Congratulations to Center Point’s New Mayor and Council

The City of Center Point has a brand new Mayor and an entirely new slate of City Council members.  We would like to congratulate them on winning their elections and welcome them to the City.  They are:

Mayor - Bobby Scott

City Council President - D.M. Collins

Ebonee Hammonds

Sharon Jones

Tiffany Moore

Glenn Williams

Now Accepting Christmas Parade Entries

christmasparadeflyer2020

Tree Lighting Ceremony December 5

treelighting-20201

Welcome Zatie’s!

We would like to welcome Zatie’s Southern Cuisine as the newest member of our Chamber.  Located at 1805 Center Point Parkway, Zatie’s sells delicious Southern cooking at great prices.  For more information, visit their website at:

https://zatiessoutherncuisine.com

Tiffany Moore - Candidate Position Statement

Center Point Municipal Candidates -Position Statements

Tiffany Moore

Economic Development​:
What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Center Point’s top priority for Economic Development should be to recruit commercial and community businesses and maintain viable businesses. Establishing an Economic and Development Task Force to work in conjunction with the Center Point Chamber of Commerce and Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham would support the efforts in recruiting businesses and identifying innovative ways to utilize vacant spaces. The city’s leadership should also have an open mind about entrepreneurs and investors willing to open their businesses in Center Point because their investment is what helps our economy to thrive. Small businesses are an important component of our economy, and city leadership should work towards creating opportunities for them to flourish. Partnerships should be established with current business owners in order to build relationships and to help keep them anchored in Center Point.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets? ​

Center Point’s greatest challenges to Economic Development and growth is the high incidents of crime and the negative reputation the city has. In order to recruit new businesses to the city, the crime in the area must be addressed as well as the implementation of the recommendations from the Department of Justice Study. The Department of Justice Study outlines specific recommendations on how we can decrease crime, increase community engagement and provide consistent transparency from city leadership which will ultimately lead to an improved city image. I would be committed to working with investors, entrepreneurs, corporations and small business owners looking to open businesses in Center Point. Center Point’s greatest asset is the citizens that care deeply about the community in which we live. According to the Department of Justice Study (2018), results show that “68% percent of residents moved into their homes between 2000 and 2014 which indicates these people will be critical in building social cohesion and revitalization in areas”. Residents regularly support quality businesses in the city as a result there are several businesses that have sustained because of the support from our residents. I also recommend the city conduct an audit of the city’s finances to determine if budgets and expenditures are financially sound.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

I would prioritize Center Point’s capital improvements needs by recommending installation of sidewalks and street lights, creation of green spaces and updating of the city’s infrastructure with the hopes of luring new businesses. I will collaborate with the mayor and council members to develop a strategic plan to remove blight from communities. I also propose establishing a Center Point Customer Service Center to address residents’ concerns about non-emergency issues like (clogged drains, potholes, animal control, etc.) this would be available online and by phone for residents to make requests. A dashboard of statistical data regarding residents’ requests and the city’s resolutions to requests should also be available online to promote transparency between city officials and residents. I recommend prioritizing the placement of speed bumps, additional street lights and sidewalks in residential areas. There is a great need for sidewalks along 23rd Avenue NW to ensure safety for children walking to and from the elementary, intermediate and middle school. Additionally, the city should continue to prioritize enforcing the upkeep of rental properties and apartment complexes. Lastly, a campaign to rehabilitate the city’s image should be initiated. Many citizens have expressed concern over the city’s image, and it is imperative that citizens are proud of the community in which we live.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses. Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city. The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City. What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City? ​

To jump start revitalization and growth in the city, incentives should be considered to recruit new businesses. In order to build and sustain a thriving community, a strategic plan to recruit commercial and small businesses must be implemented. I propose establishing an Economic and Development Task Force to identify locations which would be viable for commercial and retail businesses. Updating the city’s infrastructure should also be considered in order to lure new businesses to the city. I also propose developing an online dashboard which highlights and provides metrics on the city’s economy, high school graduation rates, population and current businesses. This will provide investors and entrepreneurs with vital information about our economy in hopes of swaying them to invest in our city. Providing this information would now only help to recruit new businesses, but it will also allow for residents to stay informed on the economic development and growth in the city.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs. While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows. Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include: law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

