Districts 2 & 3 talk budget & economic development
Yasmine Regester, Staff Writer | 10/27/2013, 10:12 a.m.
Council candidates from Districts 1, 2, 3, and 4 who made it through the primaries, gathered at the Greensboro Public Library for an election forum Tuesday night. Hosted by the Greensboro Neighborhood Congress, candidates fielded questions on economic development, job creation, taxes and how to retain college graduates in Greensboro.
District 2 covers East Greensboro and includes N.C. A&T State University. District 2 incumbent Jim Kee who has spent much of his time on council focused on the White Street Landfill and economic development in East Greensboro said the focus should be on energy and technology for job creation. “Energy is something we need to
develop in Greensboro and technology is a natural for this generation. If we focus on that, we can certainly capture the young people.” Kee noted that solid waste management can be revamped by looking at waste to energy
technology. “If we could eliminate $10 million from the budget then we wouldn’t have a deficit.” Kee also supports the city in implementing a partnership with N.C. A&T State University for maintenance and upkeep of the War Memorial Stadium.
District 2 challenger Jamal Fox, a history instuctor at N.C. A&T, noted that the city needs to find ways to utilize the knowledge at the area colleges. Fox doesn’t propose cuts to things we really need. “It’s not about the better politician but it’s about the hearts and minds of the people.”
District 3 covers much of downtown Greensboro and travels just north of W. Lee Street along N. Church Street. The district also encompasses Lake Jeanette, Lake Brandt and Lake Higgins on the north and includes areas as far west as Pleasant Ridge Road. District 3 candidate Wendell Roth said that the city needs to support businesses that are already here before they can attract outside businesses. Roth is a water purification specialist who calls himself a fiscal conservative. Roth said in terms of the city budget, he was tired of seeing pet projects come up before council when there are homeless people sleeping under the bridges at night. “We need to fund public safety and start tackling all the issues citizens are concerned about,” said Roth.
Incumbent Zack Matheny said in order to retain college and high school grads in the area, the city must first identify the demographics. He indicated that there needs to be a workspace for young entrepreneurs to collaborate with one another and work on growing businesses and technology. “I believe we need tangible ideas. Accelerators that would work for high school grads are not going to attract college grads. City should continue to invest in Workforce Development, [which] provides work opportunities for teens.” A proponent of economic
development in East Greensboro, Matheny stated he was very happy that the Renaissance Shopping Center would be moving forward with getting a grocery store. The residents of East Greensboro have been very vocal in letting council know what they want for their community, which Matheny encourages from all neighborhoods. “Technology is a good way to engage citizens for feedback on the budget. Anyway a citizen wants to give feedback is great. We need and we welcome the community input on the budget,” said Matheny who said he is currently researching Participatory Budgeting with current council. Participatory Budgeting would allow residents to have the power to decide how one percent of the budget will be used on neighborhood projects.