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Alexandria Voters to Consider Mayoral, Council Candidates

Alexandria voters will consider candidates for mayor and city council.

RCN's Carrie Crotzer posed questions to the candidates that she could reach. Those candidates wishing to be added to the article can contact Carrie via email at [email protected].

MAYOR

Andy Schabell

What is your motivation to be a part of Mayor?

I’ve been on council for six years, so I think that’s enough time to learn how city government runs, but not too long to where I’m complacent. What I’m doing is wanting to bring a fresh and new perspective on things. The current mayor has been in there for eight years and I believe that all government, from city council to president, need to change over eventually. It’s always good for our country to have new people in different spots.

What makes you qualified to be a part of city council?

I’ve been in management positions for almost 15 years now, so I know how to work with people and balance budgets. I’ve been on city council now for six years so I’ve got that going for me, I’m not just coming in off the street trying to figure out what’s going on.

What issues in your community do you want to focus on in your time on council?

We started a new gross receipts tax that we started that businesses could be taxed up to $25,000, so we went from a $75 business license to a tax that can cost them up to $25,000 a year. I think that we need to seriously look at it and adjust it to make us more competitive. Communication, too. I want to be a very open mayor. If there is something that’s going to happen with the businesses, I want everyone to know. If there’s construction with the streets, I want every resident to know…

And another thing is that a lot of businesses have been leaving or closing in Alexandria and I want to make us a real business friendly town. We don’t want to make it like a Florence area, but we do want to have the store fronts occupied. Another thing that a lot of people have talked about is speeding in neighborhoods, and our police are stretched so thin. They do a good job, but they’re also fighting a heroin epidemic and we need a way to make drivers slow down, whether by speed bumps or other speed calming devices, it needs to be a top priority.

How do you plan to engage with community members?

First off, I’ll go to all the businesses, I want to know who they are and engage with them, face to face or by email and if we’re going to do something that is going to affect them, let them know and have them give us their input before we pass it.

How do you plan to address budgetary concerns as state pension costs are set to increase yearly?

What we did to help with this was the gross receipts tax, but what we did with that was we went too far, so we need to scale that back to where we can meet all of the pension and budget needs, but not be taking all of the taxpayers dollars.

andy4alexandria.com

Other Candidates

William Rachford (incumbent)

CITY COUNCIL

Sue Stein Neltner (incumbent)

What is your motivation to be part of city council?

I want to make Alexandria a better community for our future and to help it to grow in a positive and well planned out direction.

What qualified you over other candidates to be a part of city council?

After sitting on council for the past 4 years, I have made suggestions that have been implemented such as our Municipal Parking lot on Main Street; it has been needed for years. I helped bring Taco Bell to town and I am currently communicating with several larger restaurants that would compliment Alexandria in a positive manner. I am thinking outside the box.

What issues in your community do you want to focus on in your time on council?

I would continue to listen to the citizens and businesses about their concerns. To make sure we keep our existing businesses and help attract new ones to our community. Planned growth is important and should be considered with every decision made.

How do you plan to engage with community members?

I would like to have council meet and greet in the various subdivisions to listen to their specific needs. It can be hard for people to get out and come to our meetings, go to the people. I will continue to have my phone number and email available to all the citizens.

How do you plan to address budgetary concerns as state pension costs are set to increase yearly?

This one is tough because if you are not a member of the finance committee you don’t get to look over the budget before it is presented to the council for a vote. You don’t get to see the big picture on how the budget is managed or how the departments really spend the money. I would ask more questions and expect to see a more details on the line items before I vote on the budget.

Stacey Graus (incumbent)

What is your motivation to be a part of city council?

I have seen the growth, and I don’t just mean population, but I’ve seen the city mature over the last 20 years. I think the city of Alexandria has matured to the point that it’s a really nice city to live in. We’ve added the park and the roads are so much better, we’ve extended the sidewalks.

It’s a really nice community to live, raise your family and now even retire.

What  makes you qualified to be a part of city council?

[Graus has served on council for the last 20 years] We have six committees and I have served on all of them so I’m well aware of what goes on with them all. Our most important committee is the finance committee, which I’ve been on for several years. I think that’s the most important thing is that I’ve got knowledge of the public works issues, of the finance issues, with regard to beautification and the park.

What issues in your community do you want to focus on in your time on council?

In the next few years, finance issues are always going to be there, as far as making sure we have the finances to do the things we want to do, especially with [road maintenance].

We’re being proactive with drug issues, so it’d be great to add another social worker, which we were the first city to have a full-time social worker on our staff and that’s been invaluable.

How do you plan to engage with community members?

Number one, we have meetings the first and third Thursday, but I know not everyone can get to those. My email is on the city website and I’ll respond to people there. I’m pretty accessible. They can call me anytime they want. We’ve had a couple Town Hall meetings and I think those are very effective. Having one or two of those each year opens the floor and let’s people come in and say what they want to see done.

How do you plan to address budgetary concerns as state pension costs are set to increase yearly?

That outpaces what revenue generates, so you’re going to have to pull from another resource, and that’s why we went ahead with the gross receipts tax is that we’ve got that ever burdening pension costs and unless there’s reform we’re going to continue to have that issue. So what we did was create the gross receipts tax and with that we can still contribute and have the money we need to take care of roads, sidewalks and police.

Scott Fleckinger (incumbent)

What is your motivation to be a part of city council?

I feel I do a good job and I think level-headed people need to be there. I own a business in the county and so it’s a natural thing to want to help and give back.

What  makes you qualified to be a part of city council?

I have 12 years experience on council and I also have the business background. I’m almost a lifelong resident as well.

What issues in your community do you want to focus on in your time on council?

I want to help Alexandria in the path that it’s on and grow in a sensible manor. We are growing in leaps and bounds right now, so we need to make sure services are kept up with police and public works. The infrastructure has to grow with the population.

How do you plan to engage with community members?

My business is open 50 hours a week, so everyone knows where to find me. Everyone is certainly welcome to come in and have a cup of coffee and talk about the issues. I’m well-known enough that everyone knows where to find me.

How do you plan to address budgetary concerns as state pension costs are set to increase yearly?

I’ve been on the finance committee for 12 years and been the chair for 10, so none of this is a surprise to me. We’ve been dealing with it for several years and unfortunately the state dumped it on us, so it’s our responsibility to take care of it. So we have to take care of it and stand up to the task.

Other candidates:

Bob Simon (incumbent)

Susan Vanlandingham (incumbent)

Kyle Sparks

Thomas Baldridge

Joe Anderson (formerly served)

John Michael Beaupre