Challenger, Suffolk Borough
Q. What are the top three issues facing Suffolk today and your thoughts for addressing those issues?
A. Property assessments and tax rate: Lowering of mill rate without loss of services
Public safety and youth violence: Additional staff and outreach programs
Smart growth: Use common sense approach
Q. What are the top issues for the people in the borough you seek to represent?
A. Property assessments and tax rate
Public safety and youth violence
Q. Transportation is playing out as a big issue in both state and local political arenas this year.
What, in your opinion, are the most critical transportation needs facing the city today?
A. Road maintenance and improvements to accommodate additional truck and railroad congestion due to container port enlargement.
Q. The Kings Highway Bridge continues to be a sore spot between the city, the Virginia Department of Transportation and citizens in the Chuckatuck and Driver communities. What does the city
need to do address the issue?
A. Let those who have plans and ideas come forward with them and have an open mind about the options that are available to repair and fix the bridge for weight-limited traffic.
Q. Suffolk is one of the fastest growing cities in Virginia.
What needs to be done to make sure the city is able toaccommodate the growing demands being placed on our schools, roads, and city services?
A. Implement shared cost programs for developers, both commercial and residential,
through common sense and smart growth planning.
The city has experienced a surge in youth and gang-related violence in recent months.
What needs to happen in order to turn the tide on juvenile violence in Suffolk?
A. The whole community — public and private — needs to seek out the problems and address them as they are found as a whole, not as a city or citizens but together.
The city must have
activities for those people considered “at-risk” through church, city and community services to keep them out of harm’s way.
Q.Real estate assessments in Suffolk continue to soar each year,
which, in effect, is a property tax increase unless City Council
offsets it be reducing the mill rate.
Do you think property
owners are paying too much in taxes to the city?
How much of a reduction in the mill rate would you support and what do you think should be cut from the budget to accommodate the reduction?
A.Yes, property owners are paying too much. The mill rate should
be cut no less than 20 cents per $100 of assessed property value.
I cannot answer the last part of this question as no budget has been proposed or passed with line items for comparison from year to year.
(Editor’s note: City Council candidate questionnaires were due to be returned to the News-Herald on April 16. The city’s manager did not release his recommended budget until the April 19 council meeting.)