Voters to decide whether to add new council seat
Mar 03, 2013 | 1699 views | 0 0 comments | 18 18 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Gilmer voters will get to decide in the city council elections May 11 whether to add a city council seat and take action to give the mayor more of a chance to vote on council agenda items.

They will also have a contested mayor’s race for the first time since 2005.

City voters will also decide on council members for Districts 2 and 3.

(The filing period ended Friday, after The Mirror’s deadline for this issue.)

The actions are recommended amendments to the City Charter by the Charter Commission, which must meet every five years.

The recommendations came before the Gilmer City Council when it met Tuesday evening at City Hall.

Currently, the mayor only gets to vote to break a tie. With the current five council members (four district and one at-large), plus the mayor, it is rare that a tie comes up.

The proposal would provide for an additional at-large seat and give the mayor a chance to vote on the new 6-member-plus-mayor council.

If the voters approve the changes, the council will appoint someone to the new at-large seat to serve until the 2014 May city election. Then a special election for a one-year term will be held for that post, and it will be filled for a 2-year term in 2015, along with the mayor’s seat and District 2 and 3 council posts.

Gilmer businessman Steve Dean is challenging incumbent R.D. “Buck” Cross for mayor, marking the first time since 2005 that Cross has had an opponent. He was elected to his first 2-year term in 2003.

Cross, speaking to a luncheon club meeting several years ago, commented that he had served in the U.S. military, then as a Texas State Trooper. After retiring from that position, he served three terms as Upshur County Sheriff.

“So I’ve served government at every level, federal, state, county and city,” Cross said.

Dean owns Texas Forest Products, and is the former owner of Dean Lumber Co., which was one of Gilmer’s largest employers.

He also is president of the Flight of the Phoenix Aviation Museum at the Gilmer airport, and has brought air shows and many aviation activities to the city.

Cross said that since he has been mayor, the city has succeeded significantly reducing its debt.

Dean said that he is “not running against the mayor, but is running for the city.”

Dean praised the achievements in reducing the city’s indebtedness, but says he wants to see the city build on that success.
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