2017 Italy City Council Candidate Questionnaire: Franky Jackson


Please tell us a little about yourself (current work, education, experience, background).

I have lived in Italy all my life. I attended Italy schools and graduated in 1972. I love Italy and the people here. As an adult, I chose to make Italy my permanent home. I am a member of Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church.

Why are you seeking to be a council member?

With my experience in city government, I feel I can make good decisions to help Italy to grow and prosper. I want to serve the citizens and give them a voice. All of our citizens matter to me.

What qualifications or experience do you possess that voters should consider?

I served as Mayor of Italy for 14 years and as a councilman for 10 years. I do my best to make decisions that will benefit all citizens, not just a select few. I have served on every city board including the Planning and Zoning, Economic Development, Board of Adjustments and Park Board. In the past I worked closely with prospective new businesses to get them to locate here. With the development of the I-35 corridor, our sales tax increased from $30,000 per year to $350,000 per year. While I was mayor, I began recognizing our Yard of the Month and Citizen of the Month.

What do you consider the most important issue facing our city today?

I think every issue regarding Italy is important. I believe getting our finances back in order should be priority. Without revenue and responsible spending, the City cannot operate.

What do you hope to accomplish during the next 2 years?

I would like to see Italy continue to grow. I would like to bring more businesses to Italy to increase our tax base. Getting back on track financially and restoring integrity in city government is necessary for us to succeed.

What do you consider the most important and least important duties a council member has?

I think all duties of a council person are important. We need to be good stewards of city funds. We need to be a voice for the people and serve their needs. We also need to respect our citizens and respect their opinions, even if we do not always agree.

What do you think should be the top priorities of the city after this election?

I feel we need to serve the citizens better. We need to restore transparency and trust. We need to find ways to bring our city together with our citizens. We also need to restore the relationship between the city and the fire department.

Is there anything you would want to change about the way our city is run?

That would need to be a decision of the mayor and council after the election.

What do you think could be done to cut expenses in the city budget if any?

Until I see the finances as they are, I won’t know what would need to be revamped or what expenses would need to be cut.

What do you think the city should do to draw new businesses or industry to Italy?

One of the main things that we would need to do is to enforce code compliance to clean up the community. We have ordinances that are not being enforced regarding junk cars, tall grass and weeds, trash and at-large dogs. The city needs to set an example for all citizens to follow by keeping their areas clean. Improving our streets would also help lure new business.

What community service have you given any community in the past?

I have supported all city boards and committees. I have served on all our boards. I also helped organize Italian festivals and Christmas festivals. I also supported several activities at the school and donated funds when I could..

What volunteer work have you done in the Italy Community?

I volunteered for the Italian festivals and Christmas festivals. I also helped with several clean-up days.

What do you want the voters to know that they may not know?

I want the citizens to know that I will serve and support them to the best of my ability. I have always been available with an open door policy and will continue to do so. I pray about the decisions that need to be made. I will try to show our employees how important they are and that I appreciate the jobs that they do.