Re-elected mayors look toward next four years

Published 5:18 pm Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Residents of Clanton, Jemison and Thorsby decided to stay the course in Tuesday’s municipal elections, as they re-elected the mayors in each of the three municipalities.

Though the vote was obviously a referendum on the job they have done in the past, the mayors said a new set of challenges await them in the next four years.

Clanton Mayor Billy Joe Driver has seen much during his 28 years in office, but two consecutive close races against challenger Ann Baker have shown Driver there are segments of the city’s population that want to see changes.

Driver said his next term will focus on improving the “quality of life” for Clanton residents. The umbrella could include issues like utilities, roads and conveniences.

“I have run into dead ends on trying to get things that people want,” Driver said about new businesses locating to Clanton. “I want to sit down with the council, when we get squared away, and find out which direction they would like for us to go in, and the public is not left out of what we do. I want some input and some suggestions.”

As Clanton continues to grow, traffic congestion will also grow. Driver mentioned Interstate 65 Exit 205 and the intersection of Seventh Street and Fourth Avenue North as troublesome spots that need attention.

“I know we’ve got a traffic problem, but sometimes traffic is not bad,” Driver said. “It’s better than no traffic at all.”

City-owned recreation opportunities could increase as officials look to improve West End Park and construct a senior citizen center at the intersection of Highway 22 and 15th Street.

“We’re working on all that, but you just do as you can,” Driver said. “We’ve got several irons in the fire. It’s a never-ending operation.”

At the opposite end of the mayoral experience spectrum of Driver is Thorsby’s Dearl Hilyer, who was re-elected Tuesday to his second term in office.