Where Augusta Commission District 1 candidates Matt Aitken, Bill Fennoy, Stanley Hawes and Denice Traina stand on key issues

MATT AITKEN *

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Augusta Commission

Richmond County school board

Richmond County sheriff

District Attorney, Augusta Judicial Circuit

12th Congressional District

AGE: 54

FAMILY: Wife, Melissa; daughter, Cecilia

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Elected to represent District 1 on Augusta Commission in 2009

EDUCATION: Academy of Richmond County, 1978

AITKEN ON THE STORMWATER FEE: If we look at the infrastructure around Augusta, it’s very old. We don’t have a preventative maintenance program. Once we get the reports back on what actually needs to be done on the maintenance, then we could look at how to get the funding we need to do it.

AITKEN ON RAISING TAXES: If you look at the millage rate, it hasn’t been raised in quite some time. Every year it’s been a deficit and we work well within the arena that we’ve been given. We ask the question, do we increase revenues or decrease expenditures? That’s a discussion we’re going through now.

AITKEN ON THE CONVENTION CENTER: I think deep down the citizens approved the TEE Center. Now there’s a business sitting there without a contract. If you look at the long haul, the jobs it could create; it could help sustain downtown businesses, the tax base, hotel-motel fees. All these things need to be taken into consideration.

AITKEN ON THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR: Answering to 10 commissioners is probably not the easiest job in town. He’s done a lot of things on SPLOST projects on time and under budget. He’s asked for instruction from us a lot. We get bogged down in certain things; hopefully we’ll get past that.

BILL FENNOY

AGE: 64

FAMILY: Widower; two sons; two granddaughters

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former member, Augusta-Richmond County Coliseum Authority; ran for District 1 commission seat in 2009

EDUCATION: Carver High School, Spartanburg, S.C.; Paine College, bachelor’s in history

FENNOY ON THE STORMWATER FEE: Most of the residents that I have talked to, especially the ones that live in the downtown area where drainage is a problem, don’t see why they have to pay an additional fee for services they should have been provided from the start.

FENNOY ON RAISING TAXES: I believe the citizens of Richmond County need good fire protection; they need to feel safe in their homes and safe walking the streets. If it’s going to take raising taxes in order to provide the needed and essential services, then I will support that for that purpose.

FENNOY ON THE CONVENTION CENTER: When I ran for commissioner in 2009, I ran in opposition because TEE centers across the country are failing; they’re not generating any revenue and they’re costing the taxpayers a lot of money. Because we (now) have the TEE Center in existence in Augusta, I would support the thing, but I think the contractor running the TEE Center should be bid out.

FENNOY ON THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR: Personally, I don’t have any issue with Fred Russell and I believe that Fred Russell is doing exactly what the commissioners allow him to do. I don’t think that Fred would propose anything or try to implement anything without the blessing of the commissioners. When he made the decisions that he made, he had the blessing of at least six commissioners.

STANLEY HAWES

AGE: 54

FAMILY: Wife, Dora; son, Stan Jr.

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: None

EDUCATION: Graduate of Lucy C. Laney High School; attended Aiken Technical College

HAWES ON THE STORMWATER FEE: If it’s not going to benefit the communities that basically have been overlooked, primarily in my district, no.

HAWES ON RAISING TAXES: I would have to take a long hard look at where we are, where we’re going to be and how we’re going to get there before I would consider raising taxes. That would be my last resort, period.

HAWES ON THE CONVENTION CENTER: We started out in the blind and it seems like there are still some things that we haven’t quite gotten to the bottom of. For the taxpayers’ sake, I would make sure that every deal that we do is something that we can see from the beginning how we would end up, so there wouldn’t be a lot of blind curves for the safety of the taxpayers.

HAWES ON THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR: There’s a term that was used over the last few years that was “six-vote Fred.” Unless you’re right there and standing right behind that door, it’s hard to make an assessment of his job. From what I’ve seen, he basically has done what the commission has given him the power to do. I think he knows how to stay on the job and I have to give him kudos.

DENICE TRAINA

AGE: 57

FAMILY: Husband, Anibal Ibarra; two sons, Joseph and Joshua; one grandson

POLITICAL EXPERIENCE: Former co-chairwoman, Georgia Green Party

EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in physical therapy and master’s in health education, Georgia Health Sciences University

TRAINA ON THE STORMWATER FEE: We missed out in our duties to maintain what we have. There are issues for people in District 1 and District 2. I think we have to figure out if there isn’t any other way than to have this fee.

TRAINA ON RAISING TAXES: First I would want to look at our government structure and the services we provide and see is there anywhere we can cut back. The priority should be getting people to jobs.

TRAINA ON THE CONVENTION CENTER: We have this big, pretty building. It looks gorgeous and I wish it the best, but when you look at the details, it doesn’t appear that the people who were looking out for us were looking out for our best interests. The taxpayers want to get to the bottom of it.

TRAINA ON THE CITY ADMINISTRATOR: It falls upon him and our legal folks to hash out any agreements that come before the city; they’re supposed to be looking out for our best interests. Sometimes I think we put too much faith in the administrator.

 * Indicates incumbent


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