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2008 City of Northport Elections

Meet The Candidates
for Mayor


Billy Booth
1005 Lakeside Place
Northport, AL 35473
(205) 333-1551

Frank Chandler
4902 Emerald Bay Drive
Northport, AL 35473
(205) 333-0414

Harvey Fretwell
5900 Barnes Settlement Road
Northport, AL 35473
(205) 339-7000


 


Bobby Herndon
2728 Lurleen Wallace Blvd.
Northport, AL 35476
(205) 333-0003

Robert Thomas
13609 Old Ivy Drive
Northport, AL 35475
(205) 331-7271

 

 


CANDIDATE QUESTIONS
MAYOR
CITY OF NORTHPORT

Simply click on a question below to see the candidates response.

Candidate Responses

Question 1. What are your plans to develop and sustain a financially stable water and sewer system in Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Offer rate options to citizens such as Budget billing. Set a base rate to present cost for delivery water & sewer service with a fuel adjustment calculated monthly (based on any cost increases or decreases of chemicals, pumping energy, etc.).

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: First, we should determine what constitutes “financially stable” as it relates to our needs. This is a decision for both the Mayor and the City Council. Whether the Council and Mayor want a system that covers current costs only, or a system that covers costs and prepares for future needs, either can be easily accomplished. Once we have established exactly what we believe the City most needs, then we can begin establishing a stable source of finances. Currently, Northport spends approximately ½ of its water and sewer revenues toward historical debts. Our revenue structure must be such that it provides a secure future for the water and sewer systems. This must include a comprehensive review of the systems’ finances and could include suggestions such as minimum billing amounts and budgeting depreciation for infrastructure and maintenance. As Mayor, I plan to work with the Council to determine our goals and needs, including how to handle the City’s past debts, and provide a quality product for our customers – the citizens. Rate structures can be fashioned in a myriad of ways to handle these needs. As you know, the Northport Mayor does not have a vote. We must return to financial decision making rather than political decision making for our water and sewer system. Therefore, I must help lead the Council to the right decision regarding stable financing of the water and sewer system, and then support – not promise to oppose – their decision for our community.

Robert Thomas: First off, I need to be able to thoroughly review the city’s financial statements, along with the city’s independent auditor, the finance department, and the council you elect, we will develop a feasible long term plan, void of politics.

Back to Questions


Question 2. Would you consider formation of a separate, independent Water & Sewer Board to provide management and oversight for Northport’s water and sewer system? Why or why not?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Northport is likely to double in size within 10 years. 1 year, 2 year, and 10 year plans and goals need to be made--then the organization to effectively meet the goals will be evident. The City Government needs to know where it is going before choosing which path to take. I am open to all options—let’s take the most efficient way considering needs now & 10 years from now.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: At this point, I would not. The first thing we must do is re-educate the public and instill confidence in the Northport water and sewer systems. In the 2000 election Harvey Fretwell succeeded in creating the perception that Northport customers pay too much for water and sewer. However, he has never explained how he arrived at that conclusion. According to the Alabama Rural Water Authority, of thirteen water systems in Tuscaloosa County Northport water rates are second lowest and second only to the City of Tuscaloosa. There are also internal operational considerations. While I believe it is inappropriate to require the General Fund of Northport to carry the Water/Sewer systems to the point the current administration has practiced, I do not oppose the theory of General Fund support. I also believe the decisions of the Water and Sewer systems of Northport should be handled by the City Council, with the support of the Mayor. Although some water boards work appropriately and productively, the City of Birmingham is a good example of what can happen when the City Council and Mayor lose administrative control of a major utility.

Robert Thomas: I would be open to consider all reasonable recommendations to ensure a sound water and sewer system that is self sustaining and provides the residents of Northport the highest quality water and sewer services.

