Election Preview: The battle for BrownsdalePublished 8:01pm Friday, November 2, 2012
Three run for mayor
A man who has lived in Brownsdale all of his life says he has what it takes to be mayor. And his goals are simple.
“If you’d like to see taxes lowered and less government, I’m your candidate,” said mayoral candidate Jeff Foster.
Foster has done construction with his father for many years and notices the issues in Brownsdale, he said.
“Taxes keep going up,” Foster said. “I’d like to keep taxes down.”
Foster also realizes the importance of city street and sewer improvements in Brownsdale and would like to keep making those at times when the city can afford it. And for the businesses and residents, he’d like to see limited government oversight.
“We’re a small town,” Foster said. “I’m not for big-city government. And I don’t think we need all the rules and regulations that bigger cities have for small-town living.”
Foster added he was previously on the city council and has experience, narrowly lost the mayoral race last year and that his father was also mayor of Brownsdale for many years.
Longtime Brownsdale visitor and now nine-year resident of the town Carol Larick is putting in her bid for mayor.
Like others, she is concerned about the infrastructure.
“We have issues in the city that need to be addressed now,” Larick said in an email. “Many of our sidewalks are badly deteriorated; the lack of maintenance of real estate by absentee owners; animal control in certain parts of town; lack of promoting new businesses — just to mention a few.”
Larick is a retired business owner who ran Past and Present in Brownsdale with her husband and previously raised shorthorn cattle in Wisconsin.
Because she is retired, Larick said she is a good candidate for mayor as the current mayor wears many hats. She wants to see a more proactive council with fewer tabled decisions. Larick prides herself on responsibility.
“Good management and accountability is what every public official owes to the people that elect them,” she said.
Incumbent David Pike is running for his second term as mayor of Brownsdale.
The 41-year Brownsdale resident, fire chief and deputy said he has the experience to lead.
“I’ve got considerable experience working in city offices,” he said, adding that he has 20 years’ experience working for the public.
Pike said infrastructure maintenance is a priority for the city, especially looking into a wellhead protection program and monitoring for possible sources of contamination in the water supply.
“We’re looking at continuing a lot of our infrastructure maintenance,” he added.
Among those issues, Pike wants to see the business scene keep improving as it has and see improved safety in the work environment for workers in certain sectors.
“Providing a safe working environment to the employees,” Pike said, “That’s the other priority.”
Five vie for council
Kevin Purrier, who has lived in Brownsdale for about 10 years and works for Alli Rolloff Company, has been on the city council for two years and is the only incumbent re-running.
Like others, he would like to see continued infrastructure improvements, such as sidewalk repairs.
A serious problem he mentioned is a leaky sewer system. While he hopes for continued repairs, he would like to tackle any major problems right away.
“When we can pinpoint a major problem, I would like to see that get fixed right away,” he said.
Like others, Purrier would like to see more businesses come to town. He also hopes improvements at the park will happen this time around.
Purrier wants the citizens of Brownsdale to be educated about what’s happening. He encourages them to come to council meetings, read past minutes and spread word about the issues.
Al Yates has been a Brownsdale resident for nearly 10 years, along with his wife, who has lived in the area for more than 30 years.
Yates is running for council because he wants to see Brownsdale rejuvenated, economically and visually.
“It seems like some of the area is slipping where some of the rental properties are becoming beach slum properties almost,” Yates said.
The Yates’ opened Antiques to Rummage about three years ago and are focused on the revitalization of Brownsdale’s business scene, which has already been happening during the past year and a half.
Yates said he would oppose raising taxes, but support redistributing money in other areas, such as the park. He wants to work more with the downtown business people to reestablish and strengthen the retail scene, too.
“I just think I have an interest and desire to see the town grow,” Yates said. “That was my main reason for signing up. It’s just time for change down there.”
Eugene Crabtree has been a Brownsdale resident for roughly 34 years and lived in the area even longer.
“One of my main concerns is to have a gameplan for issues five and 10 years down the road for what we should be doing each year as far as infrastructure,” Crabtree said.
Crabtree, who runs Crabtree Lawn and Snow, would also like to see a better plan for general upkeep around town.
He wants to address issues well in advance, such as those with city infrastructure like streets and sewers, instead of waiting until they become immediate issues, he said, and added that may help keep the budget in line, instead of doing a “fix it as it happens” approach.
“Back when I was younger, I didn’t think about politics that much,” Crabtree said. “Now that I’m at this age, I see things going on. It’s just that I feel obligated.”
While Crabtree has not served on the council before, he hopes to bring a “breath of fresh air” to decision making in Brownsdale.
—Aronn Oakland and Liberty Barnes did not return calls for comment.