Robbie Perkins

by Yes Weekly Election Coverage

Residential address: 201 N. Elm St., 27401 (map)

Incumbent or challenger? Challenger

Age: 56

Campaign website or blog: (link)

Endorsements: Dorothy Brown, Carolina Peacemaker, Greensboro Police Officers Association, Guilford County Community PAC, News & Record, Occupy Greensboro Media Group, Professional Fire Fighters of Greensboro, Replacements Limited PAC, Simkins PAC and YES! Weekly

Occupation and employer: President, NAI Piedmont Triad

Previous electiveexperience (including election campaigns): Served on city council 1993-2005, 2007-present

Civic and volunteerexperience (including service on city commissions and boards): President of the board of directors for One StepFurther; board of trustees, Bennett College; board of trustees, PiedmontAuthority for Regional Transportation; member, Greensboro Urban AreaMetropolitan Planning Organization Transportation Advisory Committee; member,Heart of the Triad Steering Committee

Education (highest degreeattained and name of institution): Masterof business administration, Duke University

Party registration: Republican (nonpartisan contest)

What is the city and stateof your birth? Richmond, Va.

What year did you movehere? 1979

Paid consultants workingon your campaign: Ross Harris

Campaign manager: Ross Harris

Treasurer: Self

Do you favor or opposereopening the White Street Landfill for household waste, beyond the smallamount of sewer sludge currently accepted? Briefly explain your position.

I do not favor re-openingthe White Street Landfill to municipal solid waste. We need a long-termsolution for solid waste in Greensboro and in the Piedmont Triad region. WhiteStreet is a temporary situation at best, which causes tremendous division inour community.

Where do you stand on the”strong manager” form of city government and why?

I am a strong proponent ofthe “council manager-strong manager” form of government. It allows the councilto set policies that would be implemented by a professional staff. The strongmanager form is much more efficient than a city council that micro-manageswithout being trained in what they are attempting to manage.

Should the city ofGreensboro place more or less emphasis on maintaining a healthy water and sewerfund to plan for future growth? Why or why not?

The city’s water and sewerfund is the most powerful economic development tool that the city has at itsdisposal. The utility is worth over a billion dollars, and maintains a AAAcredit rating. Maintenance is a large part of the utility’s budget, andsometimes repairs cost millions of dollars. Recent examples are the Latham Parksewer repair ($50 million) and the Lake Townsend Dam ($40 million). These projectswere funded by bond debt that is dependent from the cash flow from the utility.All of the public utilities in North Carolina except Greensboro raised waterrates this year to pay for increased federal regulation and maintenance issues.Greensboro City Council reduced water rates by 6 percent against the advice ofits professional staff. This is a strategic error that could cost our utilityits AAA bond rating and result in dramatically increased water rates in thefuture.

The city’s tax base hasremained flat for the past two years in a row, and the foreclosure crisiscontinues unabated. As a member of city council, how would you balance the needto fund services such as police patrol, fire protection and park maintenancethat citizens care about with the reality that the revenue picture remainsbleak?

We have successfullybalanced the budget over the last three years with flat revenues not only fromproperty taxes but also from reduced sales taxes and fees. The manager’s MAPprogram evaluates and prioritizes each program that the city funds to make sureeach dollar is spent wisely. Council has made it clear that the tax rate willnot increase, and that we will maintain the level of our overall budget. Wemust continue to find ways to do more with less revenue, and increaseefficiency within the organization. Public safety is always a priority, andactivities that result in jobs will also receive funding.

Do you believe that citystaff deserves council support to implement a program to spend federal grantmoney to improve the energy efficiency of residences and businesses, or doesthis program warrant additional oversight from council? Briefly explain yourposition.

City staff can manage thisprogram without council getting involved with the implementation of the grant.I believe sustainability is a priority goal in Greensboro and this energy grantprogram is part of achieving a more sustainable community.

How would you assess thevalue and effectiveness of Greensboro’s Rental Unit Certificate of Occupancyprogram, which is now prohibited by state law?

RUCO was a great success inGreensboro. I believe the legislature made a mistake in taking away localcontrol from cities on this important program.

How should the impasse overmanagement and operation of the Greensboro Farmers Curb Market beresolved?

Implement the plan proposedby Greensboro Farmer’s Market Inc.

What, if anything, should bedone to resolve racial tensions, and to enhance professionalism, integrity andfairness within the Greensboro Police Department?

Council needs to let thePolice Department do their job. Council needs to properly fund the Departmentand provide strategic direction.

What would you change aboutGreensboro’s land use patterns if the decision were yours to make? Pleaseanswer the question in terms of places people live, work and shop, in terms ofthe modes of transportation people use to get from point to point and thevitality of neighborhoods and commercial corridors?

I would encourage moreresidential development in the downtown core. I would also look at more infillprojects to take advantage of existing infrastructure. Some of our majorstreets have properties that will not be repaired and are waiting for creativereuse or change in use.

What is Greensboro’sgreatest asset? What is Greensboro’s most pressing problem?

Greensboro’s greatest assetsare the energy, creativity and volunteer spirit of its citizens. By workingtogether to build a shared vision, Greensboro can do anything it wants. The greatestthreat to Greensboro (and its most pressing problem) is leadership thatcontinues to divide our community.

Articles about this candidate:

YES! endorsements (link)

2011 general election voter guide (link)

Taxes and spending: Where Greensboro City Council candidates stand (link)

Gut punches at the Greensboro Partnership (link)

Knight and Perkins’ mayoral debate: style and content (link)

Greensboro primary: Mayoral returns analysis (link)

Mayoral challenger Perkins swamps incumbent Knight (link)

2011 primary election endorsement & voter guide (link)

Candidate profile: Robbie Perkins (link)

10 BEST mayoral forum moments (link)

Discussions about regional solid waste option begin (links)

Greensboro mayoral race expands (link)

Mayoral politics crop up during District 1 budget meeting (link)