Bennett runs in new borough

Published 10:47 pm Saturday, October 11, 2014

Former City Councilman Leroy Bennett is running in his new district, and he believes he can move seamlessly back into the role.

Bennett was drawn out of what was then the Nansemond Borough and into Cypress during the 2011-12 process. He had served the Nansemond Borough for 16 years.

“I think I could work with the council again,” Bennett said. “I feel like I can work with anyone.”

Email newsletter signup

A Newport News Shipyard retiree and Navy veteran, Bennett said he enjoyed working with the people in his borough while he was on council previously.

“I was able to get the people to trust me and believe in me,” he said.

Bennett said he believes better communication between City Council and School Board should be a top priority.

“We’ve had a terrible line of communication,” he said. “I think we need to do more, and by more I mean more regular. I think we should meet more than once each year and make sure we understand what the School Board’s needs are.”

Bennett also said continuing to bump up salaries for city employees is important. A pay study conducted several years ago “was old when it was presented,” he said, and therefore doesn’t fairly reflect today’s market. Bonuses that have been offered in past years were “sort of a slap in the face,” he said. “A bonus doesn’t help anyone.”

He said further raises should help employees that are “actually in the trenches,” rather than higher-level administrators.

He said he’s concerned about fees that have been imposed on citizens, or gone up tremendously, in recent years. He said people tell him they do their laundry at a public facility rather than in their own homes because it’s cheaper.

“And they still haven’t gotten over the $17.50” monthly trash fee he said, also noting that a $10 a year registration fee for home alarm systems is a point of contention.

“They feel like they’re getting a fee on something they’re not guilty of,” he said.

He also said he wants to focus on activities for young people.

“There’s still a lack of things the kids can go to,” he said, especially noting he wants to help improve the availability of swimming lessons.

He also said job training is a need in the city.

“You need to have a good workforce to fulfill the jobs that are coming,” he said.