Back to Questions


Question 3. Would you support consolidation of water and sewer services with the City of Tuscaloosa? Why or why not?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: My plan includes determining the marginal costs of Northport water and sewer service and comparing these costs to negotiated costs for part of service possibly being supplied by City of Tuscaloosa. It may be possible to lower Northport costs while providing profitable revenue to City of Tuscaloosa. Also considered would be possible lower costs to extend service to new citizens of Northport if negotiated price of water and or sewer from City of Tuscaloosa to east and south sections of Northport were lower.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: No. The City of Northport is definitely large enough to warrant its own utility systems. Furthermore, if there are any financial benefits to be gained from a utility system, those benefits should be realized by the City of Northport, not another entity. I appreciate the relationship that exists between Northport and Tuscaloosa, and desire only to increase and grow that relationship – but consolidation of our water and sewer service into Tuscaloosa’s would be contrary to the growth and prosperity of Northport. Northport’s water system is one of the most award winning systems in the state. We should be promote our water system as the great benefit is for Northport and simply make our finances transparent.

Robert Thomas: Our water and sewer services are a significant asset for Northport’s growth and development. We need to be in control of our future and we need to protect that asset.

Back to Questions


Question 4. Should the City of Northport have a full-time Mayor ? Why or why not? If you support, will you commit the time and energy to fulfill the role of a full-time Mayor and administrator?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: A full-time Mayor is required to meet the demands of our growing city. As the candidate with a Masters in Business Administration and Engineering Degrees from the Univ. Of Alabama plus leadership experience as past Chairman of Tuscaloosa Co. Civil Service Board, I have the ability to fulfill the requirements placed on Northport Mayor. I am available to be a full-time Mayor as a retiree of Alabama Power Co.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Under existing state law, the City of Northport is of a class that elects a part-time Mayor. I would never oppose the idea of a full-time Mayor for Northport, but such a change should be initiated through the appropriate process – either a vote of the people, or by our local delegation in the Alabama Legislature. A decision of this nature would also be surrounded by vast amounts of information to the public regarding the salary of the position, the duties, and executive authority of the position. With a single-vote majority, the current administration changed the structure of Northport’s government over the course of a mere 96 hours, in spite of the input of the very few citizens that were able to learn of the plan, and without a clear distribution of duties. If this change to our government was appropriate and wanted by the citizens, there was no need to rush through a decision in a mere 96 hours. We must also remember that our current mayor asked for all authority except the ability to vote with the council. Essentially, power without accountability. As Mayor, I promise to never make a decision of that magnitude in such a manner.

Robert Thomas: I believe that the mayor’s duties are to provide leadership to the council and the professional staff, along with promoting the growth and character of the city. We need to leave the day-to-day management to trained professionals.

Back to Questions


Question 5. Does the City of Northport need a full-time, professional city administrator? Why or why not?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Very Possible. 1 year, 2 year, and 10 year plans and goals need to be made--then the organization to effectively meet the goals will be evident. The City Government needs to know where it is going before choosing which path to take. I am open to all options—let’s take the most efficient way considering needs now & 10 years from now.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: At this time, yes. Since the hasty restructuring of authority, I have heard from many residents and several department heads at City Hall that accessibility to top administration has become a problem. Currently, when someone calls city hall and speaks to or asks a question of the Mayor they must figure out for themselves if they are talking to the politician mayor or the city administrator mayor. Quite simply, one person cannot be effective in both roles. The mayor should be promoting our city and working with staff to get where we want and need to go. The city administrator should fill the role as full time day to day business manager for the city. The city administrator should the mayor and council’s partner to make our city successful. Regardless of what my opponent claims, a full-time city administrator was replaced by a part-time politician who does not carry the same, or as many, office hours as did the administrator. As a result, it has become more evident of just how important it is to have an individual whose sole duty is to carry out the day-to-day operations of the city and its utilities. Even if the incumbent Mayor can claim to do this job on a full-time basis, then the question remains as to when a Mayor fulfills the duty of Mayor.

Robert Thomas: I believe that the mayor’s duties are to provide leadership to the council and the professional staff, along with promoting the growth and character of the city. We need to leave the day-to-day management to trained professionals. (same as number 4)

Back to Questions


Question 6. What plans do you have to improve, strengthen and sustain the financial condition of the City of Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: At the Forum, I was the only candidate who brought this plan which was more that tweaking this or that to get the needed revenues. My plan is total focused effort by the City of Northport to get its rightful share of the Sales Tax Revenues.

Tuscaloosa County & City Schools each get 1 million dollars a month from the special tax plus about 1 million each from their 20% of sales tax. Others get: City of Tuscaloosa-25%, County Commission-20%, DCH-10%, and NORTHPORT-5%.

