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Ten battle for six Democratic council slots

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Election 2010

By The Staff

    SHEPHERDSVILLE - A total of 14 candidates filed for the six seats on the Shepherdsville City Council.

    However, the four Republican hopeful will have the chance to sit back and watch 10 Democrats battle for the six party nominations in May.

    In November, the six surviving Democrats and the four Republicans will do battle.

    In the Democratic field, incumbents Don Cundiff, Bonnie Enlow and Larry Hatfield will face challenges from former councilmembers Faith Portman and James Watkins, as well as newcomers Russell Peacock, Jerry Pile, David Bassett II, Marissa Bell and Steven Armstrong.

    The Republicans in waiting includes incumbent Alan Wetzel and challengers Jose Cubero, Bernard Brown and John D. Colburn.

    Don Cundiff has served 15 years on the city council and said his experience is important in this election.

    He said the tough economy would require city officials to wisely spend every dollar. At the same time, Cundiff said it was important to maintain the proper infrastructure, including roads.

    To stretch the dollars, Cundiff proposed the city, county and state work together on projects, such as roads. With the growth of the community, Cundiff said it was important to maintain the roads properly.

    While he may disagree with the views of fellow councilmembers, Cundiff said that is no reason why they cannot get along.

    Before making any decision, Cundiff said he would listen to both sides and then make what he thinks is the best decision for the majority of the residents, no matter his personal convictions.

    Incumbent Bonnie Enlow is in her second term on the council.

    Until the insurance sales agent got onto the council, Enlow never knew what was involved in running the city.

    “I do not make decisions unless I research the subject first and then I weigh the pros and cons so that I am able to make a well-informed decision,” said Enlow. “There have been many tough decisions to make over the past few years.”

    In Shepherdsville, drainage is always going to be a major issue. Addressing each situation on a case-by-base basis, Enlow said builders should be held more accountable for their projects.

    Another major issue is how the city spends the tax dollars. Enlow said she is always looking for ways to save money.

    And road conditions are a concern.

    To be a good leader, Enlow said a person must observe the situation and talk with the people. Paying attention to the people is the most important trait and she felt she had been able to do that while in office.

    Larry Hatfield has served over 10 years on the council and another four years as mayor. He understands how difficult the job of running a city can be.

    The county solid waste coordinator said people know that he will not ride the fence and he will let his opinions be known, loud and clear.

    “The people deserve an answer,” said Hatfield.

    Over the next couple of years, Hatfield said the sewer expansion project must be a major focal point. The city is running a line down toward Highway 245 to pick up the Jim Beam distillery. The city will have to make sure the revenue is flowing in to cover the cost.

    Another major issue he is involved with is satisfying the EPA on the city’s sewer interceptor line running along the river. The goal is to take off many of the pump stations in the city.

    Hatfield would also like to finally get the fire district lawsuit against the city completed.

    He said he is a qualified leader because he is a person who will look 2-3 years down the road. He is someone who will listen to the people and then bring their ideas to the mayor or the council.

    The council will have to work with the mayor to continue to keep track of the financial situation, said Hatfield.

    Russell Peacock has spent all his life in Shepherdsville and he wants to see some changes.

    One of the issues he would like to address is for more activities for the older residents. At the same time, he said there is also a need for activities for the youth in the community.

    He also wants to make sure the tax dollars are spent wisely.

    And Peacock said he would like to work to make sure future streets are designed better.

    As a councilmember, Peacock said he would listen to the people, which hasn’t always been done in the past.

    “I will be your voice to help you in any way possible,” said Peacock.

    Jerry R. Pile is a regular attendee at city council meetings. For the past few years, he has served as the city’s alcohol beverage control officer.

    Pile said he should get the support of the voters in the upcoming election because of his commitment to the citizens of the community.

    “I will strive to help the city of Shepherdsville to continue to move in a forward, progressive direction,” said Pile. “I will work to bring new business into    this city that will produce an effective tax base thereby helping in relieving the tax burden on the community.”

    The economic development issue will be a key one. Pile said the city has a unique opportunity to bring in jobs due to its location.

    Working with the police, works department and other departments, Pile said more activities must be done for the youth.

    He would also work with the mayor to make sure new revenue comes into the community.

    Pile said he could be a leader on the council as he would talk to the people and do his research before making decisions on certain issues.

    Faith Portman has served two terms previously on the council. Her goal over the next two years would be to continue to be the voice for the people.

    She would also like to work hard to help bring in more jobs into the city.

    The three most important issues, according to Portman, will be public safety, government accountability and recreation.

    She said there must be enough police officers on the streets at all times. By working with the mayor, Portman said she hopes to continue strides made in solving drainage and traffic issues.

    She also wants to ensure all the emergency agencies have all the training needed to make their jobs safe.

    With a tight economy, Portman said it is very important to track where every dollar is spent and to make sure those are wise decisions.

    And she hopes to continue the work done on the city park, including any grants which might be possible.

    “I will listen to the people, consider all sides and observe what’s best to keep our city moving forward,” said Portman, an instructional assistant at Shepherdsville Elementary.

    James Watkins served four years on the council and has been the city’s representative on the Shepherdsville-Bullitt County Tourist and Convention Commission the past five years.

    He said that experience makes him a good candidate to return to the council.

    During the next two years, Watkins said the major issues would be to address the traffic along Highway 44, on Beech Grove Road and to continue the progress being made at the First Street Park.

    One solution to the in-town issues with Highway 44 could be to have a traffic signal installed on Maple Street, where surrounding subdivisions would have a chance to get out.

    If the state would put some turning lanes in on Beech Grove Road, that could help until a bypass is built.

    The manager of Best Made Pallets in Shepherdsville said that he has been a supervisor for the past 20 years and that involves working with people. That provides him with leadership skills.

    Also, he has knowledge of road construction which would be valuable to the city.

    (Requests for interviews through announcements in the newspaper were not received from the other Democratic candidates.)