The following are the responses of the incumbent candidate for Mayor of Porterdale, Bobby Hamby, to a series of questions posed by local civic organizations, compiled by The News and distributed to all municipal candidates in contested races.
How will you foster cooperative relationships between your city and
I have a very good working relationship with
What are the three most important issues facing your community, and how do the 10 principles of Smart Growth apply or help address these issues?
The first issue is the revitalization of our downtown. This is foremost on the list. We have to foster the economic development of the downtown area and at the same time preserve our history and the historical properties. Without our history, we have no foundation.
The second issue is to manage the residential growth. We need to promote a good mix of housing to serve our citizens. What I want is for someone to have the opportunity to start out in Porterdale, and, as their family grows and becomes more successful, have the opportunity to step up in the quality and price of their housing. Then, as they downsize later in life, have the opportunity to choose again. They would have been able to do all this within Porterdale.
The third issue is to maintain our infrastructure. We have just completed replacing the water lines on the south side of the
In its earlier years, Porterdale was the original Smart Growth community. It was a place where you could work, shop, play and worship - all within walking distance of your home.
How do you feel about the disproportionate level of housing versus commercial/industry in the community?
This is an issue that not only Porterdale but also the county and other cities face. It is imperative that we attract more commercial and industry to our county. I am confident that this will happen. Normally the commercial follows residential, and we now have an abundance of residential housing.
What would you like to see implemented to make the ratio more in line of where it should be (approximately 60 percent residential and 40 percent commercial/ industry compared to the 80 percent residential and 20 percent commercial/ industry)?
We need to attract the commercial and retail to the area that will be convenient to the residents. Most of the county's population is in the western half. It is more convenient for these citizens to go to Rockdale to shop, eat, etc. We have to locate the retail and commercial area closer and more convenient to these residents. I believe the area along
Where in Porterdale should development and growth be focused, and why? What should the city do to facilitate this growth in this area?
We have some areas around our downtown that can still be developed for needed services such as a bank, grocery store, drug store, etc. But the area outside of Porterdale is where this development will most likely take place. The best choices would be along
What infrastructure do you consider critical for Porterdale to provide to prepare for future economic development? The rewards of economic development tend to go to the communities that have invested in themselves, thus making the investor feel confident that it is a mutual investment.
Porterdale is well prepared for economic development with our infrastructure. I was instrumental in Porterdale acquiring 200,000 gallons per day of additional sewer treatment capacity. This will allow Porterdale to grow over the next 10 to 15 years. Our water system has been upgraded, and many of our sidewalks have been replaced.
Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful:
What are your views on a stronger tree preservation and landscape ordinance?
In 2006 I worked with Georgia Forestry and the US Forestry on a grant to plant 20 new trees in the parks of Porterdale. I hope to continue working in this direction and to become a tree city. When I was a child, Porterdale was a beautiful place with tree lined streets and landscaped parks. I will work to see it that way again.
Would you be willing to place a moratorium on new construction while we figure out available water resources?
In consideration of the drought conditions we have had to face this year, we must, as a community, look at all possible water resources, such as building the second reserve. Also we need to look at the Yellow River and
What are your views on local trails, i.e. biking and walking paths?
I have been a supporter of the trails system for years. I want our citizens to have the opportunity to walk or bike from Porterdale to
What would you do to help provide increased maintenance of our city streets and right-of-ways?
Maintenance of our streets and right-of-ways takes money and lots of it! SPLOST is one of the ways to generate the money needed for streets. I will work to see that Porterdale receives its fair share of the next SPLOST. Also, we, as a community, have to look for new ways to generate the needed funds.
Would you support giving more support to local code enforcement officers and police to help clean up some of our blighted business and residential areas?
In 2007 we hired a full time code enforcement officer and, with the codes in place, have been able to start the clean-up of Porterdale. If you look at the city today, you can see the effort that has already been made. Our image will continue to improve because this effort will continue.
What role do you believe the city government should play in addressing poverty among its citizens and what specific steps would you take?
This past year, I asked the city council to apply for the Community Home Investment Program Grant. The CHIP funds would have been used for the rehabilitation of decent, safe and sanitary housing needs of low income families within our community. It would also provide down payment assistance for first time homeownership. Unfortunately we did not receive this grant, but we will apply again this year. I want the citizens of Porterdale to be able to stay in their homes and maintain them no matter what their income.
Arts Association in
What is the role of an arts community in the health of a city?
A healthy community is one that is well-rounded. In a well-rounded community, there are people with varied interests, one of those interests often being the arts. There should be opportunity for these people to pursue their interests.
Do you think Porterdale could better support its artists and art community? How?
Porterdale is fortunate to have its own art gallery that displays various forms of art. On many occasions the gallery has had events to allow artists and patrons to come together and share their love for the arts. Porterdale's picturesque setting has been the subject of many local artists. I would like to see even more artists capture Porterdale's charm in various artistic ways.
Have the arts received their fair share of public and governmental support in this community?
Before the Porterdale gymnasium was burned by an arsonist, plans were under way to renovate it in a way that would allow community plays to be held there. Now my desire is, that when the gym is rebuilt, we will have a facility to offer opportunities for the performing arts.
Porterdale is a unique community, rich in history and charm; an asset not yet realized by the citizens of