VIRGINIA BEACH, Va. (WAVY) — A wave of change could be coming to Virginia Beach as voters chose a new mayor next week.
City councilmen Bobby Dyer and Ben Davenport are on the ballot.
Dyer told WAVY.com that his number one priority is flooding issues, exposed by Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
“What I want to do if I’m elected mayor is form a blue ribbon panel to put it together immediately my first week in office.”
He envisions engineers, flooding victims, university resources and cities of similar sizes and geography sharing information and ideas to solve the problems.
Davenport would take a regional approach to fix flooding issues. “We need to get the region to fund the engineering studies and then once we have shovel ready projects, that’s when we go to the state and federal government and that’s how these projects get funded,” Davenport said.
Davenport’s main initiative is technology and creating jobs. He worked with a group that brought the first transatlantic cables to the Mid Atlantic region. “We’re going to bring data center operators into Virginia Beach, we’re going to become a viable less expensive alternative to Ashburn, Virginia, and Henrico County, and we’re going to create the types of opportunities that are going to bring our children home.”
Davenport is working with other city leaders on a regional fiber ring. “The regional fiber ring is going to give all five Southside cities initially a direct connection to the cable landing stations,” he told 10 On Your Side.
That he said, connects us with other continents and opens the region to creating opportunities for data analytics operations and trading desks.
Both men agree that working regionally is important.
Dyer said, “We have to build bridges, we have to find out what we have in common, too often we worry about what divides us. Let’s figure out and survive together.”
Dyer also wants to build better relationships with delegates in Richmond and change the way the city builds its budget.
He said, instead of getting a budget from the city manager and then talking about it, “I propose having the public hearings before we go to city council retreat, that way we know what the priorities are and then we direct the city manager to engage in those priorities.”
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Both candidates support changing the way the city does business, kicking cronyism to the curb and making sure everyone has equal opportunities.
Dyer wants more transparency and less red tape. Davenport said his goal is to reach a threshold of 10 percent for women and minority owned businesses.
“You all have my word that we are going to have a baseline and we’re going to begin to improve on that.”