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12 vying for city commission seats

From staff reports

Editor’s note: While 12 candidates are on the May 22 primary ballot, questionnaires were not returned by all candidates. Those questionnaires that were returned are printed here.

Nicholasville residents will have 12 candidates to choose from for city commissioner in the primary election on Tuesday, May 22.  The top eight move on to vie for four seats in the general election. This is a non-partisan race and candidates are Betty Black, Doug Blackford, Ernie Hoskins, Andy Williams, Ann Marie Nipp, Patty Grose Teater, Jeffery W. Moberly, Chris Ardery, Michael “Mikey” Garrett, Bethany Davis, Daniel David and Alex Carter.

Black is a high school graduate who is currently taking online classes focusing on business accounting and art and graphic design. Self employed since 1983, Black owns Printer’s Ink along with her husband in Nicholasville. She has served as city commissioner for eight years, and for the last six years has been serving over the public safety division with regards to Nicholasville Police Department and the Nicholasville City Fire Department.

Blackford has a degree in university studies from Morehead State University. He has 26 years experience in manufacturing and works as a supplier quality engineer at Sargent and Greenleaf. He has also spent 12 years coaching sports in the community.

Williams is a graduate of Jessamine County High School. He is retired from the Jessamine County fiscal court and currently serves as city commissioner. He has over 13 years experience in his current position and over 30 years experience in youth sports leagues.

Teater is a graduate from Jessamine County High School and has been employed by Jessamine County Schools for 23 years. Currently she works as the student data specialist. She is currently serving her second term as one of the Nicholasville City Commissioners.

Moberly is a local business owner of a construction and excavation company in Nicholasville. He is a volunteer fireman for Jessamine County Fire District and the City of Wilmore Fire Department for over 19 years. He also serves as the field supervisor for the city of Wilmore..

Ardery works for Aladdin Glass as part of their fabrication and glass replacement and service department. He has a 13 year military career serving from 1992 – 2005. He also served three years with the American Red Cross from 2012 -2015.

Garrett is a firefighter/EMT with the Lexington Fire Department and a lieutenant with the Jessamine County Fire District. He is a volunteer fireman and proponent of Veteran Affairs. He has served as an assistant coach, and head coach for sports leagues. He is also a volunteer with the Jessamine County Animal Control Animal Decon since 2012. 

Davis has a bachelors degree in accounting and a masters in business administration. She is a graduate from East Jessamine High School and a volunteer at Ignite Church in the children’s ministry.

David is a small business owner and realtor. He is a United States Army veteran and a former member of the Kentucky National Guard.

Carter is Graduate of West Jessamine High and the Gatton College of Business and Economics at the University of Kentucky. He has worked as a small business owner for 11 years in Nicholasville. He has served as a member of the Nicholasville Planning and Zoning Board of Adjustments and the 2015 Jessamine County Joint/Wilmore/Nicholasville Comprehensive Plan Committee.

JJ: What will be your top priority if elected to office?

Black: If re-elected to city commission, my top priorities will be continuing to keep a balance budget for the city. Continuing growth of Nicholasville. Public safety for all departments. Building a new ­fire and police department along with a new city hall. Also focusing on a community center to hold events.

Blackford: To implement major building projects for the city.  Over the last few years we have been working diligently to create revenue for building projects.  Today we have that revenue allows us to consider breaking ground on a new fire station, building a new city call and a new police station.

Williams: To continue to improve our city to make it a good and safe place to live.

Teater: My top priority would be to continue to put the interests of the citizens of Nicholasville first.  I believe that we should never turn a citizen away from being able to voice their ideas or concerns.  I believe in greater transparency and accountability in government.

Moberly: My top priority if elected would be to help ensure that the City of Nicholasville employees are paid comparable to surrounding communities to help keep the retention rate higher.

Ardery:  Waiting for the state and federal government to make a major move on the security of our children in schools here in Nicholasville and Jessamine County is not an option.  Development of an effective, human interactive program for security is imperative now. 

Garrett: My top priority will always be the safety of every Nicholasville citizen.  I am a candidate with both the knowledge and understanding in dealing with public safety.  I have dedicated my life to this cause, and have surrounded myself with some of the best policemen and firemen in this state.

Davis: To revamp parks and recreation. Our city is growing, I believe that one way to keep kids out of trouble and citizens involved in the community a strong parks and recreation is key. We have beautiful facilities that lay dormant except during sports seasons and these facilities could bring profit.

