Incumbent candidate for Covington City Council Mike Whatley believes the three most important issues facing the city are growth, increased crime and poverty.
Responding to a candidate survey with questions from various local civic organizations, compiled by The News and distributed to all candidates for municipal office in contested races, Whatley wrote that if re-elected he would address the growth issue by making timely, cost effective and predictable decisions on smart growth projects.
Whatley, who is running for his third term for the Post 2 East Ward seat, wrote that the city's increased crime could be addressed by additional mixed-land use projects which enhance perceived security by increasing the number of people on the street.
According to Whatley the poverty issue should be addressed through the promotion of a wide range of housing-opportunities and choices.
Responding to a question from Smart Growth Newton on whether he is in support of impact fees, Whatley answered, "Yes, there should be some economic support by those businesses/industries and residential developments that adversely impact our infrastructure. The long-established communities should not have to financially support the new growth.
Asked by The Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce what infrastructure he believes is critical to prepare the city for future economic development, Whatley who sits on the board of The Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority, answered "Water and sewer capacity is always foremost to provide and prepare for economic development."
Whatley wrote that he would be open to discussing a moratorium on new construction projects while the county assesses its available water resources.
"I would be willing to discuss a moratorium if our water concerns are ever severe enough," wrote Whatley. "We have great water resources and possibilities - we just need to put our plans in high gear."
Responding to a question from FaithWorks on what the city government should do to reduce the burden of high utility bills on city customers, Whatley answered, "The council should do everything we can to insure the rates the utilities demand are the absolute lowest we can charge and at the same time provide quality services."
Continued Whatley, "The council has appointed a committee to determine if there is program that can be established for that purpose."
Whatley is running against Bobby Sigman, a former Covington City Councilmember and a former state representative.
To read Whatley's full responses to questions from Smart Growth Newton, the Covington/Newton County Chamber of Commerce, Keep Covington/Newton Beautiful, FaithWorks and The Arts Association in Newton County visit the link below.