County Commission is flush with 72 million reserve fund (added 12 million in last 4 years).

Northport is basically on the edge of no available monies for projects past required reserves. The County Commission share should be 15% and Northport’s share should be 10% which will give an extra badly needed 2.75 million dollars each year. I can provide the leadership to accomplish this matter.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: My plans to improve, strengthen, and sustain a positive financial condition for Northport can be displayed in 4 steps:
1. Eliminate wasteful spending. My opponent has supported the following examples:

• The repetitive studies conducted on development, drainage, marketing, etc.
• Study awarded to geologists for a groundwater report, although the price was over 3 times higher than the lowest responsible bidder.
• $43,000 spent to paint a caboose
• $50,000 that came through the Council that was used to dredge only behind selected homes in Northwood Lake.
• The current, common practice of approving unbudgeted expenditures without first requiring budgetary amendments.

2. Hire a full-time Economic Development Officer. Currently, the duties of economic development officer are assigned to the Director of Planning. Since the Planning Director has full-time duties already, the efforts to bring in new businesses are depleted. The planning and enticement of the Lowe’s Home Improvement store began under the leadership of Economic Development Officer Alan Harper. With more experience in working with business developers than any other mayoral candidate, I wish to couple my knowledge and experience with that of a full-time Office of Economic Development and work to see more new businesses locate here in our City.
3. Produce the budget for the City Council’s review. This should be a duty of the Mayor anyway, but it has not been handled by the current administration. In the past, members of the City Council have presided over the budget and the Mayor has given very little input. I believe the Mayor’s office should take a much more hands-on role in the budgeting process. I realize this may not sound like a major effort, but I believe even this simple change can make a world of difference.
4. Separate the Water/Sewer Budget and funds from the General Fund Budget and funds. While I do support some sharing of the burden between these two funds, I believe the current financial situation has been blurred by the practice of requiring the General Fund to pay expenses for the Water/Sewer Fund, and by “loaning” funds to the Water/Sewer Fund accounts from other city accounts where the funds are already committed. By a simple change such as this fund separation, the City Council can at least see a true picture of the financial situation and make changes and improvements accordingly.

Robert Thomas: I will work with the council and staff to improve and expand our tax base by encouraging quality retail development while at the same time working with local businesses to ensure their continued success.

Back to Questions


Question 7. The City of Northport currently has land and road frontage available for commercial development and growth, including areas along Highway 69, Lurleen Wallace Blvd, Rose Parkway, riverfront and others. What is your plan for commercial and retail development for Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: As the Alabama Power Company employee who got that company involved in the first use of their helicopter for commercial development and having been involved in providing demographic data to commercial companies for decision making in site selection, I am able to take initiatives that get results for increased development.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Saying we want growth just doesn’t work. Saying we need to improve our tax base doesn’t work. We cannot sit back and wait for development to come to us. We need the right promotion of our city, and for each area of our city. As mayor, I will lead the effort to look at what types of businesses would work in each area and work to recruit those businesses. Development opportunities on Highway 69 are not the same as those on Highway 82 or the riverfront. Businesses have business plans and the city needs a business plan. Retailers make investments when and where they anticipate a suitable return. As a city, we need take a long term approach to our current and future financial needs. We have to look at the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats facing each area of the city and match targeted development to each. The shotgun approach of “we want growth” doesn’t work. Let’s focus on what we need as a city, what each area can offer potential developers, and how we can ensure successful partnerships. Northport is a great product, we simply must become better salespeople.

Robert Thomas: While I was on the council, the city had a fulltime Economic Development Director. As your mayor I will return to this city a full time professional that will continuously search and solicit businesses to locate in Northport.

