Council candidates discuss financial priorities

Published 9:29 am Friday, April 20, 2012

Editor’s Note: This is the first in a four-part series focusing on Franklin City Council candidates.

Ward 1 Candidates

Name: Earl Blythe
Age: 69
Occupation: Retired
Church affiliation: High Street United Methodist Church

Prior elected service or candidacies for public office: No, however, I have served as president of a statewide professional organization, vice president of another and president of an international historical genealogy organization.

What is your top fiscal priority and why? I would prefer to maintain essential core services and eliminate or significantly reduce non-essential services in order to minimize, (or hopefully, eliminate) the need for a tax increase on the taxpayers of Franklin.


Name: Barry W. Cheatham
Age: 61
Occupation: Certified public accountant
Church affiliation: I was raised an Episcopalian but usually go to the Catholic church with my wife

Prior elected service or candidacies for public office: One term on Franklin City Council

What is your top fiscal priority and why? Four years ago I was elected to bring fiscal responsibility to the City of Franklin. Since then we have cut costs and taxes have not been increased.

The citizens of Franklin deserve to have continued fiscal control and keeping taxes as low as possible, but still receive their services. In order to keep the taxes down, we need to bring new industry into Franklin and support our current businesses. I started the Business Friendly Committee, which has been quietly active in making Franklin known as a place that is a great place to bring a business.


Ward 4 Candidates

Name: Linwood Johnson
Age: 59
Occupation: Financial consultant

Prior elected service or candidacies for public office: Ran for Virginia State Senate

What is your top fiscal priority and why: Bringing in industry and supporting the development of small businesses will allow the city to receive much needed revenue, providing job opportunities to our citizens and relieving the burden of high utility/trash rates on our citizens and preventing the raising of real estate taxes on home and property owners.

Name: Mona Murphy
Age: 59
Occupation: Acquisition support technician

Church affiliation: First Baptist Church on Hall Street

Prior elected service or candidacies for public office: Franklin City School Board and commissioner of Redevelopment and Housing Authority

What is your top fiscal priority and why: I would like to build a consensus with my colleagues to do a thorough cost analysis of new contractual obligations that come before council for approval as well as any that would come before us for renewal.

It is incumbent upon us to ensure that we look further than the short-term benefits of doing business. We have to do our homework as city leaders ensuring that our citizens receive long-term benefits through cost for services and tax savings.

Secondly I would like to see council work hand and hand with economic development, the chamber of commerce and our school administrator.

Together we must harness the power of our votes at the state level by calling on our delegate and congressman to highlight Franklin as a business friendly community. I’m more than sure that they must know of some untapped resources that can be made available to us that would make it much easier to bring in new businesses by providing them with incentives such as tax breaks or license fees.

Additionally, I believe our lawmakers can help us get the word to businesses through their contacts, thus bringing jobs to Franklin. I want us to be seen as the number one place centrally located between Richmond and Virginia Beach that will offer them the best opportunity for their business to grow.