​Innovative programs I envision for our community consists of accessing grants which focus on public safety. These types of grants would be beneficial in implementing crime fighting strategies which focus on developing innovative policing policies, training community leaders in order to establish effective Neighborhood Watch Programs and implementing a community policing program. Based on statistics from the Department of Justice Study, domestic violence incidents, for several years, were higher than both burglaries and robberies. Obtaining grants which provide resources and support to victims of domestic violence would help in decreasing the number of incidents in our city. Grants which focus on creating community green-spaces, specifically community gardens, would also be valuable in providing access to fresh fruits and vegetables, enhancing the aesthetics of the community and more importantly creating a sense of “community” among residents.  Research shows that community gardens have been associated with other changes in the community including increased rates of home-ownership and enhances the positive perception of residential properties located in the area. More importantly, the Department of Justice Study also recommends installing sidewalks and improving green spaces in an effort to create social cohesion in the community. Lastly, I propose seeking grants which focus on increasing and improving police protection and that allows the city to implement innovative policing policies and safety strategies to help keep our residents safe.

Education​:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits? ​

The City of Center Point can best support area schools within the city limits by budgeting money which would be earmarked for programs geared towards at-risk students. A majority of the students in our local schools are faced with many challenges which create barriers to learning. The city should prioritize collaborating with community organizations and stakeholders to enhance the lives of the city’s children through partnering with local businesses to create apprenticeships and internships for Center Point High Students. I also propose that the city provide paid internship opportunities to students enrolled in our Career and Technical Education Programs. I recommend establishing a Community Partnership Committee to work on bridging the gap between the community and city leaders, and this committee would spearhead and cultivate relationships with children in our area schools. I also propose establishing a Student Advisory Committee to encourage more students to get involved in their community through a variety of community service initiatives throughout our neighborhoods. Additionally, I propose each council member “adopt a school” and serve as a liaison between the council and school.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially. What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

I think the role of the city is to continue to provide financial support to ensure citizens receive quality service and support at the library. The city should work with the library on implementing the library’s mission and initiatives.

Parks & Recreation​:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon. ​

I am aware of the youth sports programs offered by Parks and Recreation because my son who is now 17 years old began participating in both football and baseball at about the age of 4 years old and continued until he entered middle school sports. I was able to witness firsthand the remarkable job that the Parks and Recreation Staff does with the youth sports programs. Some of my fondest memories with my son happened at the sports complex. I met some great men and women throughout the time my son was involved with youth sports, and his teammates and their parents became our extended family. We still keep in touch with many of the people we met 13 years ago. I am happy that those programs continue to be a great outlet for the children in our community. The Department Justice Study recommends creating activities in which young people can get involved and the youth sports programs exceed expectations. The Parks and Recreation Staff are doing an amazing job with all programs. Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents. ​As a mother of two children who utilize wheelchairs, I would like to see more inclusive and accessible programs offered for those with limited mobility. We are fortunate to have the Lakeshore Foundation in Birmingham that offers accessible and adaptive programs, but it would be awesome if we had access to those same programs closer to home. It would also give other children in the community an opportunity to interact with children that they may not otherwise engage with. More importantly, this will promote acceptance and inclusiveness as well as provide children with an opportunity to learn about and appreciate children who are different.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding. ​

I’ve visited the Community Center once, and as someone who works out regularly, I was very impressed with the facility. Although I’ve only visited once, I have heard about the superb classes that are offered. I personally know several people who are members, and they constantly rave about the quality of programs, instructors and equipment. The only suggestion I have is to create a partnership with community organizations willing to provide financial support to give disadvantaged families an opportunity to participate in youth sports and Community Center programs.

Public Works​:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements?