Back to Questions


Question 8. There have been multiple planning initiatives for Northport’s riverfront. What steps will you take to move riverfront development from planning to actual implementation and investment? Does the City of Northport have the resources and political will to make it happen?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: As the person who was responsible for taking sole initiative to remove the power and communications poles from Old Downtown Northport, I know how to get results and not just talk and plan. With leadership, the political will and resources will exist.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: The first step I would take would be to meet with the current developers and seek guarantees regarding timelines and quality of their project. If these developers, who have been in place for almost 4 full years, are unwilling or unable to provide the City with these guarantees, I would move to end our relationship with these developers. Northport’s Riverfront area is perfect for a new development, but the development of this area should not be held hostage by a Master Developer who refuses to move forward unless the City itself invests multiple millions of dollars to produce infrastructure or parking structures that should be constructed by the developer. As for Rose Boulevard, the City should begin moving forward with providing the necessary water and sewer infrastructure down this stretch of road. New commercial businesses need basic infrastructure to succeed. Every day that passes without water and sewer to this area is a day lost with regards to recruitment of new businesses. In the past, the city has been too dependent on investment by developers. If we want the riverfront to succeed we must begin solid financial planning that provides the city with capital and infrastructure resources to move forward. The riverfront, like any major public, will require significant investment from the city. Northport’s riverfront could be the featured attraction in West Alabama. We should make every effort to secure funding to become a partner in that development. Without secure funding and tangible investment from the city the riverfront will never reach it’s potential.

Robert Thomas: I believe in planning the work and working the plan and its time to start working the plan. As your mayor I will assemble a team that will do just that and get this plan moving. With a full time development director and the redevelopment authority working the plan we will have quality development along the riverfront.



Back to Questions


Question 9. In today’s competitive economic environment, communities must have a progressive, pro-business environment to be successful. What plans do you have to make the City of Northport more pro- business and competitive?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Provide the necessary leadership such that Northport focuses on achieving small goals leading up to large goals. Achieving the small goal of making the City Hall’s appearance outstanding will make the incentative and achieving the next large goal much easier. Of course, the government must be streamlined for fast response and access to businesses.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: First of all, I have been a business owner for over 25 years. I have had the experiences that all business people face: tough times, good times, a growing business, and a shrinking market. I have had the experience of having a business bankruptcy during the late 1980’s, and the experience of building my current successful business that serves clients throughout the entire Southeast. Political experience is no substitute for business experience.

As Mayor, I would work with the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce to use their Northport Advisory Council as it has never been used before. With the Chamber’s help, we can use this Council as a way to hear directly from organized business leaders about their needs from the City and how the City can do a better job in fostering a positive business environment. We need to determine whether our business license structure needs improvement, and whether our business offices at City Hall are providing the correct amount and appropriate assistance and customer service to our business owners. We must improve our level of service at every step. From planning & zoning to business license application to tax collection we must be a professional partner. Clear and understandable rules and regulations and a “thank you for choosing Northport” attitude will be the cornerstones of my administration.

While we ensure our current business owners that we have their interests at heart, we must work to recruit new businesses. Without offense to a bank or grocery store, it’s common knowledge that Northport is not in current need of a new grocery store. Therefore, our priority should not be on recruiting any type of business, but to take a smart approach and recruit new businesses and services that Northport currently does not have. At the end of my term as Mayor, I would love to see that we worked diligently on businesses such as an Outback Steak House, or a Red Lobster, a Kohl’s clothing store, a Target, and new hotels.

Robert Thomas: I will hire an Economic Development Director to work hand in hand with the development authority to bring back the economic incentives that were developed while I was on council. I will work to encourage quality retail development while at the same time working with city staff to ensure a pro-business attitude.

Back to Questions


Question 10. What is your opinion of the current physical and visual appearance of Northport, and what steps will you take to beautify the City of Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: First we cannot ask businesses to make changes when the City Hall building and surrounding appearance is poor to bad. Landscaping and building exterior need to be upgraded and add a new electronic sign. Also hwy 82 medians should be watered and landscaped with flowers like Peachtree City in Ga.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Most of Northport’s neighborhoods are very attractive, and we should be proud of that. However, it is oftentimes businesses or even the City’s own right-of-way that is unsightly. As Mayor, I would work with the City Council to budget funds to increase the amount of work done to beautify and maintain our right-of-ways. Councilman William Tunnell has already had plans constructed for trees and shrubs to be planted along our major thoroughfare. I will work to implement that plan and help beautify our city. As for businesses, many business owners would be happy to improve the image of their facility, but often can’t afford to do so. I would work with the City Council to fashion the Northport Façade Improvement Program that would allow businesses access to low, or even no interest loans from the City, in an amount not to exceed $5,000 per business, that would allow the business an easy and efficient way of improving their look. Any façade improvements would have to be presented to, and approved by the city. Improvements would be external only, and could include, but not be limited to parking lot improvements, canopy and storefront improvements, and sign/lighting enhancements. I realize this program would take some work, but I’m committed to do so, and would be happy to be the Mayor to first offer this program to our Northport businesses.

