continue to balance its budget (spending no more money than it takes in)?

Sweet: We must prioritize our needs and because of the state of the economy, and work on the most needed or important.

Both elected officials and citizens have indicated a demand for more pedestrian walkways and crossings, as well as the addition of more bike lanes. How should the City Council proceed on this issue?

Sweet:We are concerned about sidewalks and bike lanes, and with the help of our engineers, we will try and accommodate those requests when and where this can be done.

Although city officials state there is a 90 percent occupancy of downtown buildings, there are still a few buildings that are unoccupied or in need of repair. What role should the council have in promoting downtown business and activity?

Sweet: The Downtown Development Authority is constantly working to improve and increase business downtown.

Public Safety statistics indicate the city has issues with violent crimes (some of them gang-related), arsons and nuisance animals. How would you seek address those problems?

Sweet: We are willing to assist and listen to any solutions that Public Safety suggests in solving these problems.

City Manager Chris Hobby has said that due to the state of the economy, the current budget excludes any direct spending on several community events, including entertainment in conjunction with its 4th of July fireworks in 2010. How do you think the council should decide whether or not to continue funding for city-sponsored community events in future years?

Sweet: Of course, if the economy and our budget will allow.