In my opinion, the greatest need of improvement in the city involves stopping people from dumping in residential areas, keeping our residential streets clean, and removing blight from our communities. Measures should be taken to deter dumping in our communities. Where and what improvements would you implement?​ I propose working with the Public Works Staff to identify areas with high incidents of dumping as well as establishing a Public Works Committee of both city officials and citizens to work towards identifying solutions for the dumping. I know in the past, city officials have prioritized removing blight from our communities so I would like to continue those efforts. As I stated earlier, Proposed establishing a Center Point Customer Service Center to address​​residents ‘concerns about non-emergency issues like (clogged drains, potholes, animal control, etc.) in order to better streamline requests and concerns​.

Safety​:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data. This study is available to read on the city’s website                   (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf​ ).

Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why. ​

I am aware the city has approved to increase the number of contract deputies which is a great start; however, the Department of Justice recommends that contract deputies focus on responding to violent and property crimes. Based on residents’ survey responses in the Department of Justice Study, additional police protection is their main concern so utilizing deputies for serious crimes instead of enforcing city ordinances should be a priority. Assigning a contract deputy to serve as a “community” deputy to engage with the community in areas with high incidents of crime is another recommendation which should be prioritized. Other recommendations I would implement is to establish the CenterPoint Safety Dashboard and expand the Neighborhood Watch Program. I think that the dashboard is important because it would provide citizens with critical information on property, domestic and violent crimes committed. Not only would this increase transparency between city leaders and residents it would provide residents with statistical data on crimes in our community. This dashboard should be easily accessible on the city’s web page. The Department of Justice recommends implementing a Neighborhood Watch Program beginning with a “pilot neighborhood” and once it is established and functioning effectively, introduce it into other neighborhoods. All of the recommendations provided in the Department of Justice Study would need to be implemented and practiced with fidelity in order to have an impact on decreasing the crime in our city. Although these are three recommendations I think are critical to improving the lives of our residents, the following are my ideas for creating a safer Center Point:

●Develop a Safety Task Force to meet and work in conjunction with the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.

●Create an action plan based on recommendations from the study by the Department of Justice.

●Coordinate with Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department to develop community partnerships with residents to increase community engagement.

●Increase patrolling in areas with high incidents of criminal activity.

●Implement accountability measures for property owners with repeated incidents of violence and criminal activity on properties.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in CenterPoint. There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired. What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? ​

To assist the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department in recruiting and maintaining officers, I propose the city provide incentives for the deputies to commit to working in the city. I am aware that deputies are reassigned within a specific time frame so I propose working with Sheriff Mark Pettway to implement an assignment policy which would benefit both officers and residents because officers would have the opportunity to build relationships with residents in the community. For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)? ​I believe the first step in determining the budgetary numbers for a police department would be to conduct a feasibility study to determine if the city has the revenue to establish and sustain a fully operational and effective police department. The feasibility study should provide current and future projections needed to implement a viable police department. In my opinion, there is no way to make this decision without first conducting a feasibility study.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

I am aware that the Senior Citizens Center provides a variety of activities throughout the day including health education, line dances, bike classes and trips to different attractions.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant. With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

​Being that I enjoy working out, I would like to see the expansion of health and fitness activities to encourage healthy lifestyle choices.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Tiffany Collins Moore is a native of Birmingham, Alabama. She has a Bachelor’s degree in Collaborative Education from the University of Alabama at Tuscaloosa and a Master’s degree in Special Education 6-12 from the University of West Alabama. Tiffany also holds a National Board Teacher Certification as an Exceptional Needs Specialist/Early Childhood Through Young Adulthood. She has been a special education teacher for 17 and a half years with the last three years being at Center Point High School. Tiffany received the 2009-2010 Secondary Teacher of the Year Award when employed with the Fairfield City School System. She worked in the Fairfield City Schools System for nine years and has been employed with Jefferson County Schools for eight years. Tiffany has served as a mentor to new teachers and a Candidate Support Specialist for teachers pursuing National Board Teacher Certification. Additionally, Tiffany works as a Content Support Specialist with Teach for America. Tiffany and her husband, Dwight, have been married for 10 years, and together they have5 children. Recently, Tiffany began a blog titled “Moms Inspiring Moms” to chronicle her journey of caring for her 8 year-old twin boys who both have a physical disability as well as to encourage and provide support for other mothers of warriors. It is her goal, to one day start a support group and nonprofit organization which supports mothers of children with disabilities. Tiffany has also been an active supporter and fundraiser for the Alabama Muscular Dystrophy Association in which her twin boys served as the 2018 Alabama Goodwill Ambassadors.

