Two candidates have qualified to run for District 1 Alderman in Springhill – current alderman D. Nicole Frazier and Shonta Gipson.
Webster Parish Journal emailed questions to all candidates for Springhill alderman. Here are their answers in alphabetical order.
1. What are three steps you would take to improve the city’s financial stability?
Frazier: Educate on financial inclusion with an economic development team. Moreover, financial inclusion means that individuals and businesses have access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs – transactions, payments, savings, credit and insurance – delivered in a responsible and sustainable way. Incorporate a financial 5 year plan. Financial indicators are an effective and essential way to assess a Local Government’s overall financial performance and to guide decision making. Good forward planning to inform debt decisions. City Council would appropriate a meeting time to regularly update appropriate financial plans to consistently fulfill the needs of current generations without compromising the needs of future generations, while ensuring a balance between economic growth, environmental care and social well-being.
Gipson: I would take three steps to improve the city’s financial stability: reevaluate how our town spends money on inspecting our water tower and look for other contractors that would be less costly to the city and its citizens. Then we could utilize those funds in other areas to improve our city.
2. What do you propose to bring more businesses to the city? How would you bring more visitors?
Frazier: I would collaborate with the Louisiana Economic Development whose mission is Recruit, Train and Sustain. “The LDRC program prepares communities to competitively attract business development opportunities to their area. The LDRC provides coaching and expertise during the strategic planning process, and best-in-class community and economic development strategic planning resources. By connecting participating communities with an experienced resource team, the LDRC program creates development-ready, competitive communities across the state that are “open for business!” The City of Springhill would be a rural stakeholder. Each council member would be engaged with this endeavor to bring more businesses to the city. In retrospect Springhill Main Street and the Chamber of Commerce would be involved. I would bring more visitors by continuing the North Webster Black History Parade, North Webster Women’s History Parade, Multicultural events such as: Spring Break Extravaganzas, Fall Festivals, Main Street Summer Grilling Competitions and a cooperative endeavor with all school systems in Springhill to involve students in local government.
Gipson: I propose that the town continue doing what they do to bring more businesses to the city because small businesses occupy our downtown Springhill buildings. When bringing more visitors into our city, continue publishing what the town has to offer and hosting events that would spark interest for those who love to come and visit our town.
3. What are the pressing needs in your district and how do you propose to address them?
Frazier: A 2022-2023 yearly community assessment would be implemented to uncover not only needs and resources, but the underlying culture and social structure that will help District 1 understand how to address the community’s needs and utilize its resources.
District 1 consensus includes but is not limited to: The need for public transportation full-time in a community where older adults have no means of getting around town. The need to have a fair housing office extension from Minden. The need to remove blighted property. District 1 has led the charge to remove blighted property on Martin Luther King Drive and Patterson Street. For example, blighted property was removed in the vicinity of North Webster Upper Elementary, AD Washington Community Center, Greater New Bethel AME Church, and Harrison Chapel Missionary Baptist Church. Budget expansion for partnering with homeowners for removing trees and dilapidated property; especially when this predicament is life threatening. West Side Community Center should be restored and utilized to conduct educational and sports structured programs. A staff should be hired to ensure policy and procedures are carried out effectively and efficiently. High School students should be afforded an opportunity to work in this program.This building is in need of being energy efficient. The USDA Rural Development has a program as I once tried to implement during the former administration. West Side park should have up to date playground equipment.Security cameras should be placed in the park. A walking trail and sidewalk should be made available. Littering fines should be imposed and enforced by Springhill Police Department along with curfew. District 1 will have quarterly meetings for topics such as but are not limited to: infrastructure, housing, the municipal budgets, public safety, and economic development.
Gipson: The pressing need in my district is ensuring we have infrastructure work with cleaning our ditches and roads. I propose to address these issues with another alderman; growing up in this district, I see the difference between then and now.
4. Would you be in favor of broadcasting city council meetings to the public via social media like Facebook or YouTube? Why or why not?
Frazier: First of all the Freedom of Information Act gives anyone access to official minutes and it is posted online. Anyone can use a device to record council meetings. Civic duty may imply keeping the public informed and engaged. Nonetheless, all council meetings are advertised and made public.
Gipson: I would favor broadcasting city council meetings to the public via social media like Facebook or YouTube. The reason is our citizens having trouble with transportation and not being aware of when these meetings are held and with the advancement of technology and our city keeping up with the times.
5. What do you see as the top priority for your city and why?
Frazier: Did not respond
Gipson: The top priority is maybe bringing in a housing authority to our area due to rentees and renters not keeping the property up to standards.
Responses from districts 3, 4 and 5 will be published in Thursday’s Webster Parish Journal.
The election is Tuesday, November 8.
Early voting is Oct. 25 through Nov. 1 (excluding Sunday, Oct. 30) from 8:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. at the registrar’s office in the courthouse.
The deadline to request an absentee ballot is Nov. 4 by 4:30 p.m (other than military and overseas voters). You can request an absentee ballot online through the Voter Portal or in writing through your Registrar of Voters Office.
The deadline for a registrar of voters to receive a voted absentee ballot is Nov. 7 by 4:30 p.m. (other than military and overseas voters).
On election day, the polls are open from 6 a.m. until 8 p.m. If you are unsure of your voting precinct, please call 377-9272.
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