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Election Preview | Nicholasville City Council

Below are questions The Jessamine Journal asked each candidate and these are their responses.

Discuss your interest in serving on the City Council. 

BLACK: First of all, I think every person should have a voice. I have always been interested in civics. The rights of citizenship and duties of citizens. I believe every citizen should should make every effort to be informed of affairs in their community and perticipate in it’s improvement. I enjoy helping people solve their problems when they feel local government is not listening to them. I tell them that I will and then answer to their concerns and I will tell them that answer even if it is not the answer they wish to hear. I believe we should all strive to make our community a better place.

WILLIAMS: I have always had an interest in our city as a whole, from working with the youth programs for 30-plus years of life. I have been a city commissioner that has let me be able to work with and for the public, which I enjoy everyday. 

ARDERY: What started out as a passing thought in 2012 slowly became a strong point of interest to me, due mostly to service to the people in the military, with the American Red Cross, on mission trips, and through the church.

The goal of the commissioner should be to serve the citizens of Nicholasville above all else.

GOLDEY: I am a lifelong resident of Jessamine County, and my family has served in many different public service areas in this county and Kentucky. I have a deep love and respect for this place that will always be my and my families home. These facts have instilled in me the responsibility to serve my community to the best of my ability.

BLACKFORD: My interest in serving this city is simply to give back to the community that I grew up in and think so much of.  It is important to me to create a financially stable city and develop a community that attracts people to want to raise their families in Nicholasville.

MARTIN: I was mayor from 2003-2006, and I have been serving the public in many volunteer and paid capacities during my adult life and I would like the opportunity to serve the people once again.

TEATER: This is my hometown. I grew up here, have raised my children here, and it’s now home to my grandchildren. I’ve always had an interest in public service, and am enthusiastic about advocating for positive change for Nicholasville. My parents taught me to “always leave things better than you found them”. I think the same philosophy applies here. Nicholasville is a great place to grow up, and my commitment is to ensure that it remains so.

What do you perceive as the three most important concerns facing Nicholasville?

BLACK:

• Most any issues that face the City of Nicholasville can be traced back to the growth of the City.

• Our population is growing at a much faster pace than what we are capable of adequately handling

• The Nicholasville Police Department is the ninth (9th) largest department in the state, yet we do not have proper facility for our officers to operate out of.

WILLIAMS:

• Public safety – we have had, and will have, several police officers retire, it is a long process in replacement that will take some time.

• Growth – we are now the 10th largest city in the state. As we grow, everything has to be in place to make it work. There is a lot of planning that has to go with that. This also takes time.

• Concerns of the citizens – that is important. We have to listen to the public and make the right decisions for them. To make our city what it is and what it will be.

ARDERY:

• Pay increases for police and fire consistent with time and grade rather than a set amount across the board regardless of time and experience.

• Putting the safety of our children first and foremost by taking legislative action to protect them from the potential dangers of those who would do them harm for their own personal gain.

• To actively work closely with individuals and organizations focused on drug rehabilitation, addressing homelessness, and involvement with foster/adoption services.

GOLDEY:

• Proper planning is required for a community our size. Just simply “keeping up” will not be enough as we continue to grow and serve more residents and business. Knee-jerk reactions and solutions must become a thing of the past.

• Adequate staffing and properly equipping our Public Safety, Public Works and Utility Departments are a must.

  We must reinvigorate our Parks and Recreation Department and help the very capable leadership and staff do their jobs by providing the needed resources and support they and our community deserve.

BLACKFORD:

• Drug Epidemic

• Creating new jobs

•Providing quality infrastructure for the future.

MARTIN:

• Jobs — we need to improve the effort to bring more jobs to Nicholasville. We need to promote Nicholasville more.   I have some specific ideas that I cannot address here at this time.  However, we cannot keep doing the same thing year after year and expect a different result; we need to make some badly needed changes.

• ISO Rating: We need to work with our fire department to improve our ISO rating to help homeowners lower their homeowner’s insurance rates by at least the 8 percent it increased in the past few years.

• Improve pay of Police and Fire Fighters — Prevent losing police and firefighters to better paying cities. I understand the city is presently working on this problem. 

TEATER:

• Illegal Drugs

• Abandoned and deteriorating property

• Transient population

All cities are facing fiscal challenges, how would you address balancing the budget and consider various alternatives and tradeoffs?

BLACK: Every department must be willing to work to balance the budget. As Commissioner of Public Safety, I can tell you that the Nicholasville Police Department has been utilizing forfeited monies taken from drug dealers to offset budget cuts and to reduce the amount of money requested annually for their departments, ability to do their job. Necessary, yet costly equipment purchases, such as cruisers, radios, body cameras, tasers, rearms, among others have been purchased with the money. The money that has been saved helps the city balance the budget plus have money to use in other areas.

