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Campaigns begin in Watertown - All 3 incumbents seek re-election
Aug 28, 2006 12:00 am
A current school board member and community activist are two new candidates who have picked up petitions to run for Watertown City Council.
In addition, the three incumbents up – Paulette Dorris, Cecil Carter and Brandon Howard – are all seeking re-election to their seats.
Watertown is unique in Wilson County in that all its councilors are at-large, meaning the top three vote-getters in this election will sit on the Watertown Council.
Zone 2 School Board Member Lisa McMillin, who just survived a tough re-election campaign, is seeking a seat there along with Jim Amero, who operates a business in town and is heavily involved with the Mile-Long Yard Sale there.
McMillin explained her reasons for running revolve around education, in particular attempting to move along a new Watertown High School. She said once the county chooses land to purchase for the school, then it will be up to the city to provide the necessary infrastructure and annex it into city limits.
"With all the exciting things that are going to be coming to Watertown as far as the educational system's concerned, I thought it would be a good time to throw my hat in the ring," McMillin said, "… and if elected, be a liaison between the Watertown City administration and the school board."
All the prospective candidates noted Watertown's recent growth boom. While subdivisions with hundreds of homes aren't popping up in the small East Wilson city, it has added a dozen new homes in the last four years and has experienced a relative torrent of retail growth.
Amero said business growth is a central tenet of his campaign.
"I just feel I'm in touch with the merchants around," Amero said. "We need to revitalize the square."
Touting their records
The three incumbents – all of whom have served four years – all cited a new sewer system installed during the last four years as well as retail growth and a planned emergency services building as accomplishments.
"We need to stay on the same pace we're currently at, looking to promote our business in our city, but still maintain the quality of life we enjoy here in Watertown," Howard said.
Carter and Howard both noted beer taxes coming in will largely pay for the city's portion of the emergency services building, which will house Watertown Police and Fire as well as serving as an Wilson Emergency Management Agency outpost.
For her part, Dorris said she was very interested in ensuring a new Watertown High School would remain within the city limits.
"We want to keep our high school in Watertown," Dorris said. "I'm a retired teacher, so education is high on my priorities."
Carter noted the $110,000 allocated from the county for expanding Watertown City Park will help build baseball fields in addition to an open-air veranda for a farmer's market.
"They've already got the money coming in to build … an open-air market along the railroad track, and that's going to be done with Historic Watertown and the city," Carter said.
Candidates have until Thursday, Aug. 17 to qualify for the Watertown and Mt. Juliet city elections.
Staff Writer Jason Cox can be reached at 444-3952 ext. 45 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.