The Tyler Star News mailed questions to all political candidates in Paden City's Municipal Election to be held Thursday, June 5. Their responses are being printed in alphabetical order.
William B. Fox, incumbent John D. Hopkins, and Cindy L. Slider are running for mayor of Paden City.
Polls will open at 6:30 a.m. Thursday and close at 7:30 p.m. Polling places are as follows: First Ward, former middle school cafeteria; Second Ward, city building in the council chambers; and Third Ward, Paden City Volunteer Fire Company hall.
While we will, of course, print the election results in next week's newspaper, you will also be able to find the results on our website, www.tylerstarnews.com, and via our Facebook the night of the election.
Fox has been a resident of Paden City for 58 years. He is a graduate of Sistersville High School, 1949. Fox served in the USAF, 1950-1953, with 18th fighter bomb wing in China and Korea, 1952-53. He is also a graduate of West Virginia Northern Community College, 1978, with an associate's degree in pre-business.
Fox is married to his high school sweetheart, Susan M. Gatrell, 1951. They are the parents of four children: David B. and Lisa, Michael E., Barbara R., and William L. They have five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Fox worked in the chemical and aluminum industries for 47 years in several different fields. He served as a Union representative, 16 years, and management supervisory positions, 22 years. Fox has been a small business owner for 25 years, president of Fox's Enterprises.
A member of Paden City Agape Christian Church, Fox is an Elder of the church. He is also a member of American Legion Post #86, lifetime member of Sistersville Lodge #333, Masonic Lodge #39, Grand Chapter of WVRAM #27; and Templar Commandery #14. Fox is also secretary of the Paden City Development Authority and president of the Wetzel/Tyler County Child Advocacy Center Board.
Hopkins is son of John and Edna Hopkins, brother of Estelle Hopkins. He is a 1955 graduate and Distinguished Alumni of Paden City High School. He and wife Barbara have raised two children in Paden City: Eric Hopkins of Morgantown and Juanita VanRyzin of Madison, N.J.; they are grandparents to Jordan Pfohl, also of Madison. Hopkins worked 30 years at Bayer Corp. as a Lab Technician and operated Hopkins Photography & Woodworking until 2003.
Having served two previous terms as Paden City mayor (from 2004 to 2008), he is particularly proud of what he, council, and the citizens of Paden City have accomplished during his current term (from 2012 to 2014). In addition to his services as mayor, he is active in many local organizations beneficial to this community.
During his time as mayor, Hopkins has welcomed people to become more involved in city business. He encourages citizens to speak up if they have problems that need to be addressed, but furthermore, he wants them to take part in making the already great Paden City an even better place to live.
Slider did not respond to our questionnaire.
What do you see as the biggest challenge facing Paden City and, if elected, what would you do to address it?
Fox: Having a city government that has one goal -- to work for the benefit of the town and its citizens. Our town is slowly becoming a retirement community with seniors on fixed incomes. We need to learn how to operate within our budget, find ways to cut unnecessary spending, do better planning and scheduling of our employees' time, and encourage employees to participate in ways to save the city money.
Our local economy has changed drastically in the last few years. (With) plant and coal mine closings, downsizing of the workforces, rising costs of living, etc. Local/federal government cannot keep putting the burden of rate increases on the back of the elderly and young families and the unemployed. We need better accountability, more efficient city government, and concerned citizens who want to get involved in trying to help solve our problems.
Running the city successfully requires hard work, serious commitment, time, and knowledge on the part of the mayor and council. The job of mayor requires that you be available and in your office everyday. If elected, I will be a full-time mayor again. I have the experience, knowledge, and a proven record.
Hopkins: The biggest challenge facing Paden City is something that myself, council, law enforcement, board members, and citizens have already handled well and will continue to improve upon in the future. That challenge is the fight against crime, particularly drug-related crime, and I look forward to continuing this successful effort. While drugs and crime are a growing concern that every community is facing at this point, Paden City is taking an inspiring stand against both.