WILLIAMS: Our city is in financial standing as very good. We have a bond rating that not many cities have. That ww are board keep all budgets in check. We should not have to raise taxes.

Alterative and trade off. I think that would have to be looked alas it came before us. At that time, make cuts as needed. At this time I don’t see too many problems in the days to come.

ARDERY: On various occasions, the commission is faced with items affecting our budget. It is the job of the commission to determine what items are best served to improve Nicholasville for everyone. Looking at a nearly $8M surplus built up over the years since 2008, it’s time to spare the funds to bring our staffing, equipment, and location of emergency services up to par with the citizens of Nicholasville’s needs.

GOLDEY: In recent years, the City Commission has done more than an adequate job raising additional taxes and fees (i.e., increase the Insurance Premium Tax, Natural Gas Franchise Fee and alcohol tax). It is now time to prudently and responsibly use the resources available to provide the services our community deserves. Efforts to combine services with the county government, as we did in the 1990’s, can also be an effective way to help both governments, and reduce the tax burden on the public.

BLACKFORD: I know the challenges of balancing a budget.  In 2008-2009 our city faced the worst recession since the Great Depression.  We were able to balance the budget by responsible growth that created revenue, conservative spending throughout the city and working closely with city employees in maximizing year to year budgets.  Hence, taking the “rainy day” fund from just under a half a million dollars to an increased amount of six million dollars today.

MARTIN: I would balance the budget like I would my own checkbook by not spending more than I am taking in, in revenues. If capital projects are needed; get low interest bonds. Make sure the payments do not exceed your budget. I would also research what other government agencies are doing to lower spending.

Merge services with other government agencies so we can lower the cost of services.  Unfortunately, many local government agencies have resisted doing this. It seems to be a power thing.

We could also lower cost through attrition. Not always filling vacant positions.

TEATER: It is a huge responsibility being one of five people making decisions for the 10th largest city in the state. And that is a task that I will never take lightly. Nicholasville has grown exponentially in the last two decades and with that growth comes challenges. Obviously, controlled and smart spending should always be on the forefront of keeping the budget on track. But we also have to be creative in ways to generate additional revenue, without causing extra financial strain to citizens. I’m very proud of the fact that we have maintained a balanced budget.

What can you do as a City Commissioner to combat the drug/heroin epidemic in Nicholasville?

BLACK: I feel that we must continue to work at the epidemic much in the same way we have been, while continuing to learn and adapt to the ever- changing drug problems. The City of Nicholasville is no different than any other city in Kentucky. There isn’t one community who is not affected by this epidemic.

WILLIAMS: Work with our people in Frankfort. Give our police department all the support and tools to work with to get the job done, this is not an easy task. We see it everyday, it is a battle not only here but across the United States of America.

ARDERY: Continually approving programs that benefit the drug user and making them exempt from charges in certain circumstances is not high on my list of getting excited about. Part of doing the right thing is being willing to suffer the consequences of your initial actions. Epidemics don’t go away by making certain aspects of them legal.

GOLDEY: Addiction problems cross all boundaries and are not exclusive to any socioeconomic groups. From alcohol abuse, prescription abuse, or illegal drug abuse. As a city government, we need to adequately fund and staff our police department in their efforts, educate (DARE program), enforce and have enough public presence in our community. At a recent City Commission meeting, our Police Chief explained the shortage of officers in the Department. This has to be appropriately dealt with.

BLACKFORD: We have to enforce maximum penalties on drug dealers and their suppliers.  I will continue to support legislation for this.  Secondly, we have to have programs in place to help support and treat those with addictions.

MARTIN: I will do more research to see what is working in other places and discuss it in our city meetings. There is not very much a city can do other than to help enforce existing laws and help promote rehabilitation facilities rather than incarceration of addicted persons through our legislators and courts.  We can continue working with the DARE program teaching the young people, and we should expand it to the seniors in our high schools, also. We need to work with the judges to make sure they don’t release drug dealers from jail too early.  I am not sure how well the needle exchange program is doing at this time. I don’t see it as preventing drug use; it may just prevent other diseases from becoming epidemics within our community.

TEATER: First, we have to admit that this is a public health crisis! Heroin is cheap, accessible, highly addictive and unpredictable. It does not discriminate which lives it affects. Our focus should be on education, prevention, and treatment. We need to pool our resources and make a strong and united stance with families, schools, health organizations, and government agencies. I am committed to providing the resources our police force needs to battle this epidemic.