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January 15, 2013

Council members await filing dates

DUNCAN — Two of Duncan’s City Council members will be waiting anxiously come Feb. 4-6 as they countdown to the results of the filing period for the council seats of Wards 3 and 4.

“I always hate this time of year because you never know who will file,” Vice-Mayor and City Council Member Ward 4 Ricky Mayes said.

Mayes is joined by Ward 3 City Council Member Tommy Edwards for this period of reelection. Providing that they both acquire an opponent to run against, the general election for the seats will be held April 2.

Should he run against an opponent, lack of experience will not be a problem for Edwards. Having served two three-year terms and an additional year under appointment by the council, Edwards is familiar with the proceedings of the city council.

In his seven years on the council, Edwards has seen a variety of ordinances and motions pass before him at city council meetings.

Although he still has items he would like to see completed before he calls it quits on the council, there are a number of projects that Edwards said he is proud to have been a part of.

“The northwest water tower was one of our projects,” he said. “That is in my district so I am very proud of that. We also have a social host ordinance for alcohol. That was one of the ordinances I brought up for us to have in Duncan. I went to a meeting where other towns had this social host ordinance.

I thought that would be a very good thing for Duncan to have. When I got back, I put together that and we passed that.”

The social host ordinance holds the host responsible for alcohol consumed by minors regardless of who furnished the alcohol for the minors.

Edwards said he would like to serve at least one more term on the council to see improvement of the streets in Duncan and see recycling services offered in Duncan. As to the start of the recycling program, Edwards expects a contract between Waste Connections and the cities of Duncan, Comanche and Marlow to be signed at 3:30 p.m. today at Duncan City Hall. Yet, it will take approximately another 120 days before trucks will begin making pickup rounds.

“I am very passionate about the recycling,” he said. “We are going green. It is going to help the community.”

The residents who participate in the recycling program will incur an additional fee but it is a fee that could pay for itself through the rewards offered for recycling. Each recycling cart provided will have a microchip on it, which will be scanned by the recycling truck. Recycling rewards will then be deposited into a recycling bank. Rewards will be redeemable at local restaurants and businesses.

“It is just a win-win situation for all three of the communities,” Edwards said.

Edwards is active in the community holding a position within the Duncan Chamber of Commerce and participating in the local Kiwanis chapter. Edwards runs his own insurance agency through Shelter Insurance with his wife Brenda.

Edwards is proud of the city that he calls home but would like to see it continue to progress.

“We want a safe, educated, caring and progressive community,” he said. “That would be my goal. I think most citizens in Duncan like that. We like to have good streets, schools, homes and medical facilities. I think we do have that. The roads may be the exception, which we are working on. The schools and Duncan Regional hospital are great pluses.”

As his wife is a cancer patient, Edwards is especially grateful for the wide range of services offered by Duncan Regional Hospital, which is unique for a town of this size.

“We take advantage of the cancer clinic here,” he said. “We have for the past two years. If we did not have that, we would be driving somewhere else for chemo treatments. I think the strong points for Duncan are the citizens and the attitude of the citizens here, the Simmons Center, the hospital, Halliburton and Family Dollar. We have a lot of pluses in Duncan. We really do.”

Mayes also will be filing for reelection. Out of the four council members serving, Mayes is the veteran of the group with nine years of service. Mayes served for three years before taking a three-year break only to return for the past six years.

As a contractor, Mayes feels that he provides a unique perspective to many of the issues.

“I have been trying to get them to go to PVC waterlines for years and it just happened in the last three or four months. As a contractor, I can see the benefit of it. A lot of times, it is really hard to get stuff done if you do not have anybody else on the council that does it.”

 Mayes owns R&D services with his wife Dinah. Mayes’ business offers installation of custom wood fences and sprinklers.

Although Mayes would like to serve at least one more term on the council, he knows that term will not come without its share of challenges.

“The challenge is trying to make everyone happy, which is almost an impossibility working for the public,” he said. “There is always a pothole in front of someone’s yard. Right now one of our biggest struggles is money. The last few years the tax revenues have been down. We are struggling like everyone else trying to do as much as we can with as few employees as we have. Sometimes it makes it real challenging to get things done and come up with the money to do it.”

Besides his experiences as a contractor, Mayes said his personable business dealings with those in his district makes his interactions better for the public.

“It does not matter who it is that calls. I always return calls. I have had people that have called me every day about one particular thing. I always try to help them out. Usually, if it is not my district, I will try to refer them to whoever’s district it is. If they cannot get a hold of them, I will help them out. And Tommy is the same way. When I was in Branson, I had one person calling griping about the trash service. I called Tommy and said ‘Tommy, can you get a hold of them.’ Tommy did. We got it worked out. I called Jim and he called them too. It does not matter. I always try to get back with everybody. And when I got back, the first thing I did was call back and make sure it got worked out and they got taken care of. I always return my calls and do everything I can to work out for them.”

As he waits to see if he has an opponent, Mayes is prepared to use yard signs, advertisements in The Banner and even go door-to-door to meet with people within his district.

Mayes, like Edwards, would like to stay on the council and see completion of the proposed street projects.

“I would like to see some of the street improvements that we are trying to get done and just keep moving forward with what we are doing right now,” he said. “More than anything I would really like to see some street improvements get done.”

Additionally, he sees the methods and the interactions of the current city council and those associated as a unit that is effective. He said the good interactions between council members creates an environment that makes it easier to get things accomplished.

“Right now, we have a good council,” he said. “We have a really, good council that works really well together.  In the past years, it kind of goes up and down. Sometimes, councils work well together and sometimes they do not. The council we have right now seems to be working really well together. We all get along and we are starting to get a bunch of things accomplished. The city manager we have right now is doing an excellent job and we have some really good employees right now.”

This effectiveness and concern for Duncan that the council is a belief that was also echoed by Edwards.

“We are a diverse group,” Edwards said. “We do not always agree but we all work toward the good of Duncan. Everyone that is on the council has a heart for Duncan. That is a good thing. Because we do not always agree, that is a good thing to. We are able to talk. We can sit down and talk about any of our business.”

Provided that an opponent files against each candidate, Duncan residents will have the opportunity to vote Mayes or Edwards back into their respective seats on the council April 2.

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