I previously served as a Kennesaw City Council Member and also as a Member of the Kennesaw Planning Commission. I have also served in leadership positions with community groups. With my experience, background, and training, I am well prepared to work with the Mayor and Council to set policy from the first day that I take office. My main motivation for running is to open up the government to the Citizens. Citizens are routinely shut out of public meetings. Except for State required hearings on Planning and Zoning items or hearings for the Annual Budget, Citizens are not allowed to speak on regular agenda items. I believe that the Citizens must be allowed to speak on any issue as it occurs in our public meetings.
The biggest budget issue is cash flow. Over the past few years, the City has had to obtain a short term loan annually to enable the City to pay bills and employee salaries until property taxes are received during the end of the year. The City borrowed $3.6 million this past summer for this reason. The first step in addressing the issue is to have a comprehensive review of the budget to look for any waste that can be removed. The second step is to come up with a long term budget plan and to set goals to get the City on a firm financial basis that will not include borrowing money to make up for bad budgeting and poor financial policy
The City already has Ordinances, policies and procedures in place to address these issues. In addition, City Council Members are governed by a variety of State and Federal laws. When I previously served on the City Council, I introduced the first Ethics Ordinances to the Mayor and City. After their adoption, I worked to implement the changes needed to establish the first Ethics Board. The Ethics board is still in existence today. I am committed to serving in a legal and ethical manner. Regarding transparency, I believe in open and public meetings. Currently, the Mayor does not allow Citizens of Kennesaw to speak on a variety of items on the agenda. I disagree with this policy and will do what is necessary to allow Citizens to have a voice in the Council Meetings.
There are a couple of ways that the City can be a welcoming place. The first is that we must make it easy for Legal Permanent Residents and naturalized citizens to do business with the City. Our bidding procedure for purchases must be inclusive and allow the broadest range of businesses to be able to submit bids for goods and services procured by the City. The other big way that the City can be inclusive is to make sure that our business licenses are easily available and that we do not exclude this group from opening and operating businesses within our City Limits.
There are several initiatives we can adopt. One item is to stay current on building codes. Building codes encompass all aspects of the construction of buildings. These codes include regulations for heating and air conditioning units, lighting and materials. Where possible we need to embrace green building materials. Another area is outdoor lighting for public and private facilities. We need to promote the use of high efficiency lighting to reduce local energy demand on the power grid. One big area of need is in traffic congestion. I will be very involved in the SPLOST program with the goal of reducing traffic congestion thereby reducing carbon pollution from vehicle emissions.
Antonio Jones is originally from New Orleans, LA and has lived in Loganville GA, Pennsylvania, Washington DC. MA, and now resides in Kennesaw GA. He was a former student at Howard University and transferred to Kennesaw State University and is majoring in Political Science. While living in Pennsylvania Tony became a volunteer Fire Fighter with the Roslyn Fire Company 1. He also served in the capacity as Judge of Elections for many election seasons. He has been awarded two Presidential Gold level awards from both former Presidents George W. Bush and Barack H. Obama for giving over 1000 hours of community service. He was president of many organizations in high school and college. While in college he worked in management for a fortune 500 company all while still serving the community. In college he had the honor and privilege to intern at the United States Treasury Department in Washington, DC. He has also volunteered at the Executive Office for the President of the United States.
The budget needs to be looked at line item by line item that is the only way we will be able to get the situation under control. Right now the city has very few revenue generating departments that help ease the the city reliance on city taxes to run the city. If elected I will like to work with the mayor and council to create more department to help generate funds for the city.
I will not except gifts from no one and I believe the other city officials should not either. I believe in due process of the law. If a member of our local government is convicted of a crime I believe that their seat should be taken right away. Transparency in our government is paramount and every person employed by the City of Kennesaw elected or non elected should have to follow by the same guidelines. If a citizen request information from the city then that information should be given to the citizens in a timely manner.
When I look around this city I see a melting pot of different cultures. I believe the city is already doing a great job and I will like to help in anyway I can.
I will like to see our city vehicles being replaced with hybrid vehicles. Some departments may needs vehicles that may use more fuel and does not come in a hybrid replacements however I believe that they should be the most efficient as possible.
An education in Land Use, geographic information systems and zoning I intend to help Kennesaw become one of Georgia's "must-see" cities. I want to help Kennesaw become a vibrant town that attracts small business entrepreneurs and titans of industry alike while reducing the "brain drain" from Georgia's send largest college Kennesaw State.
Perhaps one of the largest challenges facing the city of Kennesaw is it's perceived image. For too long we have been viewed as a city of backwards ideals and prejudice. Kennesaw should be a welcoming city to all citizens and visitors alike. I intend to push a policy of inclusion for all peoples in Kennesaw.
I believe in 1000% transparency. The government works for the people and should be completely available to all the people. I believe gifts from lobbyist should be illegal and ethics violations held to a high standard of due diligence.
I will support all measures that promote business that helps the citizens of and the city of Kennesaw. I do not hold any prejudices against legal residents or naturalized citizens and I would promote helping anyone who wanted to help making Kennesaw more great regardless of where they were born. A citizen is a citizen. I wasn't born in Kennesaw, but I consider myself to be Kennesaw through and through. I do not believe birth origin affects the choices you make in life.
I fully support a clean air initiative and I would like to see all public buildings become LEED certified as well as all public vehicles moved to electric or hybrid where possible.