HUSTONVILLE — Hustonville City Council members were eager to appoint a new mayor Tuesday night — so eager that Councilman Kayne Merriman seconded the motion to appoint David Peyton even before fellow Councilman Brett Witte could finish making the motion.
"The hot seat," Peyton said as he sat down in the mayor's chair after the council unanimously appointed him. "Oh boy."
Peyton won a write-in campaign to be Hustonville's next mayor, but his elected term doesn't begin until January.
Hustonville was left mayor-less Nov. 6 after former Mayor Marc Spivey resigned during the council's regularly scheduled November meeting on election night.
Spivey was running unopposed for his seat, but unexpectedly withdrew from the race in October without giving a public reason.
Spivey's withdrawal triggered a four-way write-in campaign for the mayor's seat, a campaign Peyton won with 66 votes.
Peyton told council members Tuesday night he plans on asking them at the December meeting to repeal two recently passed ordinances that impose fines for jaywalking and parking for more than 30 minutes in the city at night.
Peyton said after the meeting he believes he already has enough support among the council members to repeal the two ordinances, which were passed into law at the regular September council meeting.
Peyton declined to comment on his reasons for wanting the ordinances repealed, but during the campaign, he told The Interior Journal he supported repealing the two ordinances because they were unfriendly to a local business, Hustonville Haunted House.
"It's not right to put ordinances in directed at one business, so I'll be fighting real hard to get those off the books," Peyton said during the run-up to the election.
Peyton said he doesn't plan to repeal a third ordinance prohibiting face-shielding that the city council passed at the same time as the jaywalking and parking ordinances.
Peyton said Tuesday night he believes if someone is spotted wearing a mask then law enforcement should have a "legal reason" to stop them and "see what their business is in town."
"We can't keep predators out of our society," he said.
The face-shielding ordinance imposes a $100 fine on almost anyone who attempts to conceal their face in public, with exemptions for children during trick-or-treat and cold-weather gear.
The council passed first readings of the three ordinances and two others at its August meeting, but declined to release copies of the first readings to the public.
Attorney General Jack Conway's office later ruled the city violated public records law by withholding the documents.
Water upgrades up first
Peyton told city council members the first thing on his plate as mayor is to work with the city's water department to "identify some problem areas in our town."
"We don't need an overhaul — it's time for a tune-up," he said. "Right off the bat, water is our main thing to work on. Without the water department, we don't have a city."
Peyton said he will be working on a "plan of attack" with city officials over the winter months and hopes to be ready to go with a project in the spring.
Peyton, who was initially running as a write-in candidate for city councilman before Spivey's withdrawal, said he is "determined" to be involved in and contribute to the Hustonville community.
"I'm going to do my very best," he said. "I live here; I plan on living here the rest of my life."