By JB Clark/NEMS Daily Journal
SALTILLO – Voters will choose a party primary May 7 to decide which five Board of Aldermen candidates from each party will make it to the June 4 general election.
In the Republican primary, seven alderman candidates will vie for five slots on the general ballot.
In the Democratic Primary, six alderman candidates will vie for the five spots.
Voters will then be able to vote for any five of the aldermen candidates in the general election, all of whom are elected citywide.
Two Democratic candidates said increased home and commercial development will help Saltillo financially and ease the tax burden on residents.
Wayne Dixon, 52, a 25-year resident and owner of Dixon Properties, cited his experience as a business developer and owner as a qualification for the post of alderman.
He said by increasing revenue through attracting businesses, the city can work to better maintain roads with sales tax instead of an increased tax burden on residents.
Danny McCarley, 55, a Tombigbee Electric Power Association crew foreman, said getting home builders back in Saltillo will help with revenue.
He said his main goals will be bringing home developers back into the city and working to continue the water system improvements. McCarley ran unsuccessfully in the last municipal election.
Jewell Webb, 69, said she wants a second term to continue working on the water expansion and regional wastewater projects.
The project closest to her heart is the city’s new resource center in the R.B. Robison building.
Webb has owned Pageant Place in downtown Saltillo for 17 years and said she feels like she was also in public office the 20 years her husband, W.K. Webb, was mayor and alderman in Saltillo.
Terry Glidewell, 52, is seeking a fifth term in office and said, as a lifetime resident, he just wants to make sure his town is being taken care of. He is the owner of Midway Garage.
Billy Flanagin, 76, said he sees the current aldermen trying to take away the voting rights of residents and raising taxes, though the tax rate hasn’t gone up under the current administration.
Johnathan T. Parham is also running as a Democrat, but the phone number listed in his qualifying paperwork was disconnected.
Most Republican candidates want to see the city attract new revenue, primarily through development.
Heath Gobbell, 36, a supervisor and 15-year veteran in the Fulton Police Department and nine-year Saltillo resident, said he could use his experience writing grants for Fulton to help with additional revenue.
Gobbell said his experience working in cities, dealing with citizens daily and writing grants makes him a viable candidate.
Steve Malone, 52, a lifetime Saltillo resident and leader at Cooper Tire, said he became concerned when citizens were given the option of a self-imposed tax increase.
Malone said he would rather try to bring in commercial development to ease residential tax burdens.
He said his military experience taught him how to work with all types of people to accomplish one goal.
Brett Pearce, 42, a resident since 2005 and operations manager at Country Flooring, said he wants to see downtown Saltillo expand and attract new jobs.
He cited Tupelo’s revitalized downtown as an example of what Saltillo’s downtown could be.
Pearce said he loves working with youth through First Baptist Saltillo and would also like to see the success of the Parks and Recreation Department grow.
He said experience with budgeting, hiring and business planning are important assets to have on the board.
Craig Sanders, 41, a lifetime resident and manager at Northpark Apartments, said it’s time to reverse the downturn of the past six to eight years.
He said he will work to bring commercial and residential development to the city while continuing to upgrade the city’s infrastructure.
Sanders also said the city should look into more grant writing opportunities.
Sanders said he is qualified for the office because he deals with city residents every day in his apartment complex.
Incumbents Scott Knight and Brad Woodcock said they want to see the Turner Industrial Park water system acquisition project through.
Knight, 40, an 11-year resident, manager of Kroger and founder of the Northeast Mississippi Down Syndrome Society, said in addition to water and regional wastewater projects, he wants to continue to work to repair the Park Ridge subdivision.
Woodcock, 51, an eight-year resident seeking his second term as alderman, wants to see the Turner Industrial Park project through and continue to improve public service departments.
Woodcock said his experience working to improve people’s lives through health care as a physical therapist assistant carries over into working in the city.
Donald Cullum is running as a Republican but didn’t return phone calls made to the number listed in his qualifying paperwork.