Butler County Times Gazette
  • City Council Candidates offer insights

  • The common theme of the night included service to the community and teamwork among the governing bodies.
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  • Augusta voters had a chance to learn more about the people who hope to represent them on the city council and school board Tuesday night.
    The candidates had a chance to make an opening statement, answered a few specific questions and then made a closing statement.
    The common theme of the night included service to the community and teamwork among the governing bodies.
    The candidates had a lot to say about how they would make decisions if they are elected.
    City Council, Ward 3
    In Ward Three, the election is competitive but certainly not combative. Long-time City Councilor Mike Rawlings and First Southern Baptist Church Pastor Cale Magruder are competing for the seat on the governing body.
    But both men spoke very highly of their opponent Tuesday.
    "Whoever you elect from Ward Three, you will get a good candidate," Rawlings said.
    Magruder, in his closing statement called Rawlings a "faithful servant of the city for many years."
    In his opening statement, Rawlings had pointed out that the work experience he brings to the position has been and could continue to be an asset to the city.
    Magruder said his experience as a leader would be beneficial on the board. He also said that being able to agree in a positive way is important.
    "It is impossible to always agree but we should always act in such a way to treat people appropriately," Magruder said.
    When asked what they believed Augusta's biggest asset is, both men agreed that the school system was near the top of the list.
    "Currently, it is our new schools," Rawlings said. He pointed out that the city, the school system and the chamber of commerce along with some private individuals went together to purchase advertising to market the town to surrounding communities recently.
    Magruder agreed but he also said that instead of focusing on one best asset, that he would like to see the city use every tool and asset to promote Augusta.
    When asked about how to develop a sustainable water supply for the future, Magruder said he agreed with the recent move to pass a sales tax to fund a new waterline to El Dorado Lake and also the Walnut River diversion plan that could help keep the city lake full during non-peak months.
    Rawlings said when it comes to water, some years you have to much and some years you don't have enough.
    "It's been that way for 50 years," Rawlings said. "We have made many improvements to the water supply system and I am happy that we will soon have a new line to El Dorado."
    Page 2 of 2 - City Council Ward 4
    In Ward Four, only candidate Danny Helmer was able to attend Tuesday's forum. Incumbent Ron Reavis was traveling with his job. Reavis plans his work excursions to allow him to attend council meetings, but he was unable to attend Tuesday.
    His wife, Theresa, made an opening statement on his behalf but only Helmer was able to answer questions and give a closing statement.
    Mrs. Reavis read from Reavis' statement. He said he wanted to thank citizens of Ward Four for their support.
    "Four years have passed quickly," the statement said. He said the council had accomplished a lot in that time.
    In his statement, Helmer said he was a fourth generation farmer who knows the value of hard work.
    When asked what qualities were most important in a new city manager, Helmer said he wanted to see a person who could bring the council together to work as a unit. He said he would like to see the council hire someone young with a young family who would stay in the area for a long time and not use Augusta as a stepping stone.
    When asked what city programs were underfunded and whether he would be willing to increase the mill levee to fund them more appropriately, Helmer said he thinks the mill levee is already high and if it went any higher it might become unattractive to people considering Augusta as a new home for themselves or their business.
    "At some point we have to make some cuts to keep from taxing people more," Helmer said.
    To view the entire candidate forum, go to http://vimeo.com/62755056.
     

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