Planning for growth

Published 9:00 pm Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Most any growing company has a business plan. That’s what a majority of candidates for city council and mayor in Calera think the city needs — a comprehensive plan for future growth.

The candidates gathered Tuesday night at Calera High School to discuss their plans for office with the community.

“We should set our own course by having a master plan created by the mayor, the city council and our citizens,” said mayoral candidate Hank Lucas.

Several other candidates seconded Lucas’ statements saying components of the plan should include widening U.S. Highway 31, completing a bypass for industry trucks, improving fire and police protection, working with the Shelby County Board of Education to build an intermediate school and recruiting additional retail.

Mayoral candidate Bobby Joe Phillips said protecting residents’ property and lives would be his first move as mayor.

“The first issue I would tackle would be fire station No. 3 on Highway 25. That building is complete with all the equipment it needs, we just have to staff it,” Phillips said. “The people on the east side of I-65 and the CSX track are cut off from protection if a train is going through.”

Phillips said he also wants to see additional transportation for senior citizens.

Candidate Jon Graham said as mayor he would first streamline municipal departments to eliminate inefficient spending. Then he said he would work diligently to increase the tax base.

“To improve services for our citizens, we must make economic development a priority for our city,” Graham said. “I want to create a climate in Calera to retain and expand current businesses as well.”

Joey Wideman said he would take two major steps to spur growth as mayor.

“I think we first would need to reconstruct the city’s image and then I, as mayor, would make a direct connection as the chief salesman of the city,” he said.

Wideman stressed that he would not however seek to accomplish his own goals but those of citizens.

Council candidates in attendance included: District 1 Chris Bunn and Jerry Davis; District 2 Ernest Montgomery and Eric Snyder; District 3 Brian Latham, whose running unopposed; District 4 Susan Alexander, David Bradshaw, Darrell Fixler and Brad Frasure; District 5 Brent Burgess, Mike Robertson and Allan Watts.

Citizens in Calera go to the polls Aug. 26 at the Calera Community Center on U.S. Highway 31.