EB mayor hopefuls address issues
Published 2:00 am Saturday, August 4, 2012
Candidates for East Brewton mayor have a variety of answers as to how to address the challenges the city faces.
Incumbent mayor Terry Clark is being challenged for his position by Priscilla Ellington and Louis Hinote in the election set for later this month.
The Brewton Standard posed three questions to candidates, asking what they believe are the toughest issues the city faces and how they would approach them; what is their vision for the city; and what experience they bring to the position.
Clark said economic conditions are at their best for East Brewton, but the city has seen tough times in the past and is continuing to thrive.
“Of course the economy is a major factor for us right now — it is for everybody,” Clark said. “We’re still living in a recession atmosphere where building revenue for the city is tough but is still our number one priority.”
Clark said attracting business to the city is important, but even that is limited.
“We work every day to push for new businesses in East Brewton,” Clark said. “But, attracting a large business here is just out of the question since we don’t have the land mass to accommodate a big business.”
With the addition of the yet-to-open Dollar General in East Brewton, Clark said the new revenue will be a blessing to the community.
“We worked for a year or more to get Dollar General to make the decision to come here.” Clark said. “It’s going to be a big change for us and allow us to look at making some improvements and continuing our services.”
Clark said although the additional revenue will help the city, more is needed to see goals reached and a vision for improving the future of East Brewton.
“We are going to continue to solicit businesses for East Brewton — we have to if we have any hope for our future,” Clark said. “We want to provide better public services to our people and be able to pay our employees a decent wage. We need to replace some worn-out equipment and all of that takes money. Nothing is cheap anymore so you have to have growing revenues to cover those costs. We want East Brewton to grow and business makes that happen.”
Crime in East Brewton may be an issue for many of the city’s residents, but statistics are no worse than those in cities of similar size.
“We do have some crime here, but we’re about average when you look at other cities our size,” Clark said. “We haven’t had any major crimes here – and we’re thankful for that. We see some robbery, theft and some break-ins. One way to curb that is to put more police officers on patrol. Without the money, we can’t hire additional police officers. That comes right back around to revenue. If we want to increase our police protection we have to have more business and more revenue for the city. It’s pretty simple math.”
Ellington said she believes the most challenging things facing the city is juvenile crime and revenue.
“I feel that juvenile crime, police service and revenue are just some of the challenges facing East Brewton,” Ellington said. “Our children have nothing to do here in the city. I would like to see a city park for children of all ages to utilize. I would like to see a curfew in place that will be appropriate for the city. There also needs to be a neighborhood watch program throughout the city. The city needs to have a better plan to bring more revenue into the city. The citizens of East Brewton need to spend their money in East Brewton. For example, if the city of East Brewton had a good franchise restaurant we would not travel to enjoy a good meal. East Brewton needs to take advantage of the fact that we are local in a perfect location to bring in revenue. We are conveniently located on the hurricane evacuation route and the short cut to the Florida beaches.”
Ellington said she has a vision of the future for the city of East Brewton and where it could be following the next term of office.
“In four years, I would like to see a variety of businesses in East Brewton, traffic lights, a neighborhood beautification committee and more citizens,” she said. “We need to have the necessary things in East Brewton to make people want to live there. For example, more businesses will bring more jobs to the city.”
Ellington said she believes she has a background that would help her be a good mayor for the city of East Brewton.
“I have an associates degree in business technology (Reid State Technical College 1999),” she said. “I am a current student at Troy University where I will obtain a bachelors degree in December 2012 in criminal justice. I will also pursue my masters degree with a major of criminal justice and a minor in psychology. I am a former employee of AmSouth Bank (Birmingham) where I was employed for three years as an accounts payable clerk. I previously owned a local bookstore and managed an apartment complex with more than 100 units. I’m employed at the Escambia County Sheriff’s office where I am the supervisor in the communications department. I have been employed with the sheriff’s office for more than eight years.”
She said she believes that crime is a big problem and putting more officers on patrol could be the answer.
“Crime in the city of East Brewton is a major problem. I would like to see more trained and certified police officers on the streets. I would like to see two officers and a dispatcher on duty 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The police department, the fire department and the utility department needs better equipment to be able to perform their jobs effectively.”
Ellington said she is proud to be a part of East Brewton and hopes to see the city improve.
“East Brewton is a great city that is in desperate need of a makeover,” she said. “We need our streets paved, more streetlights and more greenery (flowers) to make our city beautiful. I would like to be a voice for the citizens of East Brewton to improve the relationship between the citizens and the city. The people need to know that someone cares about their well being in the city.”
Hinote said he would work with the city council and with input from East Brewton residents to improve the city.
“We have no room for infrastructure to expand economical growth,” he said.
Hinote said his vision is “to gain infrastructure for new businesses, to create jobs and revenue for the City of East Brewton.”
“If I am elected mayor, at the end of my four-year term, me and the citizens of East Brewton will see economical growth that we have worked together towards,” he said.
Hinote has lived in Escambia County Alabama for 33 years.
“I have worked with the public for 22 of those years,” he said. “I feel that I can fulfill the needs and concerns of the City of East Brewton, to make our city safe and myself more accessible for the concerns of the citizens of East Brewton.”
To address crime in East Brewton, Hinote said he would improve patrols.
“There seems to be low crime rate in the city in East Brewton,” he said. “The ones we do have is burglaries. I plan to get better patrol by officers in our neighborhoods.”
Hinote said East Brewton has a strong quality of life.
“It’s a great small town to live in with access to schools and shopping,” he said. “I would look for ways for East Brewton to grow and to generate revenue for the city so we can add more officers and maintain our streets. I would also like to see something for the young people to do, like a movie theater and a bowling alley, and by this we would add more jobs to our city..”