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Hope Mills Candidates

Up & Coming Weekly sent a questionnaire to local candidates. Below are the responses from the Hope Mills candidates, which were not included in the paper edition of the 10/30 Election Guide.

  

Bob Gorman

Commissioner

 

Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?

 

Hope Mills is part of the Cumberland County 2030 plan and also participating in the Southwest Cumberland Detailed Land  Use Plan. We have incorporated ordinances from the Cumberland County Planning to manage development with in the town of Hope Mills.  

 

With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

 

Hope Mills is very fortunate to have the very best Police Department working for the citizens. One of my top three priorities if elected is to work with the Board of Commissioners, the Town Manager and staff to upgrade our Public Safety Departments. Both our Fire Department and Police Department have out grown their buildings and also need additional men and equipment. As for the crime rate, Hope Mills Police calls volume is up going along with the increase in population, but from January 2012 to October 2012 vs. January 2013 to October 2013 the Property Crime Statistics actually has dropped 5 percent from 912 to 864 or -48 crimes. The violent crimes are up 9 percent from the previous year 44 to 48 or +4 crimes. The Town Manager and its staff will be working with the Police Chief and his staff to come up with a 5-year plan to increase the sworn Officers from the present number of 39 to 45 in the next five years to accommodate expected population growth. This is some of the plans that will address the issue of crime and volume of service calls. They will then present this to the Board of Commissioners for their approval. 

 

Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?

 

The Hope Mills Board of Commissioners had its positive and negative issues this last two years. The five Commissioner seats and the Mayor seat will be up for election on November 5, 2013. Whoever is elected will be faced with some difficult decisions for the next two years. I feel like this board needs to be focused on the positives, rather than the negatives and move forward. The past we cannot do anything about, but in the future we can work together as a team to make Hope Mills the very best. We can utilize the League of Municipalities and School of Government to help train board members in their roles and responsibilities as Commissioners.  

 

What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?

 

The Hope Mills legal team has been working on the litigation of the Hope Mills Dam for the last year and 1/2. The Hope Mills Legal team is having a meeting with the Judge Spainhour and all parties involved on October 24, 2013 to discuss the scheduling. 

What is your number one priority for the town?

 

Hope Mills Lake is one of the biggest priorities for the next two years. The Board of Commissioners will be faced with the on going litigation that if not settled on April 30, 2014 at the Mediated Settlement hearing, the law suit will go to trial on July 28, 2014.

 

In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?

 

I have been a Hope Mills Commissioner for the past 10 years. I have gained a wealth of knowledge and experience and have always been honest and consider integrity to be very important in my personal life as well as conducting Hope Mills business as an elected official. In my regular job I am an account executive for Holland Freight and have been in management for the past 33 years doing everything from dispatch, supervisor, terminal manager and at the present time, I am an account executive. I would like to thank the citizens of Hope Mills for the opportunity to serve you over the last 10 years and I would appreciate your support and vote on November 5, 2013 for the position of Hope Mills Commissioner.

 

Jerry Legge

Commissioner

 

Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?

 

I think that the town should do a study and look hard at doing a moratorium on residential building until the infrastructure catches up. The roads are already a major concern in our area and if we build 100 additional residential structures without road improvements, then that would be about 200 extra cars on what is already crowded  roads and inner city streets each day. We should work with the Board of Education to ensure that the schools can handle the growth of 1.7 children per household. I call this planned growth.

 

With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

 

Watch programs may be the best tool to help in this area because extra eyes and ears will help our officers. At this time, I don't believe that we have a growing crime problem in Hope Mills because our police department does such a good job.

 

After much research, I found that the deal number of sworn police officer for Hope Mills should be two per every 1,000 people and we are at 15,000 plus people which means we need about 30 officers. We have 39 sworn officers, this number also includes our detectives. 

 

Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?

 

The board should be a team. It is not a place for people with personal agendas. Classes can be conducted to help with the training for the elected. The residents of our town control which candidates are elected to represent them. Obviously we have had our share of issues this term, so at this point, it is up to the residents to find the source of the issues and remove it. Being an elected official should be treated as a privilege, not a right.

 

What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?

 

The "end game" is the dam being restored and I think that should be done at no cost to the town, state or federal taxpayers. We are in a lawsuit against the contractors to recover our people’s monies right now. Unfortunately, there are no easy fixes and we have to let it work itself out in court.

 

What is your number one priority for the town?

 

I want to see peace and stability in our town board so that we can concentrate, as a team, on the issues that are important such as restoring Hope Mills Lake back to what it used to be.

 

In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?

 

I feel that I have good leadership skills as I have served as a commissioner for the people of Hope Mills for 11 years. I am also the retired owner of Better Built Builders Construction Company for over 25 years. I am a former member of the Planning Board, Zoning Board, Finance Committee and The Quality of Life Committee. I also have been a member of the Hope Mills Youth Association Board of Directors for over 25 years and a coach in that program for over 27 years.

