Avondale mayoral candidates Q&A – Jonathan Elmore
Decaturish.com has sent all five candidates running in the Avondale Estates March 17 mayoral election a list of questions about the city, the race and what they would do if elected. Candidates had until Sunday to return the questions. The Q&A’s will run every day this week in the order that they were received.
1) What do you think is Avondale Estates’ greatest strength as a city?
I believe our greatest strength is the strength of our community.
2) What do you think is its biggest weakness?
Our greatest opportunity moving forward is our downtown renewal and I will work to further steward and promote that momentum.
3) How do you view the relationship between the mayor and city manager in the city of Avondale Estates?
Our charter clearly indicates the mayor and commissioners govern through resolutions and ordinances and the city manager enforces those resolutions and ordinances as well as manages the city.
4) Are you satisfied with the performance of the current city manager?
Yes, Mr. Brown has done a fantastic job of keeping our city financially sound and keeping our community safe.
5) What is your opinion of the Museum School and its relationship with the city and its residents?
The Museum School of Avondale Estates is a tremendous asset to our community and witness to our commitment and ability to organize as a community and Principal Kelbaugh’s leadership.
6) Do you support the annexation plan that was recently adopted by the board of mayor and commissioners?
As an advocate for responsible growth, I do support the annexation plan adopted by the Board of Mayor and Commissioners. I believe they very carefully considered all aspects of the plan after community input and made a decision in favor of annexation with the best interest of our city at heart and the future in mind.
7) What is your position on the Euramex mixed use project that is being considered in Avondale Estates?
I think Euramex did a great job at the Edgewood development which has been a huge benefit to the surrounding community. Although the community hasn’t seen the drawings yet, I am confident the Euramex development will be a positive catalyst for the next phase of Avondale history.
8) Name three specific policy initiatives you would like to implement if you are elected as mayor:
In light of the current developments that demand attention and care, I do not have specific policy initiatives. However, there are two items I would like to address.
- Responsible growth. I will work to maintain the momentum our new downtown businesses have created and to attract new businesses. I will work to make sure our Master Plan and zoning can accommodate growth in a manner respectful to our existing Village and in a way that supports pedestrian traffic and good urban design. I want to make prospective businesses fully aware of resources we can offer such as low interest loans available through the Main Street program and the Downtown Development Authority, as well as the Opportunity Zone Tax Credit. I do support the decision by our Board of Mayor and Commissioners to annex. Annexation will strengthen and diversify our tax base, create jobs including adding police officers to further protect us all, and give better government representation and services to the annexed areas.
- Public education. The current drive to move Druid Hills High School and other schools to another system will be incredibly damaging to our community and possibly our property values. If elected, I would make clear our community’s objection to this move.
9) Do you have any current or former business interests with the city? (i.e. have you performed paid work on the city’s behalf now or in the past, or have you or your company bid on city work)
10) Do you own any commercial property in the city limits?
11) What is your opinion of the city’s current historic preservation standards?
The Historic Preservation Standards are required in order to maintain our listing on the National Register of Historic Places. These Standards work to protect our historic residences and buildings.
12) Commercial property owners in the city’s annexation plan have said they do not feel the city is friendly to business. Do you feel this is a fair criticism and, if so, what would you do to change it?
I do not have enough information regarding these business owners’ opinions. I do know that local business owners such as Nick Purdy (Wild Heaven) and Jim Stacy (Palookaville) have publicly stated that the City was very helpful with their business start-ups.
13) Please describe how your professional background would be an asset to you in this position.
As an architect, I have the dual role of building designer and design team leader, working together with professional engineers to deliver a coordinated set of drawings that the contractor then uses to build the project. I see the role of the Mayor as being analogous to this in that the Board of Mayor and Commissioners work together as equal peers to govern the city and support our City Manager in his role as manager.
I also believe my background will be beneficial in understanding the implications of designs and construction budgets and will be of assistance to fellow board members in making decisions that are in the best interest of the city.
14) What sets you apart from the other candidates in this race?
Although I do not know each candidate personally, I think our city has a good roster of candidates that represent a cross section of our community and are good people who truly love our city and wish to serve as best they can. I do support the Board’s decision to annex because I think it is responsible growth. I see my strength as my willingness to engage and listen to the concerns of our community and my desire to collaborate with others to best serve and protect the interest of our community.
15) If elected, do you promise to behave in an ethical and transparent manner?
Yes. I believe in transparent government. I support and will abide by the Open Records and Open Meetings Act.
The special election will be March 17, and early voting starts Feb. 23. The city will be hosting a forum on Thursday, Feb. 19, at City Hall, located at 21 North Avondale Plaza. The forum will start at 6:30 pm and will end at 8:30 pm.
Decaturish will also accept letters to the editor in support of – or in opposition to – the candidates in this race. The cut-off date for candidate letters will be Feb. 23. All letters must be signed and are typically 400 to 800 words in length. We reserve the right to edit letters for length and content. To send your letter to the editor, email it to email@example.com.