Flem­ing out, Clark to seek BOC seat

Fourth run for for­mer can­di­date

The Covington News - - Front Page - By Rachel Oswald

With Dis­trict 3 Com­mis­sioner Ester Flem­ing’s de­ci­sion to not run for re-elec­tion, lo­cal busi­ness­man Jimmy Clark is op­ti­mistic about his chances of win­ning a seat on the com­mis­sion this Novem­ber.

On Tues­day, Flem­ing said he would not seek a third fouryear term in keep­ing with his ini­tial cam­paign prom­ise that he would not serve more than two terms on the Board of Com­mis­sion­ers.

Flem­ing said he would con­tinue to re­main in­volved in the com­mu­nity af­ter his term ends this year.

Flem­ing’s wife, Delia, said he had not ruled out run­ning for an­other pub­lic of­fice in the fu­ture but that he would not be run­ning for county com­mis­sion again.

This will be Clark’s fourth cam­paign for the BOC and his sec­ond cam­paign for the Dis­trict 3 seat. He ran twice un­suc­cess­fully for the Dis­trict 2 seat.

Clark, who is run­ning as a Demo­crat, cited the close mar­gin that he lost by in 2004 as proof of his electabil­ity. In 2004, he cap­tured 46.9 per­cent of the vote ac­cord­ing to Cov­ing­ton News archives.

“ That right there tells me that peo­ple want change,” said Clark who is the owner of Team Sports and Signs, a busi­ness he opened up in 1987.

Clark said he is run­ning on a cam­paign of bring­ing more re­cre­ation op­por­tu­ni­ties to his dis­trict, fos­ter­ing smart growth through­out the county and curb­ing traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Clark said he would fos­ter smart growth in the county by en­cour­ag­ing more busi­nesses to come to New­ton County to even out the county’s tax base. Clark said he would reach out to busi­nesses in Rock­dale County and en­cour­age them to open up lo­ca­tions in New­ton County. Clark said he was es­pe­cially in­ter­ested in see­ing a movie theater come to the county.

“ I would use some creative strate­gies,” Clark said. “ I would court them and see what it would take them to come to New­ton County to do busi­ness.

“As it stands now, when we spend our tax dol­lars, we don’t spend it in New­ton County; we take it out­side the county.”

Clark said he would also like to see the county change its zon­ing or­di­nances to al­low for a smaller min­i­mum house size and to re­quire de­vel­op­ers to set aside a cer­tain amount of green space when they build new sub­di­vi­sions.

Ac­cord­ing to Scott Sirotkin, zon­ing ad­min­is­tra­tor for New­ton County, in most res­i­den­tial zon­ing dis­tricts the min­i­mum house size for a new home in the county is 1,800 heated square feet. That fig­ure does not in­clude garage space and un­fin­ished base­ments.

“ That’s not across the board; there are some zon­ing dis­tricts where it’s smaller,” Sirotkin said.

Cur­rently only con­ser­va­tion over­lay sub­di­vi­sions have a green space re­quire­ment, which is 33 per­cent of the to­tal area Sirotkin said.

If elected, Clark said he would work to de­crease travel time on such busy cor­ri­dors as Salem Road by work­ing closely with the Rock­dale County Board of Com­mis­sion­ers and the Ge­or­gia De­part­ment of Trans­porta­tion on so­lu­tions to ad­dress traf­fic con­cerns in both coun­ties.

“ It’s go­ing to have to be a col­lab­o­ra­tive ef­fort on both parts to make this hap­pen,” Clark said.

As a com­mis­sioner Clark said he would have “ an open door pol­icy” for his con­stituents.

“ I would have town hall meet­ings to let the cit­i­zens know what they need to do in or­der to get some of this con­struc­tion money that is be­ing spent with county dol­lars,” Clark said. “ I would lean on my cit­i­zens to tell me what they want.”

Clark was born and raised in Cov­ing­ton and is a grad­u­ate of New­ton High School. His store, Team Sports and Signs on U. S. High­way 278, sells sports ap­parel and team em­broi­dery. He is also seek- ing to open a com­edy club on Wash­ing­ton Street.

He and his wife Toni have five chil­dren who are all en­rolled at New­ton County schools. They are mem­bers of Spring­field Bap­tist Church. Clark is a vol­un­teer bas­ket­ball coach for the New­ton County Re­cre­ation De­part­ment and a booster club pres­i­dent for the Al­covy High School bas­ket­ball team.



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