Robert Thomas: Northport is an attractive community and I am extremely proud of our city. As with all cities you have some areas that need a little more attention than others. As your mayor I will work with the residents to sponsor community clean up days and work with the council to ensure that the staff has adequate man power and equipment to maintain and improve the appearance of our gateways and thoroughfares.

 

Back to Questions

Question 11. The City of Tuscaloosa currently broadcasts city council meetings on Comcast Cable 20. This service is also available to the City of Northport at no cost, allowing the citizens to see their local government at work. If elected Mayor, will you take advantage of this opportunity and begin broadcasting the meeting of the Northport City Council?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler:Yes

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Absolutely, and I can honestly say that I don’t understand why the current Mayor would not have taken advantage of this opportunity to bring the City Council meetings, through television, into our homes. I may also suggest once a year holding a city council meeting in each district. I want people involved in their city government. If we can’t get them to a meeting I would like to take the meeting to them.

Robert Thomas: I would welcome any opportunity to allow our residents to more actively participate in the city council meetings.

Back to Questions

Question 12. What steps will you take as Mayor to expand or improve schools and educational facilities within the City of Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: I believe that Northport has the best schools within Tuscaloosa County. For the future development of Tuscaloosa County Schools within Northport, we should provide leadership and coordination with the Tuscaloosa County Bd. Of Ed. such that the best results are achieved for our children and parents.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: I believe Northport citizens support a healthy relationship between the Tuscaloosa County Board of Education and City Hall. As Mayor, I would make sure we have representation in as many meetings and discussions as possible with school board members and the Superintendent to ensure that Northport’s interests are represented in the growth of the system. For example, with the proper representation of the Northport City government at these meetings, we quite possibly could have avoided the installation of portable classrooms at our schools – most recently additional portables at both Flatwoods and Matthews Elementary. Regarding the curriculum of Northport schools, I would work directly with the Superintendent, Dr. Costanzo, to ensure that Northport’s Fine Arts Initiative program is fully implemented in our elementary schools. To date, the current administration has only utilized 12% of its earmarked dollars for this program in our schools.

Robert Thomas: Quality education for our children is of the utmost importance to me. While on the council I supported the Rose Fine Arts Initiative that brought music and art education to Northport elementary schools. I also supported building a new high school by contributing $5 million toward its construction. I will always be an advocate for providing the best education to our children.

Back to Questions

Question 13. As Mayor, what actions would you support to make available current Riverside and Matthews school properties for commercial and retail development?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: First, the needs of students and parents who attend or will attend these schools shall to be of the highest priority. With the County School System over extended at this time, the only present option may be to beautify and architecturally change school’s appearances to fit the development plans in that area. Northport should coordinate with the Tuscaloosa Co. Board of Education to adapt Northport’s 10 year plan to any changes by the board of education.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Again, this would require close and direct communication between the Mayor and Board of Education members. Personally, I have a positive relationship with several of these elected officials and would be happy to represent Northport’s interests in this endeavor. The properties, however, are currently under the ownership of the Board of Education, and therefore the City of Northport must work toward this goal with the Board members.

Robert Thomas: While it is a decision of the Board of Education, the relocation of the school would provide Northport students with upgraded facilities and improved technology, it would also expand development along the riverfront. As mayor of Northport I will do everything possible to support the education of our children all the while moving Northport forward.

Back to Questions

Question 14. What steps will you take as Mayor of Northport to promote and create positive, cooperative working relationships among members of the Northport City Council and between you and the Council? How would you lead in creating unity of purpose and direction for the City of Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: As Past Chairman of Tuscaloosa County Civil Service Board, I provided the leadership to accomplish many improvements. Someone ask me how I could remain calm even when I and others were spoken to in a very heated manner. I said that I took the good which is in everyone and overlooked any heated comments to reach agreements for the better of everyone.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: As Mayor, I realize that I must rely very heavily on my City Council. For this reason, I would never enjoy the “3-2” environment that I believe the current mayor has helped foster over the last 4 years. To help ensure that the future Council members do not have to suffer in this fashion, I would make sure that each member receives the same information as all others. I would also take great efforts to show leadership from the Mayor’s office. As mayor, I want my council members to always know what goes on in their respective districts. Forwarding information and requests for service to respective council members will be a priority. Although the Mayor does not get a vote, I would work closely with the Council members to show leadership and help them reach their goals. While the future holds surprises for everyone, I would never want to be in a situation where I simply relied on my ability to veto a measure rather than working with the Council to resolve a matter before it gets to the veto process.

