City council candidates share goals

Hillsboro voters will go to the polls in two short weeks to elect two members to Hillsboro City Council

One candidate seat each from the first ward and second ward is up for election.

Candidates for those seats are incumbent Shelby Dirks, first ward, and incumbent Byron McCarty and Martin Rhodes, second ward.

Since there are two contenders for the second ward seat, the Hillsboro Star-Journal asked councilman McCarty and candidate Rhodes questions regarding their candidacies.

Here are their responses.

Byron "Barney" McCarty

1) Why do you want to be re-elected to Hillsboro City Council?

McCarty: "I have enjoyed serving the people of Hillsboro and it has been a very interesting experience.

"I would like to see the closing of the sewer lagoon project and there are some other amazing things in the works that I'm not at liberty to talk about but I think the people will be very happy when they found out what is happening."

2) If re-elected, what would be your three top priorities and/or goals for the City of Hillsboro?

McCarty: "I would like to see the street department continue to keep working on streets instead of all of the other projects they had to do during the last couple of years. This is the main reason our streets are in such bad shape at the present time. If the street department is left alone to do the job and not a lot of 'pet' projects, they can accomplish a lot. I feel they have been doing an excellent job and I would like to see this continue. On this same subject, I would like to see improvements on Ash Street and the rest of Adams Street.

"The fire department has outgrown its station and somehow we need to find a way to get the fire department a bigger building. At the present time they have vehicles in two different buildings and the department needs one building at a good location. I hope to work on this if elected again. This has been an ongoing commitment and I hope something can be done soon. The firemen and the fire chief have been doing great work and they need our support.

"I would like to see a bike and walking trail built sometime. This is not really high on my priority list but I think it is a good idea and I know it would get used.

"The police department needs to have a full-time investigator. At the present time the police chief fills the shoes of at least three different people. Things have changed in Hillsboro, starting before Dan Kinning was appointed police chief. Due to an influx of people, the crime rate has risen by a large margin and things in Hillsboro are not like they used to be when Jerry Schmidt and I worked for the police department. I do feel we did leave the department with some very good officers.

3) Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the current council and administration?

McCarty: "I feel that as a council we hired an excellent administrator and he in turn, hired some good employees. I have had lots of compliments about the new building inspector and he spends his time doing what he is suppose to do — inspecting. Not to leave anybody out, I think we have excellent city employees and they have been doing a great job for the people of Hillsboro. The morale of the employees seems to have improved. I think the employees also are happy with a couple of employee changes the city has made.

"We have not had any employee issues at council meetings since we made these changes.

"I like working with the new council members and I like the old ones, too. We have very good meetings and we are getting a lot of things accomplished. We may not agree on everything but we get things done. I feel we are doing a good job. I know you can't make everyone happy all of the time but I have a lot of people who thank me for the job we are doing.

"One reason I ran for council again was that my fellow council members asked me to run so they would have someone they could work with and some of the city employees also asked me to run again. I also have had some business people tell me they are glad I'm running again. I think a little common sense goes a long way.

"I was hoping that maybe someone younger from my ward would want to be on the city council but that didn't happen. So after the council members and employees talked to me, I thought I should run again so the projects we are working on would get finished."

4) What is your background and/or qualifications for the position of councilman?

McCarty: "I guess one thing that helps is that I have been on the council for six years now. It takes some time to know how city government works. There are three other people and a mayor on the council with whom you have to work. You might promise people the moon but the other three have to agree to it.

"Also one can forget about the budget. You might want to buy all of the departments everything they want but it doesn't work out that way in real life.

"I worked for the city for 26 years on the police department. I would say I got to know most of the people here during that time. I was a supervisor for a number of those years. On my days off, I also worked for other city departments that included the street, electric, trash, and water. I also worked in the front office a few times. I felt I was lucky to get to do a little bit of everything."

5) Personal information.

McCarty: "I am a 1965 graduate of Marion High School. I joined the Navy Sea-Bees after working for Kansas Highway Engineering Department at Newton. I spent two tours of duty in Vietnam with the Naval Support Activity at Da Nang. I worked with the Vietnamese as a 'honcho'. After the Navy, I joined the Army National Guard and I spent 10 years with the unit at McPherson.

"I have lived in Hillsboro since 1974.

"I took some college courses at Tabor College, dealing with subjects that I could use with the police department. I also have taken C++, Windows administration, and web classes at Hesston College. I work on computers for fun and I like to study Linux. I also collect phonograph records. I like to play paint ball. I guess that covers my interests and other things.

"I now work at Olde Towne and Marion County Learning Center.

"My wife is Wendy McCarty, who works at Hillsboro Community Medical Center. I have a daughter, Megan, who attends college at Tabor. My son, Mason, is a sophomore at Hillsboro High School."

Martin Rhodes

1) Why do you want to be elected to the Hillsboro City Council?

Rhodes: "I spent five years as a city employee and feel I have some insight to the problems and challenges the city faces. I would like to give back some of my time to the citizens of Hillsboro for paying my salary for the five enjoyable years I worked for the city."

2) If elected, what would be your three top priorities and/or goals for the City of Hillsboro?

Rhodes: "1) Pursue every avenue possible to improve our streets and curbs and gutters; especially Adams, Date, First, and the north end of Ash streets.

"2) Develop and implement a prevention maintenance program for the city equipment and facilities to increase their life expectancies and appearances.

"3) I also would like to see continued improvement in our parks and recreation areas.

"4) Like any successful business, its success is tied to its employees and how they feel about their jobs. I would like to see some kind of an annual employee appreciation dinner for the employees and their spouses."

3) Are you satisfied/dissatisfied with the current council and administration?

Rhodes: "I am satisfied with the current council and administration."

4) What is your background and/or qualifications for the position of councilman?

Rhodes: "As previously stated, I have served the city for five years. I also am on the board of directors at Hillsboro Community Medical Center. In past years I have served on an advisory board of two Texas colleges."

5) Personal information.

Rhodes: "My wife's name is Fran. We have three married daughters, eight grandchildren, and three great-grandchildren.

"We reside at 702 E. First Street, and have lived in Hillsboro almost 12 years."