Ebonee Hammonds - Candidate Position Statement

Ebonee Hammonds

Center Point City Council Place 5 Candidate

Position Statements

Economic Development

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Answer: Center Point’s top economic development priority must be being innovative in recruiting new businesses to Center Point.  Currently there are an abundance of empty store fronts, and commercial property.  Over the past several years there have been too many businesses that have left the city.  Center Point needs more businesses that will be willing to come to Center Point and stay and be successful.  More businesses will be an asset to the city because it will bring in more tax revenue which will be beneficial to the city.  More businesses will create more jobs, and hopefully bring new people to the city to live.  Business that come in an thrive will attract other businesses to come, which will create a steady rise in economic development.  I also think more entertainment will be an asset to Center Point.  I would like to see more sit-down restaurants in the city as well as other entertainment businesses such as a bowling alley and maybe a movie theater.  We would be able to get the residents in Center Point to spend more money in the city instead of having to go to other cities for those amenities, which in turn will increase tax revenue.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Answer: The greatest challenge that Center Point has is regards to economic development and growth is that fact that we currently have a crime problem in the area.  Many businesses will look at the crime issue as a deterrent to coming into the city and opening businesses.  I would like to see Center Point start a small business development program that will provide education and financial resources to current and future business owners.  This will enable current small business owners to have the assistance needed to stay profitable and keep their businesses open.  The program will also be a great help to any entrepreneurs in the city who would like to open a storefront or have an office space in the community get the education and resources to start their business and get adequate funding.  The greatest assets that Center Point has when it comes to economic development and growth is that fact that it is in an area where very many people pass through to get to another area.  There is always potential traffic that will allow any new businesses to have potential customers. I would like Center Point to be more engaging with local employers to see what their needs are in the workforce, and work with local colleges to find out what they are doing to address local workforce needs.  I think that it will be essential to form partnerships with local community organizations to get residents the education and training needed to accommodate the employers in Center Point.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

Answer:  I prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs to be a top priority.  Capital improvement goes hand in hand with economic development.  Center Point does have a lot of empty commercial property that could possibly be renovated so that new businesses could occupy those spaces.  The owners of the empty commercial properties need to agree to renovate those properties and bring them up to date.  There are a lot of buildings that are very old and will not attract potential businesses to occupy those spaces, so I do think that there does need to be new infrastructure brought to the city in order to be appealing to new businesses.

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses. Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city. The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City. What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

Answer: I think that offering incentives to businesses that are considering opening in Center Point will be attractive.  Incentives such as tax abatements for several years. Another great way to draw new businesses to Center Point will be to offer discounted fees and permits.  If a company wants to build a new space for their business the city could also consider giving them a property tax break for a period.

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs. While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows. Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include: law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

Answer:  There are several programs and amenities that I would like to see available to residents in Center Point.  First, I would like to see better lighting in the city.  There are areas even on residential streets that are too dark and can cause people to be more comfortable to commit crimes.  I would also like to see a mentoring program for school age children and young adults in the city that will assist in helping our children and young adult be more successful in school and prepared for college or staring their own business.  Another program I would like to see in Center Point is something related to the Arts.  I think that it would be a good outlet for residents just like sports is.  Another program that I would like for Center Point would be a gardening and landscaping club for children and adults.  This will help to encourage people to get involved with making their city a more visually appealing while creating a sense of community.

