June 7, 2014 11:03:35 PM
David Shelton's five-year term on the Columbus Light & Water Board of Directors expires at the end of this month. City councilmen will decide June 16 whether to re-appoint him or pick one of four other applicants to replace him.
Shelton, Micheal Tate, William Cunningham, Tiffany Sturdivant and Troy Miller have filed applications with the city for the position.
The five-member board oversees about a $52 million budget, approves all bill payments and sets policy for providing electric and water services to the city. Board members elect officers in July. They receive $300 a month and insurance benefits for their duties. Shelton receives $325 monthly as board president.
Shelton, a member of the board since 1999 and the board's president since Jabari Edwards stepped down in December 2011, said his business experience would continue to serve the board and city well if he were to be appointed for another five years, in particular when it comes to a five-year capital improvements plan the board recently approved.
"It's a pretty big job," Shelton said. "We've got a five-year plan started, and I would like to see that five-year plan finished. It involves about $1 million a year. We've got some of it left to do. We spend a lot of money and we want it spent right.
"I'm not going to keep a secret," he added. "I think everybody ought to know about their money."
Cunningham, a local attorney, and Miller could not be reached for this story. Miller appeared before the city council last month and questioned CL&W's response time in restoring power in East Columbus after a tornado caused widespread damage there in April.
Tate, a local financing agent, said he would work to implement programs that provide relief for the retired and elderly.
"I know how to get the best out of a team effort," Tate said. "I'm looking to bring some stability and some actual concern for the city. Those that are in poverty areas and the elderly. We've got to come up with some kind of program to serve them. I know what kind of monthly income they have because I'm in the finance business. They're only receiving $741 worth of benefits. We've got to figure out what we can do to come up with some kind of program where we don't put them at a disadvantage."
Sturdivant, a nurse, who in her application said she wanted to "restore a damaged relationship" between the residents and the board, added that the board's role is to serve customers.
"A lot of people have been talking about the budget," Sturdivant said. "I'm hearing they have a $5 million surplus. When you deal with numbers on a board you have to apply them to the people we're serving. It's not just about crunching numbers, which is what everybody is up in arms about. It's about serving the people and I feel like that's been out of the equation for a long time."
Nathan Gregory covers city and county government for The Dispatch.
1. West Lowndes principal resigns COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
2. Columbus cheer squads competing in national event COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY
3. Two arrested for Walgreens burglary COLUMBUS & LOWNDES COUNTY