Polling places and voting dates have been set for the upcoming runoff election to decide the Place 2 seat on the Sulphur Springs City Council.
The City Council met in special session Monday night to call for the runoff between incumbent Clay Walker and challenger Bradley Edge for a seat on the panel.
Walker received 700 votes, or 46.59 percent, of the 1,026 ballots cast in the May 9 council elections, while Edge was second with 346 votes, or 33.72 percent.
Three other candidates — Steve Carmody, Allen Vaughan and Claude Walter — were in the running for the seat, held by Walker since 2002.
A runoff election is required when no single candidate receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast. The runoff is then held between the two candidates with the most votes.
General voting in the runoff election will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, June 13, at the Sulphur Springs Independent School District Administration Building. Nell Furney was named election judge, with Sue Rogers and Edna Mabe appointed as alternates.
Early voting in person will be held weekdays from Monday, June 1, through Tuesday, June 9, at the Sulphur Springs Municipal Building at 125 South Davis St. On most days, early votes can be cast from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. A law passed by the 79th Texas Legislature, however, mandates that the polls must be open for 12 hours on two weekdays during the early voting period. Consequently, early voting will be held from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesday, June 3, and Thursday, June 4.
City Secretary Gale Roberts will serve as the early voting clerk, with Kathie Steele and Melissa Ford named as alternates.
Applications for ballots by mail must be received at City Hall no later than June 5. Applications should be mailed to Gale Roberts, City Secretary, 125 South Davis St., Sulphur Springs, TX 75482.
The runoff between Walker and Edge pits a two-term councilman with extensive experience in building and road construction against a political newcomer.
Bradley Edge, 27, is a 2000 graduate of Sulphur Springs High School who graduated from East Texas Baptist University in 2004.
Edge is a funeral assistant and pre-need counselor with Murray-Orwosky Funeral Home. He is youth choir director and a Sunday school teacher at First Baptist Church in Sulphur Springs. He previously was active with the Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce Ambassadors and Relay For Life.
During a candidate forum held in March, Edge said his number one reason for wanting to be on the City Council is to see some economic growth.
“It’s very hard for someone my age with a college degree to find a job in a town this size, unless you’re a school teacher or a nurse,” he said. “That’s about the only major college degree jobs we have in this town, with a few others scattered around elsewhere.”
He said the main complaint he’s heard during his campaign dealt with street conditions.
“We would all agree Main Street is a beautiful project. It looks great,” he said. “But sometimes looks are deceiving. Its functionality is a little questionable because it’s a little small, and we’ve heard a few complaints about how that was done, and maybe we need to rethink as we move forward with Connally Street and with others.”
The second most common issue he’s heard from citizens, Edge said, concerned the lack of a city recycling program.
“I’ve done a little checking into that (recycling) and hope that we can look into that more and what can we do to give back a little bit to the environment and stop wasting all the things that can be recycled.”
Clay Walker, 55, graduated from Sulphur Springs High School in 1971, then went on to get a degree in construction science. He and his wife, Peggy, have been married 23 years and have three daughters.
He was appointed to fill an unexpired term on the council in 2002, then had no challengers for re-election in 2003 or 2006.
Walker’s work experience ranges from being an auto body shop owner and manager, to seven years working in church construction in 15 states, and managing highway construction projects for 7 1/2 years.
Walker said he has served in the past on a Texas Department of Transportation contractors’ board, as well as an airport advisory board.
“I’m familiar with heavy highway construction,” he said during the March forum. “I’ve got some pretty good credentials with respect to roads, and I feel like my experience and knowledge is valuable for a place on the City Council.”
He also addressed some of the complaints about infrastructure problems in Sulphur Springs.
“The city is going to spend about $1.4 million on streets in this budget year, and I feel like I can help direct that so we get the most bang for our buck,” he said. “The city is limited in the funds we’ve got. We haven’t raised the taxes since I’ve been on the City Council. We’ve got the same rate. Fees have gone up and things like that, but we’ve got to live within our means, and we know that. We spend $600,000 to $700,000 (per year) on water and sewer, and I’m familiar with utility construction and I feel my experience will be valuable in that respect, as well, so we can continue to keep our taxes down.”
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