One of four incumbents, Andy Williams is seeking his fourth consecutive term on the city commission.
Williams has served as a city commissioner since 2007; he previously served out the term of the late Joe Daugherty in 2004.
Williams, 55, said his “get it done” attitude has served him well on the commission, and he vows to continue to be a commissioner of action.
“The people of this town elected me to work for them, and every day, I will get a call from somebody with a problem, (and) I immediately jump out and take care of it,” Williams said. “If we are not able to legally fix it, I do get back to the resident and let them know.”
Williams said he spearheaded an effort to spruce up Hayden Park, off Jefferson Street.
“That’s something that has been needed for many years,” Williams said.
Williams touted the city’s purchase of 2 acres of land for the Maple Grove Cemetery as a positive way for it to increase revenue, adding that over a period of 15 years, it will add around $1 million to city coffers.
Aside from the cemetery, Williams said recruiting new industry is a must.
“We need jobs; we’ve brought in the restaurants, and we’ve brought in some good ones, and they’re holding their own,” Williams said. “Now they tell us that Culver’s is coming in, and that’s jobs. It’s not the jobs that other towns are getting, and it’s not the $17-, $18- or $19-an-hour jobs, but we are trying to get those here.”
With that in mind, Williams said projects like the I-75 connector must be completed.
“Until we get that connector to I-75, we won’t get anything in here,” he said. “People do not have access to I-75 to get to the factories. Most of these factories do what is called J.I.T. — just in time. They want the product there just in time to put it on the next product to move it to the next place.”
New or increased taxes are something Williams wants to shy away from, including property tax increases.
In 2011, the commission voted unanimously to raise property taxes, but Williams said upon further review, it wasn’t the right choice.
“We (raised property taxes), and we had some people who were upset about it,” he said. “If you look at the overall picture, we would have been better off if we had left it alone. In my opinion, it didn’t generate enough money to really help us — it did help pay some bills, but it wasn’t an overwhelming amount of money.”
Public-safety infrastructure issues are a great concern of Williams, especially on the north end, near Brannon Crossing.
“We’re really going to have to look hard at getting police, fire and EMS protection up there,” Williams said. “Even though we’ve got a fire station on Elizabeth Street, near Toyota, it still takes a good five or six minutes for somebody to get there, and houses can burn down pretty quick.”
Given the current economic climate, Williams toed the line each candidate has taken regarding the city-hall project.
“We need to concentrate and make sure the revenue is going to be right before we start the project,” he said.
Williams also favors the commission form of government because he said it has the best form of representation.
“Right now, you can call any commissioner or mayor, and we can respond to you,” he said. “If we are a council form, residents won’t be able to do that; they would only have one person to call.”