Election Watch 2015: Greenville mayoral candidate Donna Whitley

GREENVILLE, N.C. (WNCT) – When talking to Greenville’s voters, Donna Whitley always emphasized two factors: economic development and quality of life.

“Quality of life can also be a powerful economic magnet for high-quality industry,” Whitley said.

It’s a philosophy she would adhere to if elected mayor.

She wants more pedestrian-friendly roads, more funding for greenways and a focus on parks and recreation.

To pay for the features, she wants the city to issue more bonds modeled after this year’s bond, which, if approved, could fix roads and expand the city’s greenways.

“We will continue to do it the same way and not, remember this, not have to increase your tax.”

She backed that promise up by claiming the city hasn’t raised taxes for the past few bonds, but 9 On Your Side revealed back in June, city staff “expect[s] a tax increase will be required” if this year’s bond is approved by the voters.

“So if we want to consider to build our city, then we have to be willing to say, ‘are we willing to pay for them?'” she said.

Incumbent Allen Thomas criticized Whitley claiming she hasn’t participated in city government since 1982.

“There are many many ways we can be active in our community,” she responded.

She said she co-founded a neighborhood association, brought in the city’s bus system and was an active PTA member.

“My specialty has been gathering people together, identifying a problem and working together,” she said.

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