BARTONVILLE — The races for the Bartonville Town Council in the May 10 election have shaped up to be among the most competitive among the smaller cities in Denton County, with six candidates vying for two council seats and the vacant mayor’s position.
Bartonville Town Hall has made headlines recently regarding ongoing legal battles with the Cross Timbers Water Supply Corp., which led to the resignation of Mayor Ron Robertson and Mayor Pro Tem James Farrell in November.
The resignation left the council without a mayor, and the council voted to leave the seat unfilled until residents vote in May.
All the candidates say they believe Bartonville will experience growth in the coming year, and they say it’s important to make sure they make the right decisions to guide the town on the right path.
And they agree that key issues facing the town include the water tower litigation, balancing the budget, addressing police coverage and improving roads.
Two candidates are vying to fill the mayor’s seat: Bill Scherer, 49, a software engineer who is serving as the Place 3 council member and as mayor pro tem, and Doug Tobe, 58, a certified public accountant and businessman.
Scherer said he wants to give back to the community in which he lives.
In the last 10 years, Bartonville has grown rapidly and Scherer said he wants to give the town the leadership and guidance it needs to control the growth. And because he’s served on the town’s Board of Adjustments, he said he has the experience with commercial and government budgets to make smart decisions.
“Bartonville council has been transitioning to better support its citizens,” Scherer said. “As an advocate for these positive changes, I have worked on the council and together we have been able to take several important steps to secure the rural Bartonville town environment desired.”
He said that while serving as mayor pro tem, he has created an environment of respect and believes he is the most qualified candidate for the position.
Tobe, however, said he believes he has the leadership to change Bartonville’s future for the better.
He said it is essential Bartonville is supported by the appropriate level of leadership to ensure the quality of living and superior market values desired by the taxpayers.
“The level of communication must be based on objective criteria and verifiable facts,” he said. “Good communication will inform, encourage open discussion, enable active participation and result in sound decisions that are supported by the majority of our citizens.”
Tobe said the level of town services must be balanced against the amount the residents are willing to pay for the benefits they receive.
“In any event, it is only prudent to operate within a fiscally balanced budget,” he said.
In Place 2, incumbent Norma Harrington is being challenged by Jaclyn Carrington, 59, a therapist. Candidate Jason Small, 33, a firefighter, pulled out of the race recently.
Harrington, 64, a real estate consultant, said the town has many issues to address to prepare not only for today’s challenges but also ones in the future.
Harrington said she always considers the interests of current and future residents before making a decision. She said Bartonville is on the cusp of great growth, so there’s a lot of pressure to ensure the right decisions are made to guide growth and keep taxes low.
“There are several issues we need to address, not only the legal battles,” she said. “Police coverage, commercial growth and budget issues are all on the table.”
Harrington said she will make decisions based on the voice of the residents.
“And to do that, we must be transparent,” she said. “We must show and tell the people what’s going on so that they can come to us and make their voices heard.”
Carrington said it is important to get residents’ input on issues and concerns.
“I make every effort to stay abreast of town issues by talking with citizens, researching town contracts, studying the town budget, and have attended every council meeting in the past year,” she said. “As an elected official, it is imperative to ask residents about their needs and desires for their town.”
Carrington, who said she’s in favor of having the water tower completed to meet future water demands, added that it is important to keep Bartonville rural and is therefore opposed to commercial development.
“I am a fiscal conservative and feel it is essential to keep taxes low and ensure that your money is well spent,” she said.
In the race for Place 4, incumbent Gary A. Marco, 75, a retiree, is facing challenger Betty Medlock, 59, a publications director.
Marco is new to the council; he was appointed in November to fill the unexpired term of one of the council members who resigned.
Attempts by the Denton Record-Chronicle to reach Marco by phone and email were unsuccessful, but in previous interviews, Marco has said he decided to run for the council to help manage residents’ tax dollars efficiently and to provide more transparency to the community.
He also has said he will make decisions based on what residents want. If they desire to keep Bartonville rural, that’s what he’ll support.
Medlock said she’s running to add depth to the council. For nearly 20 years, she served on the city Planning and Zoning Commission.
“Recently, there have been a lot of new faces on the council and they can benefit from having someone who has helped write and knows the history of many city ordinances,” she said.
Medlock said residents have indicated they want to maintain the town’s rural atmosphere. And Medlock said she knows how to ensure the atmosphere is protected.
“I know the ordinances and I know the town’s history,” she said. “If anyone has the knowledge and insight to keep Bartonville’s rural nature, it’s me.”
Early voting begins April 28 and election day is May 10.
JOHN D. HARDEN can be reached at 940-566-6882 and via Twitter at @JDHarden.