Robert Thomas: It is incumbent upon the mayor to provide leadership for the city, the city staff, and city’s elected officials. As mayor I will promote and open dialogue between the mayor, the city council, the staff and residents to unify our city.

Back to Questions

Question 15. The “Cool Cities” initiative includes cities across America, including the City of Tuscaloosa, working to develop innovative and practical energy solutions that reduce, waste, pollution and ‘greenhouse gases’ and that contribute to a cleaner, healthier environment. Are you willing as Mayor to sign and support the “Cool Cities” agreement and lead in creating a cleaner environment in the City of Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Yes

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Presently I am unfamiliar with this program. I will be happy to entertain any action to improve the environment.

Robert Thomas: As mayor I would support any opportunities that will afford us the opportunity to be more environmentally friendly. While on the city council I supported the Project NEST recycling program. We need to take that program and expand it to provide more services to constituents while at the same time cleaning up our environment.

Back to Questions

Question 16. What actions will you support as Mayor of Northport to address air and water pollution, recycling and other environmental initiatives?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: I am a recycler and know Northport’s program is very poor. Public transportation will reduce air pollution and should be supported. Northport’s growth in the next 10 years will call for strict enforcement of environmental laws as critical public and private lands could be damaged.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: One of the first actions I would like to see Northport take is to enhance our efforts toward picking up litter. I would work with the Sheriff’s office to make sure Northport has the opportunity to have inmates cleaning up our right-of-ways just like other areas of the County. As for water pollution, we must work to avoid consent orders from the Alabama Department of Environmental Management (ADEM) such as the one that the City is currently under. Consent orders are issued when ADEM, basically, has to force an organization to implement proper environmental practices and infrastructure. The task of the next Mayor of Northport will be to bring the City into compliance with ADEM, rather than allowing us to fall under consent orders and be forced to improve. Maintaining a healthy water and sewer department, complete with the ability to improve and replace aging infrastructure is vital to this effort.

Robert Thomas: As mayor I would support any opportunities that will afford us the opportunity to be more environmentally friendly. While on the city council I supported the Project NEST recycling program. We need to take that program and expand it to provide more services to constituents while at the same time cleaning up our environment. (same as number 15)

Back to Questions

Question 17. What are your priorities for transportation and infrastructure development for the City of Northport over the next four years?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: I am very concerned about the need for public transportation in Northport. My wife has been involved in the development of public transportation in Alabama for over 20 years. Again we can accomplish nothing unless we make 1, 2, & 10 year plans/goals and FOLLOW THROUGH with results.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: If I had to prioritize and list only one, my priority would be to push harder than ever for the improvement and widening of Highway 69, north of Highway 82. We can all finally see how nice Highway 43 is now that the State of Alabama DOT is completing the project. Currently, however, the same work to Highway 69 is 10-20 years away due to a failure, I believe, in lobbying legislators and pursuing this project without rest. Given the economy, the ever-existing struggle to balance the State’s General Fund – and or course, the gubernatorial race can change everything – I’m not certain the project could be completed in 4 years, but it could surely get started. We also must make some effort to improve East/West bound traffic throughout the city. This includes M.L.K. Boulevard, 5th Street, and access to Main Avenue. Our city has grown such that the ever growing list of stop signs only hinders traffic flow in all directions. We must develop a comprehensive traffic plan in the Bridge Avenue/Park Street corridor to accommodate our traffic flow. We should also consider funding assistance to the Tuscaloosa County Transit Authority for public transportation access at certain Northport locations.

Robert Thomas: I have long been a proponent of public transportation, and as your mayor I will work toward the returning these services to the city. With the rising gas prices we need to do everything possible to provide affordable transportation to our residents.

