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VOTE411 Voter Guide

Athens City Council 2nd Ward 2017

Athens City Council 2nd Ward - Map of Wards
CHOOSE TWO CANDIDATES FROM BELOW TO COMPARE
  • Jeff Risner (Dem) City Councilman

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Biographical Information

What are your skills, talents and expertise that will help you contribute to the ongoing work of City Council?

What are the most important issues facing the city of Athens in the next two years?

Given that state funds are constantly shrinking, how would you suggest prioritizing the budget? Would you consider raising local revenue and, if so, how would you propose to do that?

I have two masters’ degrees (one in geology/hydrology and the other in information systems) plus 40 years of real world experience. I worked as a hydrologist, geologist, environmental scientist, computer systems analyst, college instructor, and consultant for private business and government. I have published scientific papers and written a book on telecommunications. My education and experience put me in a unique position to work through many of the problems that face the city of Athens.
Athens is a city that is growing and will continue to grow both in the number of citizens and the geographic area it occupies. The geography dictates where growth can occur. I believe the direction is south and west toward Albany. We must prepare for it or lose more business and talent. The much infrastructure of the city is aging and needs to be replaced. This includes water, sewage, lighting, and streets. New infrastructure such as broadband Internet (wireless and cable) must be installed.
About 50% of the city’s $35 million annual budget goes for wages and benefits for city employees. The other 50% goes for everything else. The critical systems of the city come first: Drinking water, sanitation, police department, fire department come first in that order. Fortunately our water department and sanitation are well financed by fees collected for the usage. Police and fire are financed mostly by the city income tax to the general fund.

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