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

Answer: Center Point can support area schools by helping to sponsor trainings for educators along with what the schools already offer.  Center Point could also assist area schools in helping to support any before and after school programs with any supplies or other resources that is needed.  I think an internship program for high school students would also be a great investment into the city because it will allow students to get an idea of how the city runs and also give them access to skills needed in being successful in the workforce.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially. What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

Answer: I see the city’s role as it pertains to the library as not only a financial role, but a role of support as well.  Often libraries become a hub for the city.  It gives people access to information and becomes a place where a lot of activities that benefit the city are taking place.  Libraries are a key source of early childhood education which is an investment in residents in the city.  Libraries can also be support service for local small businesses by proving online resources that is needed to succeed in an increasingly competitive small business environment.  It is important that the city support the library in helping to reach residents in letting the know what services are provided by the library.  The city can also be an integral part in referring community programs to the library for partnering on projects aimed to better the community.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon.

Answer: Some of the services that I am aware of offered at the city’s parks are youth sports which include, football, basketball, cheerleading, and baseball.  I am also aware of the Sports Complex, the Splash Pad, and the area to fish at Reed- Harvey Park.  There is also pavilion rental available at both Civitan and Reed-Harvey Park.  I am excited to see the children be able to fully enjoy the Splash Pad now that it has opened back up to the public.  I would like to see longer hours for the Splash Pad and hopefully open to the public some hours on the weekends for more residents to enjoy.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

Answer:  I would like to see more youth sports started such as soccer and gymnastics.  I think gymnastics will be an outlet to get more young girls involved in sports.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

Answer:  I have been to the new Community Center attending a youth basketball game, and I also had my bridal shower there in June.  I have to say that the community center was nice each time I have visited.  It appeared to be very well maintained and the staff were very professional and accommodating.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Answer:  I would like to see more clean up done and maintenance on the streets within Center Point.  A lot of residential areas, especially close to apartment complexes are filled with litter and trash which makes our neighborhoods unappealing.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data. This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Poi nt%20reponses.pdf ). Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why. Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point. There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired. What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

Answer: The study’s recommendation that I would want to implement first would be implementing concepts of community policing that include deputies patrolling and making more contact with hot spot areas and by being active in neighborhood watch meetings.  The relationship between deputies and the residents of Center Point is strained and needs to be rebuilt again.  I think that more deputies being allowed to patrol and going into the neighborhoods to speak with residents to find out what their issues are will help to build a strong relationship between residents and officers.  I would also like to see more deputies follow up with residents who have been the victims of crime so that they will be aware of the status of their case and won’t feel like they’re being forgotten.

Right now, there is nothing that the council can do to attract officers because Center Point is being patrolled by Jefferson County.  In the future I do hope that Center Point can get to a place sooner than later to be able to have their own police department.  Existing budgetary data shows that currently Center Point is not in a position financially to fund and operate a police department.  I have heard of candidates referring to grants as a mean of funding, but I’m not sure if that is completely viable for continuous funding that will be needed.  Grants are usually not guaranteed, or one-time funding source or only a certain amount of time.  We would need o be ale to continuously fund and operate a police department.  Therefore, economic development must be a top priority of focus for the city.  If the city can bring in more tax revenue, then it will be possible to effectively start and maintain a police department.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center. The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant. With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

Answer:  I am familiar with several different programs at the Senior Citizens Center such as the Walking Club and the Health & Wellness Fairs.  I am also aware of the Walking Club and Line Dancing.  Another great program that the Senior Center does to help the seniors is the assistance with Meals on Wheels, and they also have personal care & grooming classes available. The seniors at the center play Bingo.   I also know that they take the seniors for outings to restaurants and farmers markets.  I would like to see the city partner with local facilities such as the nearest YMCA to provide access to their pools for the seniors who would like to use the pool for exercise classes, and the Senior Citizen Center could provide transportation to the nearest YMCA for the seniors to participate in any swimming/exercise classes.  I would like to also like to have a program onsite where seniors could get referral sources for financial assistance, healthcare assistance, or counseling assistance.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Biography:  My name is Ebonee Hammonds, and I am a candidate for the Center Point City Council Place 5.  I have been a current homeowner here in Center Point for about 4 years.  I have been an Auditor for the Jefferson County Commission in the Revenue Department since 2016.  I have an MBA with a concentration in Public Administration.  I am a current member of the County Revenue Officers Association of Alabama.  I held a Treasurer position on the Travelers Aid of Greater Birmingham Junior Board for several years.  I am recently married and have three children.  I love to be of service and help to others.  I am looking forward to helping Center Point to grow economically and better than ever before.

