Six williams residents are seeking seats on the Williams City Council in the March 13 City Primary Election. Williams Mayor John Moore faces former Mayor Ken Edes for the mayor's office. Two incumbents - Frank McNelly and James Wurgler - are running to retain their council seats against challengers Craig Fritsinger and Bobby Patricca. A total of three council seats are up for re-election. Councilman Bill Miller has opted not to run for re-election. The final three candidates appear in this week's edition of the News.
How long have you been on the council?
I was on the council for four years and then I've been mayor for four years, two terms. This would be my third term for mayor.
What made you decide to run for mayor again?
I'm going to run for mayor for at least this term to try to continue some of the projects were working on. I want to be a part of the continuation of growth of Bearizona. This past year over the fall we've sold a lot of recycled water to the wind farm, the council has voted to use that money for street repairs and residential areas. I want to see that project through. I agree with my opponent, I want to see Williams continue to move forward, I think we've moved forward and I'd like to spend another couple of years continuing the movement.
What are some of your accomplishments?
The economic situation has brought a real downturn for the town of Williams as well as the whole country. I think it's been an accomplishment to just keep our head above water and to keep our services and everything that we've been able to keep in place. We've operated on a very tight budget. At the same time we've seen some things happen, we've seen some growth in some of the businesses. We've kept our services at a level, so I think that itself serves as an accomplishment. It's easy to be a mayor and leader when you have all kinds of money flowing in and you can do a lot of things. You can build things and do things when you've got money flowing in, but when the money dries up it's much more difficult. You have to do the day-to-day routine and just keep available what we've got.
What are you goals for next term if elected?
My goals would be to build on what we've already started. I mentioned streets, I think streets need some work, but I think that our streets are better than they've been for years, but I also think we could do some major improvements on that. I would like to see the sidewalk program continued if we could partner up with some of the residents. Goals are to keep moving forward, we are working with the airport right now to make more activity out there. We just signed a contract with Emery-Riddle in Prescott, the Golden Eagles are going to use that place for a training facility. I would like to continue some of the things we've got going. I don't anticipate a whole lot of growth in the next couple years, I sure would like to see some stuff happen, I'd like to see an industrial plant come in of some type. In fact I just had a meeting with a fellow from California who's interested in developing a small machine shop that could hire a people. I like to see stuff like that if we can make it happen and get some industry in here so we don't have to rely 100 percent on tourism.
How would you rate the current council?
I think the current city council has done an excellent job, you know, a lot of times all the good credit and bad credit both go to the mayor, but the city council is actually the one that makes the final decision, the mayor is the leader on the council. We've got a city council that's been training, we've got every type of individual involved and I've been really pleased to work with them.
What would you different?
I don't think we need to do anything much differently. We do have a new city manager that just came aboard few months ago. He's taking charge and doing well. We've operated without a city manager for a couple years and it's difficult. You know, if you haven't done it before and you haven't sat in the shoes of a mayor or councilperson you don't really know what you would do differently. You'd like to think that you do a lot of things differently, but when you get there it's a different ball game so you have to learn and adjust. It's different now than it was four years ago when I first took office. When I first took office, we made some changes and tried to do things differently, but what it boils down to is that you have to operate the city like it's a business. We've done real well, we've got a finance director who grew up here, lives here and takes care of business. He's tight with the dollar, which is a good thing, so there's not a lot that I would do different.
What would help boost the local economy the most?
I think we've helped the local economy. You know, Williams has done very well compared to other towns, especially towns along the I-40 highway. The sales tax has been up five percent in the past few months. I think we boost the economy by being the kind of town that we are, being a friendly town, welcoming our tourists, keeping our town cleaned up. I think that our economy will get a boost from some of the new development that's going on. By that I mean the new restaurant that's being built downtown, it's definitely going to give another venue for service to the tourists that come here. I think we boost the economy by just being who and what we are. I would like to see people shopping locally when they can and I encourage that, but for right now I think we're doing really well, all things considered.
What is the biggest challenge facing Williams?
The economy, hoping the economy improves, not only in Williams but countrywide. That's probably the biggest challenge at some point, you know people say 'oh we need to build better apartments, we need to do this, we need to do that, we need to do all of these things and you just can't do it if you don't have the money. If the economy's not up to par and money's not being spent here, we don't have income, we can't do those things. So probably the biggest thing facing us is hoping that someday, before too long, the economy turns around and we'll get the money rolling in and we can do some of those things for the local citizens and the people that live here that I would like to get done.
Where would you like to see Williams at the end of your term if elected?
A while back everyone thought that Williams was going to go to a town between six and 10 thousand people. We're just not that kind of town. I think we will be similar to where we are at now. I think we will have a better economy and start growing a little bit. I think we will start to see things like Bearizona grow, I think Bearizona will be a great project. Out of all the projects that I've worked on we'll see some growth in that. I think that's the kind of growth that we need to see. We live off of sales tax, that's our biggest income and I know, well I know my opponent and other people talk about that 'oh we'll get grants for this and grants for that' well, four, six, 10 years ago you could get grants, now it's very difficult to get grants, it's dried up at the federal level and certainly at the state level. But I see us about where we are at, maybe an increase in state revenues and some growth.
Posted: Thursday, February 16, 2012
Article comment by:
The Mayor is a joke, he doesn't care about anything but his own money making ventures. It's time to get him out, he makes alot of promises he can't keep and only tells people what they want to hear. I'm voting for Ken Edes and would vote for anyone that runs against Moore.
Posted: Wednesday, February 15, 2012
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The Mayor wants to bring another machine shop in town, don't we have one by True Value? Heck, they do a good a job as any and their local. We don't need any outta towner when we have what we need right here.