Election Q&A series: Ward Six hopefuls answer questions
Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Editor’s Note: Today, The Daily Leader continues a question-and-answer series highlighting candidates participating in Brookhaven’s upcoming municipal elections. Today’s responses are from Ward Six alderman candidates. David Phillips is running as an independent while Mack Gipson and David McCoy are Democratic candidates. Responses appear as submitted by the candidates.
1. When voters go to the polls on June 4 to elect municipal officials, they will also have the opportunity to legalize the sale of alcohol within the Brookhaven city limits. If voters do legalize liquor sales, the Board of Aldermen must make a choice: The board can either restrict alcohol to by-the-glass sales in restaurants or allow package stores. If elected, which option will you support? What are the benefits of the option you favor?
Mackie Gipson: Package stores, Because of the tax Revenues it will Bring to our city.
David McCoy: If elected, I will support by the glass sales in restaurants. The benefits to choosing the glass sales over package stores are many however, I will highlight two: First, choosing glass sales will eliminate having package stores all over Brookhaven. Secondly, glass sales will allowed the City of Brookhaven the chance to recruit national/major chain restaurant into the city. Giving new and existing restaurants this choice of liquor by the glass could boost sales and create new businesses, which in turn create new and more jobs. We would keep some money in Brookhaven, rather than seeing it go to the surrounding towns and cities. Brookhaven needs jobs and revenue.
David Phillips: The voters will decide whether to allow alcohol sales in Brookhaven. If passed, it will be the city board’s responsibility to create an ordinance that will control the sale of alcohol and wine. I would support alcohol and wine by the glass in a restaurant setting with at least 60% of sales coming from food service. I would support alcohol sales only in C-3 highway commercial zones and the Central Business District, and would favor annual reporting to the City Clerk’s office as to the percentage of food to alcohol sales. I believe this plan would help control locations, consumption and availability while helping create a stronger restaurant industry.
2. What do you see as the most significant infrastructure needs in the city? Given the still struggling economy and tight finances the city has faced, how would you go about prioritizing these needs?
Mackie Gipson: That’s a good question, But it can be dealt with. With a Strong Alderman of Character, Integrity, and Trust. It’s what I Stand for.
David McCoy: What I see as the most significant infrastructure needs in the city is our drainage problem, the lack of side walks, and condition of our streets, especially in Ward 6 and several other wards in the city. Although money is tight, we have to maintain the infrastructure of the city. I would prioritize by “most needed” what is needed the most while, still keeping a close watchful eye on all the other city infrastructure. I want to take a pro-active approach to the city infrastructure needs.
David Phillips: Without a doubt, water and sewer installation and repair is the most significant infrastructure need in the city. Over the past four years, the city has used CDBG grants to have a multiplier effect on taxpayer money to do over $1,650,000 worth of water and sewer work, and has approved another $2,000,000. By state law, water and sewer service must be self-funding through the rates paid by water customers. With an estimated 30 to 40 million dollars in cost to complete water and sewer work, the board has chosen to implement these improvements incrementally due to the rate burden it would place on our 4200 households.
3. What opportunities do you see in city government to cut costs and ease the taxpayers’ burdens?
Mackie Gipson: The vote yes on Alcohol. This will Bring High Revenue to The City of Brookhaven.
David McCoy: Being pro-active in city government. We need to be on our job doing as much preventive city maintenance as possible. Look at securing any state/federal grants that the city could and should apply for. Making sure the city gets the most bang for the buck.
David Phillips: We must continue to manage our employee cost, which is our single largest expense. Citizens expect us to provide essential public services such as fire protection, streets, water and sewer, garbage and solid waste removal in the most efficient manner possible. On the revenue side, city government must lay the groundwork to increase our retail sector pull and become the destination city in Southwest MS for shopping, dining and other services. Our sales tax dollars make up almost 58% of the general fund revenue, so increasing this sector is a win for jobs and taxpayers in Brookhaven.
4. In your opinion, what could improve Brookhaven the most? How would you as an alderman make this possible?
Mackie Gipson: Pay more attention To The infrastructure in your Ward, Our Roads and Highways are a mess.
David McCoy: Making sure, our community have the best opportunities to a great education, employment, and job training. As an alderman, I would help make this possible by working with the mayor and other alderman to ensure that we appoint good people to our Brookhaven School Board, and by working with the chamber and business community to recruite businesses/companies to locate in our city.
David Phillips: We must create an image of Brookhaven as a well-educated, industrious and successful community that operates on a higher level and provides a high quality of life for our citizens. We must be able to compete on all levels with the most successful communities in the state. We must demand excellence in our government, schools, and our private sector to attract jobs and investment that gives us a higher household income and a better standard of living.
5. What are your reasons for seeking this office and why should voters elect you to the board?
Mackie Gipson: Because there are much To be done, and it seems Like We’ve been Forgotten about. So I am Here To Change Things.
David McCoy: After almost four years of seeing no progress in ward 6, my ward, I decided it was my civic duty to get up and get involved. I was borned and raised in Brookhaven. I have a family that lives in Brookhaven. I want my children to be able to get a good high paying job, which will allow them the opportunity to raise their family in Brookhaven The voters of ward 6 should elect me as their alderman because I will answer their CALLS. I will listen to their concerns and be their voice in government.
David Phillips: I am seeking re-election to continue offering my 37 years of business experience and 5 years experience as an alderman to the city I love. I feel this experience is important as I continue to push for fiscal responsibility, workforce management, planning and execution of our water and sewer expansion, and work to create an image of a successful community that provides a high quality of life for its citizens.