With a victory on Nov. 6, Nicholasville’s Doug Blackford would begin a third straight term as a city commissioner.
Blackford said a commissioner should be a good manager for the city, and he says he fits the bill perfectly.
“My whole thing is to be a good steward for the city — to be a servant,” he said. “There are no agendas with me; I’m cut and dry, and I want to do what is best for the city so Nicholasville can prosper for years to come.”
Blackford, 43, said one of the keys to Nicholasville’s revenue issues is simply consolidating within the city.
“We’ve got a project going on right now where we are trying to consolidate some of our jobs in the city to decrease our overhead,” Blackford said.
Blackford said no employee is being forced out of a job, but rather when an employee leaves or retires, the job is not being filled, and the duties are being absorbed by another employee.
“We are trying to shrink down our current workforce to save money,” he said. “This year alone, we are on target for a savings of $200,000 in job consolidation.”
Blackford said the city would have to look at possibly raising taxes, if needed.
“I do believe it’s on the table, but I do believe that it’s important for us to look at other opportunities,” Blackford said. “We felt like with the economy and the PVA situation, we had to (raise property taxes in 2011) so we could stay where we were in our fiscal budget.”
The economic crisis that has plagued the nation has also hampered Nicholasville, Blackford said.
“As a board, we have to continue to look for savings opportunities for our community, whether it be a reduction in our jobs when somebody retires or combining jobs,” he said. “You have to be open-minded in this position and look for any opportunity that you can to keep our city moving forward.”
And in order to keep the city moving forward and making it a player in years to come, Blackford said economic development is something the city leaders need to keep an eye on.
“I believe right now that we have enough space to attract new industry,” Blackford said. “I don’t think at the present space is a restricting issue.”
Turning his attention to public safety, Blackford acknowledged the need for additional fire stations near Brannon Crossing and on the west side of the city and a police substation on the north end of town, but he said any new facilities are several years down the road.
“We have to start looking and planning to do that,” he said. “It should be a plan we should look at over the next four to five years where we can get it off the ground. But we have moved up there (Brannon Crossing), and we’ve got to focus on getting some public-safety resources up there.”
Blackford is wholeheartedly in favor of a commission form of government over a council form.
“I think this current system works, and it lends itself to being a team effort,” he said. “I think it keeps partisan issues or turf wars out. I think going to a council form has the potential for a bigger government, and as an individual, I’m not for bigger government, and I’m not really interested in one person’s vote being more powerful than the rest on the board.”
Blackford is a graduate of Morehead State University and is employed by Sargent and Greenleaf.