David: My top priority will be to create more jobs and bring more businesses to Nicholasville. This will create much-needed tax dollars for the city as well as the county.

Carter:  My number one priority will be to represent the citizens of Nicholasville. I will strive to listen and connect with our citizens and operate an efficient Nicholasville government.  It is important to ensure future generations have the benefits to prosper in this community.

JJ: What makes you the best candidate for the job? 

Black: I have gained valuable experience and insight from eight years serving as Nicholasville City Commissioner I have a proven record of listening to our citizens and helping address  their concerns. I always respond to all questions and concerns. I know how to get things done.

Blackford: My education, experience, leadership, work ethic and common sense approach to problem solving makes me the best candidate for the job.  Working in the manufacturing industry for the last 26 years has given me the experience with balancing budgets, creating revenue, and overseeing projects.

Williams: Being a commissioner for over 13 years, I have the experience to continue to do a good job.

Teater:   I am a lifelong resident of Jessamine County.  My children and grandchildren live here.  I love this town.  So, it’s personal for me.  I want what is best for my family and yours.  I always do my homework on each topic brought before us.

Moberly: Having hands on experience in areas including being on the Jessamine County Fire District also working for the City of Wilmore as a supervisor and having owned my own business for years makes me a candidate that could base his decisions on facts from experience.

Ardery: I believe in action as a result of planning rather than more planning as an action of planning.  If we say we’re going to do something, do it.  If we dream about what could be but never wake up to it, it will always be nothing more than a dream.

Garrett: People need to be represented by someone who has no hidden agenda.  And candidates need to understand that although they have ideas and plans, their ultimate responsibility is both the representation and avocation of city entities as well as the men and women who work there. I understand this wholeheartedly.

Blackford: I am young, educated and I have a new perspective. I am hard-working and truly love this city. I am not a politician. I will not spend my time in office worrying about getting re-elected. I want to get as much accomplished as possible through the next two years.

Ardery:  I believe in action as a result of planning rather than more planning as an action of planning.  If we say we’re going to do something, do it.  If we dream about what could be but never wake up to it, it will always be nothing more than a dream.

Davis: I am young, educated and I have a new perspective. I am hard-working and I truly love this city. I am not a politician. I will not spend my time in office worrying about getting re-elected. I want to get as much accomplished as possible through the next two years.

David: My background in business makes me the best candidate for the job. Having been a small business owner since 2005, I know what it takes to create jobs, grow companies, as well as sustain jobs. 

Carter: As a small business owner I have the leadership experience to operate the city and help our government run as efficiently as possible while providing quality city services to Nicholasville residents. The city government budget must plan for what the future holds and make sound financial decisions today. 

JJ: What professional/political accomplishments are you most proud of in your life?

Black: First, I am proud of the fact of being able operate a business for 40 plus years. Also I worked with Rep. Bob Damron to get grant funding to build the ­skate park at Lake Mingo. Also being able to obtain new equipment for the police and ­fire departments.

Blackford: Professionally, I am most proud of my work ethic, thus allowing for career advancement, while maintaining integrity and the ability to work well with others.  Politically, I am most proud of moving Nicholasville forward financially by creating new revenue and keeping our tax rate and utility rates low.

Williams:As I have served as commissioner to be a part of good growth in the community and maintain budgets to make sure our city has been able to provide a good and safe place to raise your family.

Teater: Last year, I was employed at McLane Cumberland, I had the highest merchandising income of any buyer in any division across the United States. In my current job with the Board of Education, I was offered the position of the first ever student data specialist for Jessamine County Schools. 

Moberly: While running my excavation company and working on sites with over 100 contractors for the top four production builders in Central Kentucky, I was voted Contractor of the Year for 2006. My award reads not the size of the contractor but the size of the commitment of the contractor that matters.

Ardery: No answer given.

Garrett: I’m not a politician. I’m a fireman.  I’m certified as a rescue technician with over 3,500 training hours, a certified fire instructor, and a HAZMAT Specialist.  I also graduated valedictorian in Lexington Fire Department’s Paramedicine Program. I’m more proud of my professional accomplishments than my political ones. I’m not a politician.

Davis: Professionally I am most proud of the opportunity to become a certified public accountant. When starting my job, I was a billing assistant. In just eight months I moved to accounting and now have the opportunity to become a CPA.

