River walk, campground top issues in C’ton election

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By Kristin Beck

A former mayor, a former city councilwoman and a newcomer will be sworn in on Carrollton City Council.

City residents voted Nov. 6 to bring in Dwight Louden, Tammy McBurney and Hayley Franklin, respectively, and re-elected current members Ann Deatherage, Mike Gordon and Robb Adams.

Deatherage, also a former mayor, was the top vote-getter with 834. “I felt quite honored,” she said when asked how it felt to receive the most votes. “I’ve enjoyed it and maybe people realized that I do. I’m excited to be back on again.”

Gordon came in behind Deatherage with 726 votes, followed by Louden, 714; Franklin, 703; Adams, 675; and McBurney, 665.

Also running for office was incumbent Kevin Craig, 660 votes, and newcomer Roy McAllister, 384 votes. Incumbent Adam Raker ran as a write-in candidate and garnered 179 votes.

Councilman Larry Morgan did not seek re-election.

Mayor Gene McMurry said the three outgoing councilmembers – Craig, Raker and Morgan – were “very productive, good citizens and very good council-members.”

The new councilmembers, he said, are three honest and sincere people. Louden has a business mind, while Franklin is young and creative and will bring new energy to council, McMurry said. McBurney is a good, solid individual who is concerned about the people of the community, he said.

“I look forward to a very productive two years.”

McMurry said he plans to have another public forum in February and will ask Bobbie Bryant from the Kentucky League of Cities to return as moderator. He said he wants to talk about the status of the city’s current projects and plans moving forward, and to get the public’s opinion on what they would like to see happen in the future.

When asked what their goals are for the next two years, Gordon said he wants to address the Point Park project and install the river walk, as long as funds are available.

Louden agreed, adding that the river walk was a big priority when he was mayor from 2006-10. With everything else, he said the city will have to play it by ear, depending on how much money is left. Louden, who also served 15 years previously on city council, said he would start attending Carrollton Utilities and PEAK meetings again.

Adams, re-elected to a second term, said the river walk will bring the most diverse group downtown, from young people to senior citizens. “I think that is the biggest thing the majority of the population would enjoy.”

Gordon, who has served 26 years on council, said he has been an advocate of the splash park for years and would also like to complete that project as long as there is enough money to do it. He wants to continue to advertise the Two Rivers Campground, which he said is beginning to grow.

There should also be enough money through municipal road aid to begin working on streets that have a high “crown” and bringing them back down to grade rather than continuing to pave them, Gordon said. The city may only get a block or two done a year, but said that  is preferable to doing nothing.

Deatherage said she does not want to sound pessimistic, but believes the city be realistic and determine, first, if it can meet its budget.

She said she knows a lot of people in town support the river walk, and it is something she definitely favors; but it all comes down to the money. She believes the city should address its needs before its wants.

“That’s how I do my own budget,” she said. “I want to fulfill the promise to the people on the Wi-fi service, and I think we need to definitely pursue a restroom of some sort for the firemen. And I have not put it out of my mind (that we need) a new fire truck. We need to think of the needs of the people, not the wants.”

Deatherage said she wants to know more about the Wi-fi and why it hasn’t progressed. At one time council was told the signal was being interrupted by the trees, but she wants to know if the group assigned to address the issue has contacted people about putting up more antennas. She said she fears the project has come to a halt and wants to know what the costs will be to finish it.

Adams said he wants to conduct a feasibility study on helping the city to grow physically, which, he said, is “the key for the downtown businesses to be successful.”

He said he believes this will bring more businesses and restaurants to the area and get more people downtown. The city has an ordinance allowing restaurants to sell alcohol by the glass on Sundays, which the county does not have, Adams said. This has kept chain-restaurants like Applebee’s or Rafferty’s from considering coming to Carroll County. Adams said he thinks that by drawing more restaurants out near the Interstate, it would bring other businesses to the area.

Adams also wants council to do everything it can to not raise taxes next year.

After serving one term, he said he has learned that when tackling large projects of any type, council  needs to do more research and collect more information on the architectural firms and contractors, and also consider hiring an onsite project manager.

McBurney said she wants to address the “needs of the community” and also would like to see the river walk completed. She also wants to see what can be done so that the Two Rivers Campground starts making money and stops losing it. That was the top complaint she heard from residents when she went campaigning door to door, she said.

McBurney also wants council to work on maintaining the city’s roads and sidewalks first, something she said is more important than the RV park.

McBurney previously served one term on city council, from 2008-10. From that experience, she said, she learned that one vote from a councilmember can make a difference when making decisions, and she said she is more aware of what the community needs.

McBurney urged city residents to call her with any issues or concerns.

Franklin said the most important thing she wants to address is the drug-abuse issue. As the assistant coordinator of Champions for a Drug Free Carroll County, she said she has close ties with the citizens and the police department.

She also wants to help people realize that there are a number of youth activities available in the community and encourage them to participate. She said she will be meeting with the mayor to discuss different ideas on how to advertise this.

Franklin said she wants people to be proud that they voted for her, and she will help anyone who needs her.