KRUM — Mayor Terri Wilson is seeking re-election this May and she is opposed by Larry Lamonica, who served as mayor before Wilson unseated him in 2007.
Wilson also defeated Lamonica in 2009, prevailing by more than a 2-to-1 margin.
Some believed Wilson would not seek re-election after she took a job in Celina. However, Wilson said that the job in Celina has not affected her ability to serve as mayor.
“Both jobs have flexible schedules, so I can serve both,” she said.
Despite his failures to reclaim the mayor’s seat in the past, Lamonica said he has learned lessons that will help him take the seat again.
Early voting begins today, and Election Day is May 11.
Wilson, 48, said there are three challenges the city faces: stimulating economic growth, locating resources to fund city improvement projects and forming stronger relationships between the community and local businesses.
Wilson, who holds a master’s degree in educational administration from Tarleton University, said the challenges can be overcome by maintaining and developing partnerships with businesses, the county and state agencies.
“Partnerships with other local entities have proven invaluable on projects to improve Krum,” she said.
For instance, Wilson said the city received $400,000 from the county and $200,000 from the Krum Independent School District to install turn lanes on the heavily traveled roads on the east side of the city.
“The upgrades to the roadways made such a huge improvement to the flow of traffic during peak times, but most importantly it made it much safer for our citizens to drive through that area on the way to school and work,” she said.
Despite the challenges, Wilson said there’s a lot to look forward to in Krum.
Wilson said the city is waiting for approval from the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality to begin seeking bids on a wastewater plant, and the city is working on improving and preserving downtown. Officials are also developing plans to improve the roads, she said.
“I have dedicated the last six years to improving the city of Krum,” she said. “I am very proud of the improvements that have been made.”
Wilson said all of the progress the city has made during her tenure wouldn’t have been possible without local partnerships and a dedicated council that looks out for the community.
“Of course, a difference of opinion will sometimes exist between council members and citizens,” she said. “But council generally agrees on many issues with the citizens. The city is blessed with tenured and caring council members who always want the citizens’ voices to be heard.”
Wilson said she wants residents to look at the last few years she has served as mayor as the reason they believe she’s the best option.
“I want citizens to take a look at my experience,” Wilson said. “I have devoted a lot to this community because I want to see it grow, because I want what’s best for the citizens and because I care.”
Lamonica, 64, said the city’s priorities should be on restoring transparency, reducing debt, retaining city staff and being fiscally responsible.
He served as mayor from 1988-90 and then again in 2005-06.
During his last term, he oversaw a handful of public improvement projects, which included constructing new water and sewer lines and rebuilding roads.
Lamonica, who studied as an undergrad at UNT, said as mayor, he would work on making information more available to the public.
“I’m not running because I want to,” he said. “I’m running because the people need a choice that’s better for them.”
Lamonica claims the Krum City Council fails to be transparent and that the community is uneducated on current events at city hall. Agendas and news alerts are posted outside of city hall and on the city’s website, but Lamonica said he thinks the community needs more.
“We need to make city hall more inclusive, instead of exclusive,” he said.
Lamonica didn’t give any specific examples as to how city hall was exclusive, but he said he would distribute details about what’s wrong with city hall in the coming days through door-to-door campaigning.
Lamonica said the city needs to get its debt under control, even criticizing three propositions on the May ballot that leave about $4 million in tax bonds up to the voters.
He said his comeback will open the eyes of residents. He said he’s going to present information to the public that reveals the true “backdoor dealings” of city hall.
Again, Lamonica didn’t reveal the information he had and only mentioned he wanted to take more time to present it to the community.
Though he’s waiting to back up his claims, Lamonica said he wants to ensure the public that he’s the best option for the city.
“The city will see what’s going on soon enough,” he said. “I wouldn’t be running if I didn’t think I could help.”
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.