David:  I am proud of devoting my time to my country. Having been deployed to Kosovo and witnessing first hand the freedoms a lot of us take for granted was an eye-opening experience.  I am most proud of my family and the time I can devote to raising my son while still running a successful real estate business.

Carter: My successful small business operations are a great personal accomplishment. I am truly blessed in many ways and thankful for my mentors, but most of all God.

JJ: What is the biggest challenge our community faces?

Black:  Our biggest challenge our community faces is our drug epidemic. I feel that we must continue to work at the epidemic much in the same way we have been, while continuing to learn and adapt to the ever changing drug problems. City of Nicholasville is no different than any other city.

Blackford: Our biggest challenge in our community is the drug epidemic, especially heroin.  I will continue to support and work diligently with public safety to look for new options to fight this epidemic.

Williams: As we continue to grow, Nicholasville is now the ninth largest city in the state. In my mind we have to have good infrastructure and a good plan to continue the growth of our city. Ability to bring in good jobs. We are work ready and to see Brannon Crossing complete.

Teater:  Hands down, I believe it is the drug crisis.  Aside from the personal and emotional toll it places on families, there is other collateral damage that this crisis causes. Social impact to children of those involved, extra demands on our first responders, added expenses to our education system.

Moberly: The biggest challenge our community faces is with finding the necessary financial needs to handle the growth of our community, especially with regards to the police, fire, EMS, water and sewer departments.

Ardery: There is no singular answer for that.  Nicholasville is currently the tenth largest city in Kentucky; it deserves an infrastructure that represents that growth.  Police and fire services need to be built up through personnel, locations, equipment, and competitive salaries. Water pressure issues throughout the city need to be corrected.

Garrett: The biggest challenge our community faces is understanding.  Police and fire are entities that will never complain to the public about the hardships they face, and many go unrecognized.  By attempting to educate, we as a community will be able to come together to make this city safer together.

Davis: Drugs is one of the biggest challenges our community faces. I think through unity, our community can overcome. We have to become invested in beating this as a whole, not turn our nose up to the problem. Proactivity is what we need to mitigate the problem.

David: Biggest challenge our community faces is ability to adapt to change. I realize everyone wants to go back to “good ole days.” It is not going to happen no matter how bad we may want it. That is not to say things cannot be great or better than they were.

Carter: The growth rate and how to address increasing city constraints on public safety and city services. Proper planning for future city services and public safety need to be on our horizon for 10-20 years in the future, not just for the current year.

JJ: How do you plan to involve the residents in the decision making process in our town?

Black: I have always had an open door policy to all citizens. Also my contact information is always available at city hall or my office at Printer’s Ink. I have gained valuable experience and insight from eight years serving as Nicholasville City Commissioner. I have a proven record of listening to our citizens.

Blackford: As always, I support an open door policy for our residents to be involved in discussion of issues involving our town. My contact information, email and phone number, is available through the city. I have met with several different groups to discuss issues and to get feedback on various topics.

Williams: The peoples voice’s are always heard. We as a board try to keep all citizens involved in what happens in our city. Currently, we involve our community with news letters, paper and with television.

Teater: Communication is key to keeping citizens involved.  I will continue to share the agenda before each meeting and the videotape afterwards of all of our meetings on my social media page.  Keeping the City’s webpage current is also a priority.  I am always willing to hear concerns or ideas.

Moberly: I would involve residents in decision making processes by being available to groups for meetings, being able to lend an open ear for their concerns and by inviting more people to attend commissioner meetings.

Ardery: As a rule, most meetings are open to the public.  Unfortunately, there is not much effort put into letting the public know when or where these meetings are.  We have a local radio station, newspaper, and several local business owners that would be willing to provide public service announcements.

Garrett: All Commissioners meetings should have a Q & A. The public needs to have their voices heard.  LED signs, radio spots, mailers, and open forums should all be considered in getting information out. It’s my responsibility to be the voice of the people, after all, it’s their city.

Davis: I would like to continue to make meetings public, but also I believe that we need to hold them somewhere with more space. If the space is more accommodating more people may show up to hear what is happening in our city.

David:  I have the privilege of working for the largest real estate company in the U.S. One of the things that set us apart is the open book’s policy where every agent is reserved the right to examine our books at any time to see how the money is being distributed.

