BtN Candidate Questionnaire: Gary Southerland
1.Please describe the duties, as you see them, of holding the seat of which you are seeking and how you plan to fulfill those responsibilities.
My duty as a city council member is to have a clear understanding of Morgantown’s Vision and Mission Statement. (see attached) This statement was developed in 2011 from citizen input. The development of Morgantown’s Comprehensive Plan, (see attached excerpt), which is a design for Morgantown for the next five years, is well under way and will be the compass that guides the direction Morgantown will take in the years to come. As a council member, I will seek to see that this plan is developed for the progress of Morgantown.
2. What do you feel is the #1 issue that needs to be addressed in Morgantown/Butler County? If elected, what specific steps will you take to address this issue?
I feel it is important to continue to develop the Comprehensive Plan and follow through with implementing its elements. There are twelve elements to the plan which is still being worked on by the Planning and Zoning Commission:
• Economic Development
• Public Safety
• Quality of life and community character
• Community facilities and public service
• Human resource development
• Land use and development
• Natural, cultural and physical resources
• Governance and civic organizations
Each element has its own goals and objectives that we will work to see implemented.
3. What do you see as Morgantown/Butler County’s greatest asset? How do you plan to expose and promote this positive feature?
The greatest assets of Morgantown are its people and its rich history. The Comprehensive Plan’s goals and objectives will expose and promote our greatest assets.
4. Where do you see Morgantown/Butler County in five years?
I see a reversal of losing population by attracting more citizens, businesses and industries. By following the Comprehensive Plan the city will be improved in many areas including its attractiveness, safety and opportunity.
5. What qualifications do you believe you possess that would make you qualified for the position you are seeking?
I’m Gary Southerland and am presently in my first term as one of your Morgantown City Councilpersons. I am married to Anita and this year we celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary. We have three children – two sons and a daughter, two daughters-in-law, one son-in-law and three grandchildren (Ryleigh Beth, Ella Rose and Evan Bailey). The grandchildren were all born between January and June of 2011. We have enjoyed them tremendously.
I grew up in the Rochester/Provo communities of Butler County and attended elementary school in Rochester. I attended eighth through twelfth grades at Butler County High School and graduated from there in 1964. I farmed and did construction work until I left to attend the University of Kentucky. I graduated from UK in 1971 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Mechanical Engineering. After college I worked for Arch Mineral Coal in Southern Illinois. I began work at Tennessee Valley Authority in 1972 and obtained my Professional Engineer’s License in 1978. I retired from TVA in 2000 as a Regional Manager.
I served on the Butler County School Board from 1991 to 2008 and was chairman from 1993 – 2008. My volunteer activities include working at the Morgantown Mission and Morgantown Care and Rehab. We attend church at State Street United Methodist.
I have enjoyed this first term on the Council and working with Mayor Keown and all the other Council members. We have worked together on safety issues, sponsoring clean-up days, catching up on past due projects and maintaining city property in general, this has obviously improved our City’s appearance. This was done with local volunteers, local contractors and local businesses and we “Thank Them”. We have been working on the city’s Strategic plan called Comprehensive Plan – for almost a year with Planning and Zoning in the lead. It is still being developed from the input of Morgantown’s citizens, Barren River Area Development District, Mayor Keown, City Council and Morgantown Planning and Zoning Commission. We completed Morgantown’s Vision and Mission Statement first (see attached) and the Comprehensive Plan will be completed on February 5, 2013 (see attached excerpt).
We must attract more citizens, businesses and industries, but more importantly we need to appreciate and keep the citizens, businesses and industries that we already have. The Comprehensive Plan will be our compass and road map for the wise use of our resources to grow Morgantown. This growth will always include community input. The Comprehensive Plan is a long term plan for the growth and needs of Morgantown and will direct future Mayors and Councils as well as those currently in office. Did I mention that the Comprehensive Plan is IMPORTANT!! The recent census shows that Morgantown lost 150 citizens between the years 2000 – 2010. We must turn this around. “LET’S GROW!”
Ryleigh, Ella and Evan would say (if they could talk) “Vote for Grandpa - #8 – on your ballot!
6. What role, if any, do you feel technology has in the future of Morgantown/Butler County? (High speed internet, 3G cellular service, virtual presence of our city/county etc.)
Technology will help attract and keep industry. Technology will help the police department with their work to keep the public safe through better security systems. Technology will reduce future costs to the city by increasing efficiency. There are goals and objectives in the Comprehensive Plan under the Infrastructure element which address the needs and implementation of technology in Morgantown.