 

Note:

I believe in God and our country, I support our troops and that children are our future. I do not believe in forced annexation and think that our employees’ pay scale should be competitive with the same classified jobs in our geographical area.

 

I believe that if you always tell the truth, you never have to worry about remembering what you said.

 

I am happily married to Diana Millen Legge. We have three married daughters Tammy, Chrissy and Bobbi Jo and we have eight wonderful grandchildren.

 

Jessie Bellflowers

Commissioner

 

Greetings! I am Jessie Bellflowers, who is running as a write-in candidate for one of the five positions on the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners. My family and I have lived in the Hope Mills community since 1996. I currently serve as a Business Administration Instructor for Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC) since July 2003, after retiring from the United States Army with 26 years of service to our great nation. I hold a Master of Business Administration (MBA) degree from Webster University and pursuing a doctorate in Organization/Management from Capella University, and a graduate of the Institute for Community Leadership.

 

Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?

 

Hope Mills is one of the fastest growing communities in our state and will continue to grow over the next several years. However, over past years, commercial and residential growth leads town infrastructure and services growth. One of the enormous challenges will be to address our town’s aging infrastructure where public safety, sanitation, and limited community recreational opportunities are high priorities. These challenges may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life, commercial/residential growth, and economic development. To meet these challenges, the next town board must approve funding in support of a short/long term infrastructure needs as identified in a workable Capital Improvement Comprehensive Plan. The answer is to stop wasteful spending and fund a Capital Improvement Plan to address our town’s aging infrastructure. We must also use smart innovative and proactive planning approaches toward managing commercial/residential growth.

 

With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

 

According to the latest Hope Mills police crime statistical reports, our Hope Mills community does not have a growing crime problem. The credit for low crime problems in our community belongs to an excellent police department, community policing groups, community sports and recreational programs, community civic organizations, and outstanding community church programs. However, our police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities with our community’s fast-growing population. We must find a workable solution to build satellite police and fire stations in our community over the next several years. 

 

Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the Board?

 

I believe in a workable, open and transparent government. One that practices fiscal conservatism instead of wasteful spending, listens to and understands citizen issues and concerns, values town employees and one that seeks consensus while always moving our community forward in a position direction. Our community deserves an effective town board, one that can work and communicate together with a “collective vision” for future prosperity and one that demonstrates unselfish representation and pre-eminent leadership. Those in our community who know me know my deep commitment to hard work and open, transparent government. I pledge to listen to citizen issues and concerns, have an open mind on all decisions, and spend a significant amount of time researching community issues facing our community.

 

What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?

 

The restoration of Hope Mills Lake remains a top priority, as it should be because this community quality of life issue is currently in litigation with a possible trial date next year. A year ago, the engineering and construction firms estimated $8.6 million in dam structure repairs. Dam safety will not allow the failed $13.5 million dam structure to remain in its current state of disrepair indefinitely. Therefore, the town has two options: remove and replace or repair the failed dam structure. I do not believe the failed dam structure can be repaired after sitting for over three years. In addition, I do not believe that the engineering and construction firms were ever going to repair or replace the failed dam structure on their own dime either. However, I remain optimistic that a monetary settlement will be reached before the trial date. Therefore, the town should use these funds to remove and replace the current failed dam structure with a much smaller, efficient and effective dam structure in support of the original lake water level. The “end game” is an acceptable monetary settlement or a court ordered judgment…just that simple!

 

What is your number one priority for the town?

 

Regardless of how you personally feel about the restoration of Hope Mills Lake, this issue will be a front and center priority for the next town board in their first year. In fact, all parties have until April 30, 2014 to agree to a mediated settlement or the lawsuit goes to trial on July 28, 2014. Like you, I ride by the 3-year-old empty lake with frustration and despair. Another top priority in our community is public safety. Over the years, our police and fire departments have out-grown their current facilities with our community’s fast-growing population. We must find a workable solution to build satellite police and fire stations in our community over the next several years. Another “hot topic” top priority of discussion in our community is massive traffic congestion. Direct action is long overdue to address this important quality of life community issue! We must request a Hope Mills area traffic congestion management study be commissioned by the Fayetteville Area Metropolitan Planning Organization (FAMPO) Transportation Advisory Committee. Just about everyone I meet say, “public safety, massive traffic congestion, and the restoration of Hope Mills Lake are the main priorities in our community.” However, I would like to add community recreational opportunities and economic development to the list of community priorities. These priorities may be separate, but I consider them linked to our community’s sustainable quality of life.

 

In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?

 

I currently serve as State Junior Vice Commander for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States and have formerly served as State District 8 Commander and Post Commander of Post 10630 in Hope Mills. I have served on the Board of Directors of the Hope Mills Area Chamber of Commerce, on the Hope Mills Veterans Affairs Commission, and as a Charter Board Member of the Friends of Hope Mills Lake. I am a graduate of the Institute for Community Leadership Course (ICL) and the President’s Leadership Institute (PLI) at Fayetteville Technical Community College (FTCC). I bring to the table many years of positive leadership experience and education, and ask for the opportunity to help lead our community in a positive direction forward as one we are proud to call home.

