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Decision Mountain City 2020

Mayoral candidates discuss their vision for town


Gina Meade Q&A

What do you believe the role of mayor entails?
The role of mayor entails bringing businesses and everything into the city. Making sure that the city is run right. Looking over the city to see that we get downtown revitalized, hopefully. That we take care of our citizens. If we go out and look at something and they need some stuff done, that it’s taken care of in a timely manner. In the day-to-day work, you have to know the legislative body of how to enact laws.

If elected, what are your plans to improve the Mountain City area? My plan for revitalizing downtown is creating opportunities for our citizens and our businesses. I feel like there has to be directed vision, which can be very challenging but can also be critical to success. Reaching out personally to our State/Federal representatives for funding and to stay in touch with our citizens of Mountain City to keep them up to date with the progress and have them also reach out to our representatives. There’s a lot of grants, low interest loans to help out these merchants and property owners to invest in restoring projects, such as new awnings. A lot of small changes can add up to a whole new look for downtown.

Bring festivals into town. I definitely want to showcase downtown. I feel like if people see you’re trying, they’re going to put their money there. They are going to invest in their town.

What makes you stand out from other candidates?
I feel like that being on the county commission I have learned a lot. I was on the budget committee for 8 years. I’ve been on the county commission 9, going on 10 years. I feel like that’s helped me as far as budgeting items, how the county runs, which would be very similar to how the city operates. I’ve been in the banking business and worked with the people. I’m in touch with our local representative, state representatives, and federal representatives.

Do you have experience in this type of position?
I’m President of the Chamber of Commerce, Vice President of Johnson County Bank, I have served on several committees in the county (ex. hospital board and county commission)

What are your short and long-term goals for this position?
I want to improve the productivity and the function of the City Council and enhance communications internally and externally.We need to have activities for these kids. I want to start work projects where kids can get some training. Get involved and be able to step into a job right out of school if they’re not planning on going to college.

On unfinished projects
There’s a grant out there. I want to go ahead and file the intent right now whether I get elected or not. It’s a good grant because it’s not a matching fund. We don’t have to come up with a certain amount to help out with that. My plan is to apply for that grant, get those tennis courts up and going, and get that pool up and going.If we don’t get something for these kids, many of them get on drugs.

What is your stance on transparency and how do you plan to maintain it?
I’m an open book person. I’m not going to be hiding anything. We need to be able to communicate and work together on things. It’s a group effort and everybody (citizens and the government). We all need to increase employee trust and work effectively. We need to be visible to what’s going on around us. A PIO (Public Information Officer) is very important. We have to keep everybody informed. We can’t leave everyone in the dark about things. Facts need to be right, and we need to get them out there. 

What do you consider the area’s biggest need and how would you address it?
We need places to go shop, buy a pair of shoes, and buy a pair of pants. We need some sit-down restaurants. That’s some of the big ones.

What is your stance on the abandoned buildings in prominent public areas?
I feel like that if we could get the money to help the merchants that own those, I think that it would help revitalize some of those. Also if people see that there’s an interest and people start to do work on their building other individuals will come forward and spend their money to either purchase some of those buildings or see that the money is available to fix them up.We definitely need an ordinance on that. I’ll be willing to get one and make sure it’s enforced.

What should Mountain City promote or capitalize on to increase tourism?
We can definitely promote it through our tourism, chamber, Facebook. We can even promote through The Tomahawk. That goes back to if we have the festivals. Highlighting positive changes that may be occurring will bring people to downtown Mountain City. There’s a lot of potential.


Jerry Jordan Q&A

What do you believe the role of mayor entails?
The City Mayor should be able to attend any meeting that’s necessary that represents the town, whether that be in the city limits, a county function that the city needs to be involved in, or if it’s out of town. They need to be in a close working relationship with the First Tennessee Utilities District. We’ve got several grants through them in the past. That individual needs to be able to meet. It’s very important that we have contacts in place to help the city. If someone asks you something, you’ve got to get back to them. They’ve got to be very responsible and work with the board.

If elected, what are your plans to improve the Mountain City area?
I’m not going to go out and make promises. It may hurt me, but I am not going to make promises that I’m going to do a list of stuff and then it didn’t come to truth and that’s going to tarnish my reputation. The only promise that I will make is that I will devote whatever time is needed. I’ll be a spokesman for the Town of Mountain City. I’ll work however many hours it takes. If I have to get up in the middle of the night to handle a situation, I don’t mind that.

What makes you stand out from other candidates?
I’ve got a proven leadership record. Being in management for 44 years. Handling big dollar budgets. 911 is a separate government entity. I’m level headed, make decisions based on facts, and I’m not going to make promises. I’m on the Planning Commission.

Do you have experience in this type of position?
I’ve been working for 39 ½ years in textiles. It’ll be 8 years at 911. 44 of those years I’ve been in management. I work whatever it takes. I wouldn’t ask anyone to do anything that I wouldn’t do myself. I do payroll. I do budgets. All types of Excel documents. I’ve been on the City Council almost 10 years and vice mayor twice.

What are your short and long-term goals for this position?
There could be two brand new aldermen that are elected. I want to be able to work with them, be transparent to them, and get their ideas. I’m open to ideas from the people. My long term goal is to see the empty buildings with something in them. Also I think that the town is going to have to step up the enforcement on overgrown lots. I hear more complaints about overgrown lots.We have ordinances that cover that. Some people respond and others don’t’. We need to come up with some way to get these lots cleaned up whether they levy their taxes or put something.

On unfinished projects
We need to put out a survey to see if enough people are interested for it to be worth the cost.

What is your stance on transparency and how do you plan to maintain it?
I put my home phone number and email on my campaign cards because I’m open for people to call if they have complaints or concerns. We can work on a PIO (Public Information Officer). That’s something new that I’ve really got to investigate and see if we’ve got somebody on our City Council or a city employee that wants to step up and be the PIO or ask the board if they want to appoint somebody out of the board to be the PIO to try and be more transparent.

What do you consider the area’s biggest need and how would you address it?
Money. We’ve borrowed money for projects. In 2015 we borrowed $400,000, a lot of that went into paving streets and buying air packs for the fire departments. We still owe $242,000. In 2016 we borrowed $500,000 to pave 2 ½ miles of street. We still owe $329,000. We’ve got to pay some of our debt down.

What is your stance on the abandoned buildings in prominent public areas?
I would like to work with all those owners, talk to them individually, and see what their plans are for that property. It’s not the Town of Mountain City’s property. Then I’ll try and provide what I can to help them. I would love to see all the vacant buildings filled up. I’d like to encourage them. We had a grant for several thousand dollars that would pay a lot of money to individuals to paint their businesses. We had to turn it back in because nobody would take advantage of it. There will probably be more grants in the future, but they’ve got to be willing to do that.

What should Mountain City promote or capitalize on to increase tourism?
We need to work on Heritage Square. It’s got the senior center and the arts council and stuff. That Long Journey Home, I’m so proud of what those people did. It makes me proud of Johnson County and Mountain City that they filmed that. It’s top notch and it went all over. And that Mural Mile Walk, when people come to town, they want to see that. We need to encourage things like that. I will say that I have given out more addresses in 9 months of this year than I have of any previous year. We have got more people moving into Johnson County. Our tax base countywide should be improving steadily.