The town has shown its merit, and I believe it will continue to do so, whether through law enforcement arresting perpetrators or citizens speaking out on problems (although I encourage citizen involvement, it should be done safely and responsibly without endangering them). These combined efforts make a difference, and that difference is showing.
It's not easy and it never will be, but we have a responsibility (whether as city officials or as active citizens) to make sure we face such challenges together. We want to keep this town a great place to live while improving it. Such improvements should always be a priority with which we challenge ourselves. Paden City is already a great town, and its potential is ever expanding with each challenge we overcome.
Elaborate three main reasons you should fill/keep this position?
Fox: 1. I have previous experience at running the city's daily operations. We had many challenging situations during my tenure and we were able to work through them all successfully. There were key personnel changes, i.e., resignations of cop-sewer plant operator-recorder and their replacements were all inexperienced personnel. But we continued the daily city operations without any interpretations of our services.
2. We accomplished many good things during my four years, but I'm limited to 200 words per question. I will list a few of those accomplishments, i.e.: established mayor's office-daily office hours; got grants for new heating/ac for city building and h&r building-new camera security system for city building; new boat docks ($160,000); new playground equipment; two new waterslides; rebuilt bridge clarifier ($50,000); new hydro jetter ($31,500); new rigid diagnostic inspection/locator ($17,031); hired outside vendor to oversee daily operations of sewer plant at a savings of ($6,000) per year.
3. I have the qualifications, skills, and experience needed to be your mayor. My previous record also proves and substantiates what I'm saying.
Hopkins: First: I enjoy working with the community. Recently, I have been cooperating with Paden City's Park and Pool Board, which is a tremendous asset to our town and surrounding areas. Because our top priority is the safety of citizens and pool employees, we are updating the outdated electrical system at the pool. Also, rather than contracting the work and costing the city money, other needed repairs are being completed by our skilled maintenance workers.
Second: We have just entered a big phase of a necessary project to update the sewer system. This is something I have been very involved with, and I am eager to see it to fruition. Such updates are needed to keep us in compliance with certain regulations. As well, these changes serve as a smooth transition from past methods to present operations. (Although we're making transitions, we have no intentions of incorporating water meters.)
Third: A recent task I have undertaken is discussion with the Wetzel County Solid Waste Authority. I am hoping they will agree to dispose of our citizens' larger trash items, such as furniture. This will keep the town clean and recognize the efforts of those citizens who wish to do the same.
What would you do with a $10,000 gift to the city if it was completely up to you, and why would you use it in this manner?
Fox: I would take the $10,000 gift and establish a fund for a war memorial for our veterans. A memorial committee would be formed to suggest ideas for the project i.e.; a monument, park, plaques, etc., to include WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Desert Storm, etc. A memorial can be a park, building, monument, statue, or other edifice to commemorate those who served, died, or were injured in a war. The memorial means a world of memories, a world of deeds, a world of tears, and a world of glories. By the subtle chemistry that no man knows, all the blood that was devoted, all the grief that was felt, at last crystallized itself into granite, rendering immortal the great truth for which they died and it would stand there for eternity. The recommendations of the committee would then be brought back before the citizens for their vote.
Hopkins: If council approved this measure (considering there were no other stipulations with that gift), I would like that $10,000 to go toward the park and pool. Their work helps this community shine, especially in the summer. Whether they are improving facilities or hosting fundraising concerts, they strive to help the community and Paden City at large by providing quality entertainment.
The way I see it, such events bring in funding and create a buzz of positive publicity for Paden City. In that regard, investing in the park and pool is always beneficial. I did not hypothetically pick the park and pool simply because of my fondness for the activities its board offers. I chose it because the city's finances are currently positive, with its systems running profitably. The Park and Pool Board does well with its funding, and I would like to see what good they can do with further possibilities.
But even without such a generous gift, additional funding for the Park and Pool is a likely option. We have already received helpful grant funds, and we are looking into a few federal grants that may be applicable to Park and Pool purposes. Go Paden City Park and Pool!