DM Collins Candidate Position Statement

Candidate Position Statements

DM Collins

Center Point Municipal Candidates

Position Statements

Economic Development:

What should be Center Point’s top Economic Development priority?

Center Point should be working to bolster economic development by increasing businesses and working to establish a more diverse business index.

When it comes to Economic Development and growth, what are Center Point’s greatest challenges and greatest assets?

Location is a great asset. However, the city is not taking full advantage of this; the Parkway is the blueprint of a successful, business filled destination, but many properties are outdated, unmaintained, unattended, and uninviting.

How would you prioritize Center Point’s capital improvement needs?

1. Improve Public Safety

2. Commercial Development Projects

3. Park Revitalizations

The City and representatives from the Chamber of Commerce attend the International Conference of Shopping Centers annual convention each year as well as the regional ICSC meeting attended by the Chamber Economic Development Coordinator. These events are primarily recruiting venues for new businesses.  Both the City and the Chamber work closely with the Regional Planning Commission of Greater Birmingham to plan growth and development within the city.  The City of Center Point has also recently been named an Alabama Community of Excellence (ACE) which provides more grant opportunities for the City.  What other means would you employ to draw new businesses to our City?

  • Major development projects along the Parkway and throughout the community
  • Tax incentives to business owners through abatements
  • Ensure permit requirements are clear and sensible

The City has had a very aggressive grant writing program over the years that has gained the City over $12 million in services, inventory, construction and programs.  While grants do not fund operating expenses, they do allow the City to offer special programs that are over and above what the budget allows.  Some examples of things grants have funded in the City include:  law enforcement equipment and training, three additions to the Senior Center (including the one currently being constructed) as well as programs for seniors, all of the sidewalks within the city limits, the splash pad, energy efficiency grant to bring down utility costs, boardwalk at the Reed-Harvey Park, a playground at the community center, etc. What types of innovative programs would you envision our community having that might be accessible through grant writing?

  • More sidewalks
  • Promotional and economic development projects
  • Creating more green spaces in the city
  • Park revitalizations
  • More lighting throughout the entire city

Education:

Since our schools are a part of the Jefferson County School District, the City has limited input into their organization/structure. How can the City of Center Point best support the area schools in our city limits?

The city can best support the area schools through monetary donations to provide students with more resources and through partnerships with the community center and library.

Although our public library has an independent board, the city still supports the library financially.  What do you see as the city’s role as pertains to the library?

The city has a financial role to the library. We must work to ensure community programs are readily available to citizens in a central location, the library is a great tool and location for community programs for students, children, and adults.

Parks & Recreation:

Please name the existing services offered at each of the City’s parks that you are aware of and what services can be improved upon. Parks and Recreation is one of the City’s greatest assets

Reed Harvey Park

Existing services- Senior Citizen Activity Center, Splash Pad, Amphitheater, walking trail, and Fishing

Improvements

  • Pedestrian access to the park could be improved by installing sidewalks
  • Install more lights along on Polly Reed Road, the perimeter of the park, and in the amphitheater area
  • Utilize the amphitheater area for more activities- art festivals, small music shows, holiday festivals, etc.
  • Add retaining wall to amphitheater area and flower bed

Civitan Park

Existing Services- Boys Scouts Center

Improvements

  • Add all-inclusive playground area
  • More lighting throughout the park
  • Better parking across the street with walking bridge over the parkway for easy safe access
  • Updated fencing

Sports Complex

Existing Services- baseball, softball and a football field.