Back to Questions

Question 18. As Mayor of Northport, what role would you support and encourage for business involvement in advising and contributing to the decision-making process within city government?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Yes, Northport should be very business and customer friendly. We will not tolerate those who wish only to exercise power for the benefit of no one except themselves.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: See my answer to question #9.

Robert Thomas: As a small business owner, I recognize the potential in our business community to provide sound fiscal advice to our elected officials for efficient and effective municipal government. As your mayor, I will encourage our business community to become more involved in the Northport Advisory Council and the Chamber and rely on them for advice and support in making Northport a better place.

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Question 19. What role do you feel the Northport Advisory Council and The Chamber of Commerce of West Alabama can play in helping the City of Northport grow, prosper and contribute to meeting the goals of Northport? What steps will you take to sustain a productive partnership? Will you actively seek The Chamber’s support and assistance?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: A big role & look forward to their help in forming Northport’s 1, 2, & 10 year plans/goals. Part 2: Yes

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Yes, I believe the current administration has been very lacking in its pursuit of assistance from the Chamber of Commerce. Showing up at meetings does not equal participation. If we are to be successful let’s worry less about who gets credit for something and focus more on actually getting things done. Credit is great, but results from these partnerships will produce something positive for someone to actually get credit for. See my answer to question #9.

Robert Thomas: As a small business owner, I recognize the potential in our business community to provide sound fiscal advice to our elected officials for efficient and effective municipal government. As your mayor, I will encourage our business community to become more involved in the Northport Advisory Council and the Chamber and rely on them for advice and support in making Northport a better place. (same as number 18)

Back to Questions

Question 20. Why are you seeking the office of Mayor of Northport?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: As Chairman of Tuscaloosa County Civil Service Board, I enjoyed the opportunity to help others and make our government better. I wish to continue this service to the citizens of Northport.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: I believe Northport can succeed and do better. I have had the privilege to work in some of the Southeast’s finest cities, and some of its “not-so-finest”. I’ve seen some absolutely incredible improvements and strides in economic development in cities with only a fraction of Northport’s ability and potential. To come home and see the vast potential that Northport holds, with so little improvement, I know I have to step up and help. Also, although not the only reason I am seeking this office, the overwhelming amount of support and encouragement I have received from Northport’s residents throughout my campaign makes me realize what a good decision it was to put myself up for public office. I realize my opposition will campaign negatively about me, my business, my only divorce, and probably even my successful custody battle for my (then) 3 year old son. However, when I see the citizens smiling and thanking me for running – I know I’m doing the right thing.

Robert Thomas: I have a servant heart and the best interest of Northport’s citizens. I have the experience and fortitude to lead Northport into the prosperity it deserves.

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Question 21. What is your greatest strength? What is your greatest weakness?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: strength – Leadership weakness – Trust others until proven otherwise

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: My strength is my Christian faith and my weakness is fried chicken.

Robert Thomas: A person of strong moral and ethical principles. One of my greatest weaknesses is that I am too modest.

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Question 22. Who is your political role model?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Thomas Jefferson –“Hostility against every form of tyranny over the mind of man” & Abraham Lincoln –He never gave up.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Ronald and Nancy Reagan.

Robert Thomas: Colin Powell for his candor, intellect and integrity

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Question 23. What is the last book you read?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: Outdated question –I as many people now get much information from the internet. I am signed up and get alerts for latest information on many subjects through the internet. Forbes.com is one such source. Also watch the History channel and other informational shows on TV.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: Matthew

Robert Thomas: Casting the First Stone by Kimberla Lawson Roby

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Question 24. From whom do you seek advice and counsel about political decisions and from whom will you seek counsel once elected?

Billy Booth: No written response by deadline

Frank Chandler: My own. I am accepting no donations. Donations from developers and special interest organizations have “poisoned the well” for Northport City Government for a long time. These donations and returned favors have lead to no improvements even with a change in the people elected.

Harvey Fretwell: No written response by deadline

Bobby Herndon: I don’t seek political advice because I don’t believe in political decisions. Political decisions have gotten us where we are today. They are the reasons I am running for Mayor. Once I am elected I will seek counsel from the stakeholders and shareholders of Northport. It is time for a mayor that works for the community instead of working for re-election.

Robert Thomas: First and foremost I seek divine counsel. Afterward I will seek individual subject matter experts.


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