Enterprise City Council District 5 representative Turner Townsend doesn’t see this council “easing up” any between now and the municipal elections Aug. 25 and even until the new council is sworn in Nov. 2.
“We’ve still got the business of the city to undertake. We’ve got a budget to continue to work through that we passed last year. We can’t just call a timeout until November,” Townsend said. “So we’ve got to strike that balance between keeping the operations of the city moving forward with recognizing that we’re going to have at least two new council members.
“We could have up to three returning council members and we’ll have at least two new council members. … We could have up to four new council members. Now, I don’t think that’s going to happen, but mathematically, it is possible.”
There could be a new mayor as well.
Townsend is the only council member assured of returning. He is running unopposed in District 5. Scotty Johnson, a new council member, also was unopposed in District 4 at the filing deadline last week.
In District 1, incumbent Sonya Rich is running against Reiders White Jr. and Jerrold Whitehurst.
In District 2, incumbent Eugene Goolsby is being challenged by LaQuilla Stoudmire.
In District 3, Danny Bradley, James Brown, Les Hogan and Gary Padgett are running for the spot vacated by Perry Vickers, who is one of four candidates for mayor.
District 4 incumbent Al Miller decided not to seek reelection after 28 years on the council.
The mayor’s race is between incumbent Bill Cooper, Lister Reeves Jr., Bill Baker and Vickers.
Asked about the long period from the election until Nov. 2, Townsend said the state sets all of those dates. He added that it’s not as long as it seems.
“I think there’s a high likelihood that there’s going to be a runoff election — certainly in the mayor’s race and probably District 3, with four guys running and you’ve got to get 50% plus one,” Townsend said.
The runoff election date is Oct. 6.
“It’s really only about a four-week period where we will have some work sessions with the new governing body and some organizational work sessions,” he said. “At that first meeting we will have to make some appointments such as police chief, fire chief, clerk and treasurer. We’ll have to set the rules of the council over the next four years. We’ll have to elect the council president. We’ll have to do all those things.
“It sounds like a long lag between August and November, but when you think through all that, it really isn’t.”
He added there is still much in front of this current council.
“We’ve still got a budget to pass,” Townsend said. “Our fiscal year starts Oct. 1. We’ve got to have a budget in place.”
He said he appreciated his support in District 5.
“I’ll interpret it as a vote of confidence from the district that they feel I’m doing a good job,” he said. “They’re at least being heard and their concerns are at least being addressed or at least brought to the table when they do have them.”
The council member, who is finishing his first term, was adamant that there will not be a third.
“I said when I got into this that I was going to run for two terms and that would be it,” he said. “I do want to reiterate that and make sure that I fully intend to stand by that.
“I don’t judge anybody for feeling any different, but my strong opinion on it is you kind of have two different arcs that are running inverse to each other, one being experience in the position. Obviously, you start with no experience and your eighth year, theoretically, you would peak out on your experience.
“The other arc that runs in the inverse direction would be that of your energy and your drive and your commitment to being a better city tomorrow than we were yesterday. I do think that wanes over time.
“I think we need a certain balance on the Council of institutional knowledge with fresh, outside ideas. I feel strongly about that. This will be my last term.”
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