Mayoral candidate, Hattie Edwards, responds to Democrat’s questionnaire

Hattie Barnette

The Co-Publishers of the Greene County Democrat newspaper developed a list of questions and submitted them on September 13, 2016 to both candidates – Hattie Edwards and Raymond Steele for Mayor of Eutaw, in the Run-off Election on October 4, 2016.
We requested that the responses be sent to us by this Monday, September 19, to be published side-by-side in this week’s paper. We wanted the voters to review and compare their responses to make an informed decision before voting in the run-off.
We received a response from Hattie Edwards, the incumbent candidate but we have not yet received a response from Raymond Steele. We are printing her responses and will still welcome the responses of Raymond Steele for publication next week.

Answers to Questions by Hattie Edwards

1. What are the qualifications and experiences that make you the best candidate for Mayor of Eutaw?

First, I want to thank the Co-Publishers of the Greene County Democrat for this opportunity to express my views on the issues in this upcoming run-off for Mayor of the City of Eutaw.
I have been working in the public sector for 34 years, first with the Greene County Highway Department and then as the Mayor. I have a degree in Data Entry and Data Processing. I have been a community worker and public servant working for forty five years. I am aware of the needs of our city for improving the water and sewage operations. I have served on many different boards. I am an Operator I and I have my CDL. In my working and community efforts, I have made many contacts throughout the state of Alabama who are helping me and want to continue to help me to do a great job as Mayor. My commitment to my community is also as a devoted mother of four, an endearing grandmother of three and an active member of Pine Grove Baptist Church.
2. What are three of the priorities that you will pursue when you are elected to the position of Mayor of Eutaw?

Among my priorities, when I am re-elected are: 1. Securing new vehicles and equipment for the city; 2. Upgrade our recreation facilities – the parks, playgrounds, a wellness center and swimming pool; 3. Renovate the National Guard Amory; and 4. Fix the roads and streets throughout the city.

3. What are some other things that you wish to accomplish in your coming term as Mayor?

Attract new industries, jobs and businesses to Eutaw. Bring more events and programs to the City of Eutaw. Encourage citizens to become more involved and attend meetings of the City Council and other groups to improve the quality of life in our community. Put out a monthly newsletter to keep the public informed.

4. What did you learn from your previous service, which will help you to do a better job, if you are elected to serve for the next four years?

I have learned and know how the city operates. I can do a budget for the city. I have learned how important it is to set grounds rules, right out of the gate for employees, including the police force. I know how important it is to keep the public informed of the work and progress in the city and to keep an open door at City Hall to listen to the concerns of residents.

5. One of the issues that is of great concern to the citizens of Eutaw is the status of the roads and streets in Branch Heights, what is your plan to deal with this problem?

Branch Heights was annexed into the city in 2004. We were expecting HUD and the Housing Authority, the Greene County Commission and others to help with fixing the roads before this area came into the City of Eutaw. None of these entities has really helped with this problem.
It has been difficult to get the State of Alabama (ALDOT) to put up funding for the roads in Branch Heights because it is a residential area, no businesses or commercial activities are centered there, and the streets do not directly connect to any state roads. It will be very expensive, in the range of $13-20 million dollars to completely redo the streets, curbs and sidewalks in Branch Heights. The City does not have these funds at this time. I am willing to continue to patch and improve the roads in Branch Heights, as long as the City Council backs me up until we can find the resources needed to do the full job.

6. How will you improve educational and recreational programs for youth in the City of Eutaw?

As you know, one of my visions is to turn the National Guard Armory into a multiplex activity building. This improved facility will have a swim area, basketball, banquet hall, and exercise room. I want to bring in movies, plays and other civic and cultural events. I want to involve the public – both children and adults – participate in designing and choosing these events and activities.

7. Do you feel the City of Eutaw needs to have a formal financial budget; if so, what is your plan and timetable to develop a budget for the city?

Yes, I will have a budget ready by November 2016. I hope the City Council will approve the budget and hold our finances in line with the budget.
8. Anything you want to say or add which will help voters to decide that you are the best choice for Mayor of Eutaw?

I have just served four years as Mayor. I have helped secured $5.2 million dollars for City improvement projects by the grace of GOD. This includes a $3.1 million loan and grant package from USDA to upgrade and expand our water system, including replacing the water tower and 52 new fire hydrants to keep us safer. Half a million dollars from ALDOT to re-pave Prairie Avenue and other improvement projects. I am working hard every day to make a difference for the city.

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