ELECTION 2010: Candidates file for city, school and soil conservation

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By Robin Bass

Four more incumbents have filed to run again for their respective seats on the city commission, school board and soil conservation district. The deadline for submitting paperwork in local non-partisan races is August 10 at 4 p.m.

City Commissioners Beverly Bentley-Ingram and Kathy Spears will each be seeking another two-year term in office – joining the race against fellow incumbent John “Jack” Proctor, Fire Chief Nathan Nation and employment counselor Troy Klaber. Winners will be determined by the four highest vote-getters in November.

Bentley-Ingram said that during her inaugural term as commissioner she has gained a greater understanding of how city government operates and the decision-making process that is used. Her hopes are to continue being a part of that process by being “a voice for the citizens of Taylorsville.”

Bentley-Ingram said she was “overwhelmed with pride after being chosen at the last election. I want to continue working to be a part of the great achievements that have occurred during these last two years.”

Among those accomplishments have been acquiring grant funds for the city’s wastewater treatment plant expansion and meeting the federally-mandated certification of the floodwall. As for the future, Bentley-Ingram envisions a bustling downtown atmosphere much like her parents experienced when they were growing up in Taylorsville.

“I think we’ve taken steps with revitalizing downtown. If we can continue, we can show people that we do want to take care of what we have. We can create a sense of pride and hopefully people (and businesses) will move back,” said Bentley-Ingram. Having a grocery store within walking distance of Main Street would be key to that vision.

Bentley-Ingram described herself as sincere and a person that listens before acting. “I never try to make decisions quickly,” she said, “I always try to do what I think is best” for everyone involved.

If re-elected this fall, it would be Kathy Spears seventh term serving as a city commissioner.

“I have lived in Taylorsville my whole life it is my home,” said Spears, “I have always had interest in city government. It was instilled in me by my father.”

Spears said that in her past 12 years in office, she has seen the city attempt to grow with the times and become an even better place to live work and raise a family.

“I want to continue to be a part of making the citizens proud to call Taylorsville home,” said Spears.

As a veteran in public service, Spears said that she understands that operating the city and its finances is much like running a business and that taxpayer money  overseen by the commission must be used wisely. That is why budget items must focus on necessary city services first – such as water.

“Thanks to the various water phases, the majority of people feasible possible are receiving water. There are those in difficult locations which the commission continues to attempt to serve,” said Spears. “After several years and hurdles to cross, the sewer expansion project will soon be a reality. Grant money is being sought and plans are in works to address drainage issues on Houston Ct. and recertify the floodwall which is so vital to city.”

Spears said that as funding allows, she will continue to push for upgraded street lights, repairs to drainage issues and the beautification of all of Taylorsville.

“If re-elected I will continue to make decisions based on what is best for the citizens. It’s all about communication, and I have always attempted to get answers asked of me by citizens and will continue to do so,” said Spears.

Sandy Clevenger’s filing last week marks the first candidate for school board this election season. If re-elected, Clevenger would serve a second four-year term. She represents Little Mount/Mt. Eden District 5.

Clevenger said that positive changes in the school system have been slower than what she expected during her term, but feels like several notable accomplishments have been made.

“We (the board) look a little more carefully and are focused on doing things by the book,” said Clevenger.  “we still have a way to go, but we have improved greatly in that area.”

She has also been pleased that the district has embraced  an idea that she advocated from the beginning – that of hiring a grant writer who is devoted to finding additional resources for various educational programs.

But she feels there is still work to be done.

“I’m not finished yet, four years isn’t enough. I feel like the only way I have a chance of improving things is by being on the board,” said Clevenger. “We have to do something to make significant improvement in education. Our kids should be better prepared for life. We have to work harder at providing the highest quality in leadership, teachers and staff. We’re wasting taxpayer dollars and kids lives if we don’t provide the best.”

To accomplish her goals, Clevenger would like to see a greater focus, more accountability and additional data and documentation that prove money is being well spent.

“If this can not be shown, then the money needs to be shifted to other programs that do,” she said.

Clevenger would also like to enlist input from the community and staff with surveys on how well schools  are preforming.

“We need for people to feel like their input matters,” said the school board member, “some people think their opinion doesn’t matter to administrators.”

Clevenger said she realizes that she is just one of a five member board, but a board that is working more cohesively.

“We understand now how to work together,” she said.

Clevenger invites anyone concerned about the state of education in the county to call her with concerns and join her email list.

“I want people to know that I accept phone calls any time of the day. I might not be able to help them, but I want to be able to try,” said Clevenger. To reach Clevenger by email, use stouche@bellsouth.net.

Also filing this week was incumbent Lowry Brown for Soil Conservation District Supervisor.

Other candidates who have filed for non-partisan races this November include: City Commissioner Lynda Huckleberry, elementary teacher Ruth Ann Sweazy and former mayor Walter Hahn, all of which have filed for mayor.