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Applicants focus on HU's relations with City Council

By Deangelo McDaniel 340-2469

HARTSELLE — A one-term councilman and an ex-military man want to unseat two incumbents on the Hartselle Utilities board.

With Friday's deadline to apply approaching, city leaders here have received two applications for the positions that Mike Gunter and Jimmy Moore occupy.

Frank Jones, who served one term on the City Council and was the council's representative on the board, submitted his application almost two weeks before Will Lipsey.

Jones was the city's representative on the board from 2000 until 2004 when he lost his bid for re-election to the council.

Lipsey, who often attends council meetings and has criticized the HU board, has never held a public office in Hartselle.

Council President Kenny Thompson said the city will probably interview applicants July 9 before making the appointments.

"We're going to put on the board who we think can best serve the city," he said.

With the exception of Moore, the candidates talked about better relations between the board and city leaders.

"There is a better relationship between the board and the administration of the city now and we have good things happening," Gunter wrote.

Jones and Lipsey promised to continue to make the relationship better.

"The experience I gained while on the council and while serving on the utilities board will benefit both parties," Jones wrote on his application.

In addition to improving the effectiveness and efficiency of the board, Lipsey said, he wants to "establish a better working relationship with ratepayers, mayor and members of the council."

The relationship between HU and the council has changed significantly since Ferrell Vest became HU general manager.

The previous city administration banned former General Manager George Adair from attending city department head meetings.

But Vest, or a member of his staff, now attends the meetings.

Hartselle has also partnered with HU on several projects since Adair's departure.

On Friday at 7 p.m., the two entities will discuss plans to install sewer lines to city-owned property near Alabama 36 and Interstate 65.

"We're going to use our resources, equipment and share in the cost," said Jeff Johnson of the Department of Development.

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