Carter: City residents deserve continuous interaction with their elected officials, not just during an election year. I plan to be in direct contact with our citizens being accessible throughout work day hours and after hours with routine open door office meetings with Nicholasville residents.

JJ: If elected, what three steps would you take to put our city on a firmer financial footing? 

Black: Our city is on a financial footing due of the current city commissioner work over the last six years. We will keep continuing creating better growth to generator more revenue to help maintain low tax rates. The I-75 connector will bring much needed industry to the area for growth also.

Blackford: Nicholasville’s current financial status is one of the strongest in the state of Kentucky.  We have the highest bond rating a city our size can achieve.  I will continue to do what we’ve been doing. 

Williams: At the present time our city is in the best financial shape it has been since 2009. Do not wast tax dollars. Provide the best services possible, and stay with in budget plan and all will be fine.

Teater: I should start by saying that Nicholasville is currently on a firm financial footing because of the diligent work of previous and current boards.  The steps I believe to be important to keep and improve our financial standing are budget.  Nicholasville is growing exponentially, there are added costs with growth

Moberly: I would help to put our city on a firmer financial footing by making choices for smart growth and helping welcome desirable businesses to choose our community while also making every effort to use local businesses and contractors for the needs of our city.

Ardery: ISO is a priority.  Our current administration would have you believe that it is very costly to correct the issues that we face with ISO and that it would lead to  unwanted tax increases.  Truth of the matter is, correct the problem, insurance rates for both business and residence drop.

Garrett:  Common Sense.  I’ve seen the city spend over $100,000 in third party “audits” when we can get them free. Why? AAA bond rating is great, I hope to help make us AAA bonded. And “Emergency Purchases” need to be a thing of the past. Proper budgeting and planning.

Davis: Make parks and recreation a money-maker not a burden, through tournaments held in all sports softball, baseball, soccer, football playoffs. Put in time, effort applying for grants can help our town infrastructure without dipping into funds brought from taxes and utilities. Open the eyes to new business opportunities to come.

David: Once elected, I will begin working immediately with the necessary parties to create more jobs and bring much-needed relief in the form of tax dollars to help stabilize the Nicholasville economy. I will then reach out to ensure our basic infrastructures needs in the form of public safety, roads, sidewalks.

Carter: Invest and improve our infrastructure preventing newly paved street repairs. Address increasing insurance premiums (effectively tax increase) created by the downgrade in our city’s ISO rating due to public safety requirement. Ensure competitive wages and benefits for our police/fire departments to properly train & retain our communities first responders.

JJ: Any additional comments?

Black: It has been a privilege serving the citizens of Nicholasville for the last eight years. I am looking forward to serving the city of Nicholasville for the next two years if re-elected. And keeping the city moving forward. I enjoy what I do and care deeply about our community.

Blackford: It has been an honor to serve my hometown as your city commissioner.  I will continue to implement infrastructure and growth planning so our community can continue to prosper. I also want to continue programs like our School Resource Officer Program that keeps our students, teachers and staff safe.

Williams: For me, it has been an honor to keep the trust of our citizens to do the right thing for our city. I look forward to serving as your commissioner again. I keep myself always available.

Teater: I appreciate all the support I have received previously while serving as your commissioner.  It would be an honor and privilege to continue to represent you.

Moberly: With election nearing, I have been humbled by the support I have received. I have had the opportunity to speak with people that I have known for years and people I have recently met. I would like to say that I have the utmost respect for the commissioners holding office.

Ardery:  I have watched two much needed non-profits grow and flourish in this town. One deals with rehabilitation, the other with homelessness.  Both of these organizations were faced with many unnecessary challenges from our cities commission and/or planning and zoning. 

Garrett: I’m the only candidate that stands side by side with the people I want to represent.  That’s a tall difficult task.  I use common sense and always allow my principles to supersede my opinion.  I’m running for no benefit of my own, it’s solely to give more to my community.

Davis: I want this, and not for the money or for the name. I just want to make a positive difference while putting Jesus at the forefront. Nicholasville is home and I just want my home to thrive.

David: Thank you for taking the time to read my views and I look forward to your support on May 22nd.

Carter:  I hope to have the opportunity to represent the residents of Nicholasville and be a strong voice for change. My priority is to represent you and to ensure that our community’s future generations have opportunities to succeed and enjoy the quality of life Nicholasville has to offer.