Meet the Candidates: Bill Donahue

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Bill Donahue http://electbilldonahue.com/

“The future of Richmond Hill is a story in two chapters. There is the Richmond Hill that we know and appreciate. It will continue to experience steady growth with the introduction of more small businesses, more retail options, better recreation alternatives and safer neighborhoods. But there is also a Richmond Hill we have not met yet. An exciting, thriving area that will spring to life with the opening of the new exchange on I-95. In partnership with the master developer, our city and its residents will see dynamic growth. Richmond Hill has a big future, and I look forward to being part of the leadership team that continues working to make that vision a reality.”

Experience:

  • Appointed to City Council March 2019
  • Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Memorial Hospital Foundation 
  • Treasurer and Chairman of the Finance Committee for the Memorial Health University Medical Center Board of Directors 
  • Chairman of the Development Committee for the Savannah Music Festival
  • President of the Ford Plantation Board of Directors
  • Board Member: Savannah Music Festival
  • Former president of four biomedical companies and founder of two others
  • Former partner in equipment leasing company and advisory committee member of an investment group

Issues:

  • Smart development
  • Education opportunities
  • Community improvement
  • Neighborhood traffic control

#1 Name something specific in the last 12 months that you have personally done to make Richmond Hill a better place to live, work, and play?

As an appointed member of City Council since March, I have devoted a considerable amount of time to my leadership responsibilities by not only attending City Council meetings and pre-meetings but also attending various educational seminars regarding the duties of a City Council member. I have spent hours in mitigation negotiations with the County Commissioners hoping to finalize a Shared Services Agreement, and I have personally recruited, welcomed and encouraged new businesses in Richmond Hill. I have been a vocal advocate for improvements within our neighborhoods and recreational facility enhancements.

#2 If money was no object and the decision was solely up to you, what’s the first thing you would do if elected?

Given this scenario I would have a hard time choosing between about 20 suggestions. Invest in our parks, sidewalks and trails, reconstruct our drainage system, fund the Aquatic Center, and move forward with the New Town Center. I would provide the DDA with additional resources to continue their beautification initiative, I would fund equipment requests for our Police and Fire Departments. But I also believe smart decision making and leadership can create a viable strategy to do these things within a workable budget. 

#3 What visions do you have for Richmond Hill and how soon do you think those could become a reality?

Richmond Hill is a small, safe city with an excellent school system and quality of life. My vision is to facilitate smart growth while maintaining our small town feeling and safe environment. I will measure my decisions with this vision as my compass. 

#4 What can be done within city council to influence or create more family-friendly amenities?

City Council will continue to identify and prioritize family-friendly opportunities. This is an area where SPLOST taxes could be put to very good use.

#5 What are your thoughts on growth? Do you have any related plans or goals?

Growth is going to happen. I am an advocate of the Ten Principles of Smart Growth as presented by “Smart Growth America.” Smart growth is an approach to development that encourages a mix of building types and uses, diverse housing and transportation options, development within existing neighborhoods and community engagement. It’s a brilliant strategy and you can learn more at https://smartgrowthamerica.org/our-vision/what-is-smart-growth/

#6 Do you feel the schools are overcrowded? How do you plan on working with the Board of Education to manage this?

The Board Of Education is a strong group with outstanding leadership, and we have faith in their assessment of the school population sizes. City Council is always ready to respond to any request the Board Of Education might ask. 

#7 Do you feel that Richmond Hill should offer their own ambulance service? If no, why not? If yes, what can be done to help make this happen?

I absolutely believe Richmond Hill should provide ambulance service. City Council is working on this, and we consider this one of our highest priorities. 

#8 What are your thoughts on the fact that most of the schools in Bryan County don’t have a dedicated resource officer?

Once again, we have a very strong group of concerned people on the Board of Education. If the Board of Education requests additional staffing, I feel confident City Council will consider it.

#9 What is your opinion on the Bryan County Commissioners recent LVAP funding decision?

I am aware of this issue, and the Bryan County Commissioners appeared to have reviewed, analyzed, and deliberated on what the best decision should be. I have no reason to second-guess their findings. 

#10 If the public has questions during this campaign, what’s the best way to contact you?

I encourage any questions that I might answer. Please contact me at my web site www.electBillDonahue.com/contact

After moving to Richmond Hill, GA in the fall of 2018, Matt wanted to become immediately involved in the community. Without hesitation, he created the Richmond Hill Community Facebook group which reached 2,700 members in just 5 months. After building this community, he decided they needed an honest, reliable news source to keep them informed. Thus, Richmond Hill 411 was born!

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