Canton mayor running unopposed
Wednesday, October 31, 2012 9:31 AM
As Canton voters go to the polls next Tuesday, they will find only one name on the ballot to elect their city's mayor. However, the name will be a familiar one as Donivee Johnson has served their community as mayor since 1993.
She is retired and is married to Richard Johnson.
As part of the News-Record's election coverage, Johnson answered the following questions regarding her views and priorities for the city of Canton.
What has motivated you to file for this office? If you are an incumbent please note how many years you have served and why you wish to continue.
Early in 1993 I was appointed to fill a vacancy on the council. In 1996, I ran for mayor and am now finishing my eighth term. My motivation for filing again is because I actually enjoy the work for the most part. We have two excellent city employees and experienced, knowledgeable council members. The opportunity to work with all of them has been very rewarding.
Name one characteristic you have that has enabled or would enable you to be a valuable member of this office?
We've made a lot of changes in the past 16 years with regards to the way the city conducts its business. Most of what we have accomplished is not readily visible to the casual observer. We spent a great deal of that time restructuring internally, implementing business practices that we are legally required to follow. I really enjoyed reading and researching the material that helped us make the necessary changes. I think it is important for a council to always be up to speed and aware of changes that affect our city.
In these difficult economic times, how would you prioritize the needs for the city?
Aging infrastructure seems to be one of the things we are constantly dealing with. It is very expensive to repair and way beyond our capabilities to replace without financial assistance. Because we will always require grants to help with replacing infrastructure, it is very important for the council to make sure that we are in a position to apply for grant programs.
Financially, we are in a much better position than we were 20 years ago with regards to cash reserves but a small city will never have enough money to manage unfunded mandates that come down to us from the Federal and State levels.
Top of the list right now, I would say is making sure that our water supply is protected. Our water delivery system is about a century old and that is also a huge concern for us.
It doesn't seem all that long ago that we built a new wastewater treatment plant but it won't be too many years before the city will have to revisit that part of our city services.
And, of course, there are always streets that need repair and resurfacing. The asphalt paving of our streets was done in the mid to late '70s and we've taken good care of them but nothing lasts forever, unfortunately.
Is there an upcoming issue that you feel needs to be addressed by the city?
Our biggest issue presently is one that we have been working on with the state for the past year or so. It is a project that we are required to do and implement as soon as possible. This project is called a Wellhead Protection Plan. We are identifying sinkholes, old wells and businesses in the city limits, which could have the potential to contaminate our two wells.