Editor’s Note: All Laurel Hill candidates running for elected office received the same questionnaire relevant to the position each seeks. Their answers follow.

Laurel Hill’s municipal election is March 14. See www.govote-okaloosa.com to find your polling place. 

 

LAUREL HILL

Name: Robby Adams

Office sought: Mayor

Occupation: Program technician with USDA / Farm Service Agency

Relevant experience: Served on the Laurel Hill City Council from June 2008 to March 2013. Began four-year term as mayor in April 2013.

Reason you seek this position: Four years ago, I pledged to bring honesty and integrity back to the office of mayor. Now, four years later, I can say I have done this and I want to see this continued. Therefore, I am seeking a second term to keep moving Laurel Hill in the right direction.

City water rates have not been amended since 2008, and concern exists that without a rate hike or adjustment the utility will suffer, potentially affecting citizens.

As mayor, how would you address the issue of water rates and service in Laurel Hill?

Council started the process of looking into adjusting rates. It was tabled while Florida Rural Water completed a usage study. This matter will need to be dealt with by the new council before our next budgeting process starts.

From a business standpoint, our current rates aren’t sustainable and previous studies have proven this. Even though we’ve grown our reserves the past four years, the margins between revenues coming in and expenses of doing business have been decreasing. Keeping the water department solvent is a priority and, to do so, a water rate adjustment will have to be addressed this year.

Some city roads are rendered unusable during times of rain or flood, resulting in property damage and running the risk of trapping citizens.

As mayor, how would you work (locally and with county officials) toward ensuring roads are properly repaired and maintained?

Only two roads are rendered temporarily unusable during heavy rains: Second Avenue and Chicago Avenue.

Second Avenue is topped by a local creek when flooding is heavy but does not prevent home access due to being accessible on both sides of the creek from Highway 85.

Chicago Avenue has been breached twice during heavy rains. This is an issue due to being a single-entry road for two households living on this road. The city, with engineering firm Dewberry, is seeking a permanent fix for this issue and we’ll try to obtain Federal EWP (Emergency Watershed Protection) funds to pay for this project.

Name: Travis Allen Dewrell

Office sought: Mayor

Occupation: Contractor, entrepreneur, business owner

Relevant experience:  Owned and operated successful businesses ranging from the construction industry to retail and real estate. I have decades of experience in management of employees, contract negotiations, planning and budgeting and efficiently cutting costs.

Reason you seek this position: My abundant availability, training, experience, diligence, drive, determination, gumption and desire to see Laurel Hill thrive are second to none. This city deserves a mayor that loves and believes in the future of this city, not disbanding it! I love Laurel Hill and I know I can make a difference!

City water rates have not been amended since 2008, and concern exists that without a rate hike or adjustment the utility will suffer, potentially affecting citizens.

As mayor, how would you address the issue of water rates and service in Laurel Hill?

The water rates aren't set by the mayor; however, I would encourage the city council members to keep the rates as low as possible for city residents.

What I'll do as mayor is create an environment conducive to the development of affordable housing so that we increase the number of users as opposed to increasing the financial burden on our residents.

Additionally, the mayor is in fact in charge of our water quality (or lack thereof.) As a father of five children, that drink and bathe in this water, I'll take this role very seriously. Go Hoboes baseball!

Some city roads are rendered unusable during times of rain or flood, resulting in property damage and running the risk of trapping citizens.

As mayor, how will you work (locally and with county officials) toward ensuring roads are properly repaired and maintained?

I'll use my real world, boots-on-the-ground experience as a site contractor and storm water mitigation expert to lead and guide the existing city staff to use equipment (already owned by the city), the proper techniques and procedures to alleviate a vast majority of these issues.

As for the issues too big for us to handle ourselves, I will not hesitate to seek assistance from our friends at the county. Through a positive working relationship with the county, the city of Laurel Hill can accomplish great things.

Make Laurel Hill great again; elect Travis Dewrell mayor! Go Hoboes softball!

 

 

The city of Laurel Hill has three candidates running for its City Council. Each candidate was contacted for a brief profile on their information and campaign stances.

 

Name: David Saldana

Occupation: Technical illustrator for the aerospace industry

Relevant experience: In my job, I have worked with a team to manage our program's cost, processes and procedures. Thus, meeting quality cost and schedule to become more efficient and effective for our customer.

Reason you seek this position: I believe it is my civic duty to serve our community.  I will like to serve our citizens to bring growth and fix the issues at hand in improving our beautiful town.

City water rates have not been amended since 2008, and concern exists that without a rate hike or adjustment the utility will suffer, potentially affecting citizens.

As a council member, how would you address the issue of water rates and service in Laurel Hill?

I would like to propose a three-tier, gradual rate increase or three-to-five-year gradual increase to help our water system issues.  I will also actively go after grants to help our water system issues.

Several city roads are rendered unusable during times of rain or flood, resulting in property damage and running the risk of trapping citizens.

As a council member, how will you work (locally and with county officials) towards ensuring roads are properly repaired and maintained?

I would actively work on getting grants and loans, if needed, from the state to fix our roads that are most urgently in need of repair.  I would also like to make a list to prioritize the roads that are in the greatest need of repair.

 

Name: Johnny James

James was notified via phone of the profile but provided no email address—stating he didn't have one—for the questions and no resolution to complete it was reached.

 

Name: Mike Blizzard

Blizzard was sent the survey but provided no response.