This park has recently been updated, which is great; the city should continue to maintain it.

Courthouse Park

Existing Services- walking trails, tennis court, softball and softball fields.

Improvement- Let me first correct something I stated previously in a graphic released by my team. This park does have restrooms. Because this park is leased from Jefferson County, I think the city should be very strategic with monies put into the facility. Money should be used to ensure the park is properly maintained, functional, and presentable.

Please state what additional recreational services you would like to see the City offer its residents.

I would like to see the city put on more diverse events at the parks, inclusive activities and sports programs for disabled children and children who have interest in other sports.

If you have visited the new Community Center, please give your impressions of the positives of this facility and what you would improve upon within current budgetary funding.

The Community Center offers great activities for both youth and adults with the open basketball court, the fitness room, and fitness classrooms. I think the building’s exterior could use some maintenance, i.e. pressure washing.

Public Works:

Are there any areas of PUBLIC property within the City limits of Center Point that need improvements? Where and what improvements would you implement?

Clearing litter, illegal dumping, and over grown right of ways in a timely manner are issues that the city should work to improve.

Safety:

The US Department of Justice just completed a study of crime in the City of Center Point. The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department has provided updated information for 2019 as well as amended information from the DOJ data.   This study is available to read on the city’s website (http://www.thecityofcenterpoint.org/DOJ%20report%20with%20City%20of%20Center%20Point%20reponses.pdf ).  Please state which of the study’s recommendations you would implement first and why.

DOJ Recommendation- CenterPoint should review the current contract with the JFSO and develop an updated model that would focus contract deputies on violent and property crimes and developing relationships with the community.

The city does currently have contract deputies, but these deputies work to enforce city ordinance and back up the regular duty sheriff’s deputies. It is my recommendation that more contract deputies are added and their focus should shift to violent and property crime by implementing the Hot Spots and Community Policing Strategy.

The goal of the Hot Spots strategy is to improve order in specific high crime areas to create broad crime reduction results across the greater area.  Community Policing is, in essence, a partnership between the police and the community working to identify and solve community problems.

Funding and availability of law enforcement candidates are barriers to public safety in Center Point.  There is a national shortage of police academy candidates, primarily minority candidates as well as difficulty in retaining law enforcement officers once hired.  What would you do to attract additional competent officers/deputies to our City? For those who believe Center Point should have its own police department, how would you fund it (either using existing budgetary numbers or increased revenue from other sources)?

There are many ways to attract interest in employment- sign-on bonuses and great benefit packages, to name a couple.

If the finances show that the city can start and maintain a police department I would definitely agree to the establishment of a department. If that is not the case, as an immediate course of action, I think it’s important that we work more progressively with the JCSO on better methods to improve public safety.

I don’t think it’s a great idea to depend solely on grants and donations from other police departments, (as other candidates have recommended) to cover the expense of a police department.

The goal is a safe city not a bankrupt city.

Senior Citizens:

Please list the programs that you are familiar with as pertains to the Senior Citizens Center.

The Senior Center is currently being enlarged through a Community Development Block grant.  With this extra space, what additional programs would you like to see implemented?

The Center offers various programs that promote health, nutrition, and activity. In the additional space, I would like to see a small lightweight fitness room and office space for information and assistance programs.

Candidate Information:

Please provide a short biography that will let people know a little about who you are and your connection to Center Point.

Dy’Quese Collins works in Biotechnology Regulatory Affairs. She grew up right down the road from Center Point in Huffman, where she graduated from Ramsay High School. She went on to the University of Alabama at Birmingham where she received her Bachelors of Science in Healthcare Management. She is currently in school finishing up her Masters of Science in Health Services administration. She has worked in healthcare for nearly 10 years. A little over 3 years ago as a first time home buyer, she chose Center Point to call home. Dy’Quese has always had a heart to serve and looks forward to serving the people of Center Point for the next 4 years.


Candidate Forum 2020 Municipal Election

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Candidate Forum 2020 Municipal Election

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Candidate Forum 2020 Municipal Election

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