RICHARD PRESLEY (incumbent)
Why are you running for this office? What are your main platform points?
I am running for mayor to continue what we have started. As your mayor, I have sought grants for the water system, been in negotiations to expand our park and collaborated with local, state and federal agencies to improve and expand public safety for the protection of our citizens.
How do you think growth in your town should be managed in the coming years?
I believe the foundation of growth management rests on four footings: a vision, a development plan, regulations and processes. We must have these in place to help manage growth. There already exists a wealth of resources already in use in other communities that can be adopted. Many cities have had court-tested growth management strategies in place for decades that can be refined to fit our town's specific situation. To get a handle on growth, we need to begin thinking and acting like big towns by developing detailed plans and putting in place land use policies, regulations and processes that will maintain our small town feel while allowing appropriate development.
What do you consider the top challenges your local government will face in the next 10 years? What would you do to address those challenges?
I believe that growth, both residential and industrial, will be our top challenge in the next 10 years. In order to be successful, we need a 10-year vision accompanied by five economic goals, among them to expand our commercial sector and broaden our commercial tax base while achieving a balanced growth of the residential tax base. To accomplish this goal, I believe we should develop five strategies for success: 1. create a business-friendly environment for commerce and industry; 2. restore the economic potential of our current businesses; 3. protect open spaces through conservation, planning and development, preserve and celebrate our small town heritage; 4. re-develop and improve and extend the town public infrastructure; and 5. develop community facilities and a quality of life for residents and visitors. Each strategy has associated with it a series of objectives, actions, timelines and resources required for its accomplishment.
Please give a brief biography and resume of yourself.
I have lived in Maysville for 65 years. I attended Maysville Elementary School and graduated from Commerce High School in 1972. After graduation, I attended Gainesville College and Athens Technical College where I obtained an emergency medical technician degree. I then worked for Jackson County EMS from 1974-82. From 1982 until the present, I along with my family, own and operate Presley's Lawn and Garden. I am married to Sharon Davis Presley and we have two grown children, Kyle Presley and Jena Presley (Josh) Moorehead, along with two granddaughters, Brylee and Addy. We attend Maysville Baptist Church. I have had the honor to serve as your mayor for four terms and I would like to ask you for your vote once again. I pledge to continue to be reliable, dependable and honest. I know that together, we can make Maysville a community to continue to be proud of.
1. Why are you running for this office? What are your main platform points?
Maysville was once prosperous and vibrant. I believe it can be that way again. This belief, coupled with my passion for building community, inspired me to run for Mayor.
While ongoing investment in infrastructure, public health and safety will remain priorities, I also intend to focus on three avenues of action:
• Promote economic development balanced with protection of our rural, small-town way of life. We can get the good we want and protect the good we have.
• Attract businesses to provide jobs, goods and services we want in our own community rather than going elsewhere for almost everything.
• Encourage community involvement in all aspects of city planning. This will include citizen’s advisory councils and committees of residents providing input before decisions are made.
2. How do you think growth in your town or school system should be managed in the coming years?
I think the most effective, and certainly the most immediate action we can take is to actually plan. City planning has not been a priority and this has opened us up to changes we will not welcome.
For years we have been fortunate enough to enjoy our rural, slow-paced lifestyle, quiet neighborhoods, and being under the developer’s radar. That’s no longer the case. Aggressive commercial and industrial development is underway all around us, and we are at risk of losing our most precious asset. Only through city planning can we protect our small-town way of life.
Time is of the essence. I want to see the community come together to decide what we want to do, be and have in Maysville. We must shape our future together, before it’s shaped for us.
3. What do you consider the top challenges your local government will face in the next 10 years? As a city council or school board member, what would you do to address those challenges?
I think the most significant challenge we will be dealing with is the impact of commercial development and residential growth.
I would address this with a team approach—no mayor knows everything, nor does any city council.
I advocate for engaging the community, drawing upon citizens’ relevant expertise and experience, and being sure we take advantage of opportunities available at the regional and state levels, such as grants and incentive programs. Lastly, I would schedule regular workshops for our city council, and planning and zoning commission in order to stay focused on the city’s goals, mark our progress, and remain accountable to the people of Maysville.
A second challenge is rekindling an atmosphere of possibility. As I talk with people in the community, they tell me they don’t feel they have a say in things, that their opinions, ideas and concerns are not valued. If we are to deal with the challenges ahead, this has to change.
As mayor, I would consider it my responsibility to create an inclusive atmosphere where people feel welcomed and respected. People need to know they matter, and that they will be heard. I want to create an atmosphere that says “we’re in this together.”
4. Please outline a brief biography and resume of yourself:
• Member, Maysville Planning and Zoning Commission 2017-Present
• Member, Maysville City Council 2007-2011
• Maysville resident 32 years
• Retired School Psychologist—24 years with Jackson County Schools
• Business Owner—Odyssey Center for Transformative Learning, www.odysseyctl.com
• Ed.D. University of Georgia, Department of Lifelong Education, Administration, and Policy