Johnson challenges

Published 10:29 pm Saturday, October 18, 2014

Holy Neck candidates speak

This is the third weekend of a series of stories about City Council candidates. A story about the candidate for Chuckatuck ran on Oct. 5, Cypress ran on Oct. 12. Look for Suffolk on Oct. 26.

The challenger in this year’s Holy Neck race for City Council is Tim Johnson, a well-known figure in the area as the owner of Johnson’s Gardens.

A Virginia Tech graduate, Johnson said he’s “convinced we’re not heading in the right direction” and said he has a number of concerns that have spurred him to run.

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“I really think people are fed up with all of the back-door politics,” Johnson said. “I just have so many concerns. I think there’s a lot this city needs to talk about.”

Johnson considers himself a financial person and said he wants the city to stop going into so much debt.

“Our capital budget has just gone through the roof,” he said, adding he thinks the new AAA credit rating is good but hopes it won’t be used to rationalize more debt.

He also said he wants to eliminate an assortment of fees citizens have been saddled with recent years, including a $17.50 per month trash and recycling fee and a $10 per year alarm system fee. Residents whose alarm systems register false alarms are charged additional fees.

“We can’t keep piling these fees on people,” Johnson said.

He said Suffolk should appeal to the state for more money to fix Route 58.

The city also needs to at least look at raises for city employees every year, he said.

“We need to look out for our city employees,” he said.

He also said the schools should be improved.

“I am so sad that our schools are not the best in Tidewater, when they could easily be,” he said. “Our schools have been lacking for a while, and we need to step up. Let’s be the system that went the extra mile and figured it out.”

Johnson said the city and schools should explore more joint partnerships.

The agricultural community in the city, which includes a large portion of the Holy Neck Borough, also should be supported, Johnson said.

“I think what I offer is a fresh approach,” he said. “I’ve got to try to make a difference.”