 

My vision is simple: “Continuous improvement of quality of life for our community that will naturally grow and progress in an economically sustainable and healthy environment.” We must focus every day on enriching the lives of our town citizens by creating an exceptional community to work and live in while providing exemplary town services that enables our community to thrive and prosper. There is no question that addressing the many challenges that face our community will require effective leadership, creative thinking, building cooperation and consensus, and a tremendous amount of teamwork.

 

We are truly blessed to work and live in a great community…Our Hope Mills Community…one we all call home. In our community, you will find the best schools, churches, police, fire, and sanitation departments, recreational center, senior center, sports and recreational programs, civic organizations, various community events, and businesses. This is who we are as a blessed community and our best days are ahead of us!

 

If you have any issues, concerns, or suggestions, please email me at jbellflowers@nc.rr.com and/or call me at (910) 964-8103.

 

Tonzie Collins

Commissioner

 

Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?

 

You cannot stop growth, however you can control the growth by enforcing the town ordinances that the town currently have. 

 

With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

 

The board should give the police department the necessary equipment and manpower that they need so they can continue to do the great job that they are doing.

 

Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?

 

The board should realize that they were elected to represent the people and town employees!!!! Not themselves and a select few.

 

 

What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?

 

The existing lawsuit is the end game.Once the lawsuit is completed we will then pursue completing the rebuilding of the dam.

 

What is your number one priority for the town?

 

To represent the people and employees of this town to the best of my ability by making sound and proper decisions.

 

In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?

 

I attempt to do research on everything that pertains to the Town of Hope Mills so that I can make  the proper decision of any topic that may that may arise.

 

 

Vinnell Jackson

Hope Mills Mayor

 

Hope Mills is growing quickly, how can the board control/direct that growth?

 

As a citizen volunteer for the Southwest Cumberland Land Use Plan we identified strategies to assist the board with control/directing growth. Strategies identified were mixed-development, create single-family residential developments and provide incentives for cluster subdivisions. This plan will guide development for the next several years when adopted by the Hope Mills Board of Commissioners.

 

With growth comes growing crime, what efforts would you see the board taking to address the growing crime problems in Hope Mills?

It is imperative that community policing is enhanced to reduce/eliminate crime.  According to our crime analyst 2012 data, aggravated assault and robberies led crime in Hope Mills.  There are communities where the mayor created a task force to address the root of crime and created community safety officer volunteers.  In addition, anonymous email addresses to report suspected crime was created for the residents. The final strategy is to ensure that annexations include police resources to cover the newly annexed areas, i.e. commercial, residential or institutional land uses.

Some would argue that the Hope Mills Board is dysfunctional, what can be done to improve the operations/relations of the board?

The Hope Mills board and the community is interested in visionary leadership. The position of mayor is a non-voting member except to settle tie decisions. That person must lead and see into the future of what may happen and ensure we are proactive instead of reactive. The town should not have to wait on a plan developed by county staff for us to know we must prepare our community for demographic changes that impact housing or the need for veteran housing, or additional elderly housing and infrastructure. We must implement innovative strategies to enhance economic development opportunities that all concretively improve our quality of life.

 

 

What is the end game for the Hope Mills Dam and how is the Board pursuing that failed project?

 

Based on a recent update by lead attorney Nick Herman we have scheduled hearings forthcoming and will permit the legal process to take its course.  However, the town leaders could pursue other options for the dam as it relates to economic opportunities as a source of electric or power generator. Again, the leaders should be proactive as opposed to reactive and waiting on the litigation outcome.

 

What is your number one priority for the town?

 

The Town of Hope Mills needs visionary leadership.  In the decision-making process it means nothing if leadership is not able to implement decisions successfully.  Quinn Mills stated “leadership influences the thoughts, attitudes, and behaviors of others”. He further states leaders see what lies ahead and direct the rest of us; they help us see what we might achieve; and encourage and inspire us. Quinn Mills further states “without leadership a group of human beings quickly degenerates into argument and conflict, because we see things in different ways and lean toward different solutions. It is time to move forward with new ideas and team effort to voice the concerns of the community.

 

In your opinion, what qualifies you to make hard decisions for the people of Hope Mills?

 

A vote for Vinell Jackson as Mayor of Hope Mills provides a fresh start for the town and visionary leadership.  The community is in need of a leader who is objective and open to the ideas of others. As mayor, I bring years of experience in local and state government working in planning with planners, developers, and engineers. In addition, my knowledge of transit, ADA, Title VI and budgeting are assets. This experience has afforded the opportunity to collaborate with representatives from the state, local and federal agencies. A vote for Vinell Jackson for Mayor is a vote for unity and progression.

 

 

 

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