Perry council incumbents all running for re-election

chwright@macon.comJune 28, 2013 

All three Perry City Council members up for re-election this year will seek another term, they have said.

Longterm Councilwoman Phyllis Bynum-Grace and newcomers Councilman Joe Posey and Councilman Randall Walker each said they would like to continue economic development in the city and improve the city’s financial stability.

Qualifying for council seats and the mayor’s post is in August. Mayor Jimmy Faircloth has said he will seek a second term. No challengers have said they’ll run for any of the positions.

District 1, Post 1: Phyllis Bynum-Grace

Madam Bynum-Grace, as she’s known around City Hall, has held the District 1, Post 1 seat since 1996. She said much of the work the city has accomplished in recent years is due to the chemistry on council.

“I keep seeing things that need to be done, and I think we’re doing great,” she said. “There’s a lot of things we can do now that we have (a council) that is more cohesive.”

Bynum-Grace, a nurse with Houston County schools, said it’s important the city draw in businesses, especially industries, to build both the community and the budget. The city is in a better financial situation than in years past but needs improvement, she said.

Bynum-Grace also said she has led the way for upgrades to the James E. Worrall Community Center, including Wi-Fi, and effective customer service at City Hall.

Also, Bynum-Grace has been seeking funds for a Med-Stop on the south end of the county near the Georgia National Fairgrounds and Agricenter, a musical playground and park, and a veterans memorial. She said the latter would be separate from the one Warner Robins has been discussing.

“I think each city needs one,” she said. “We need something so desperately to recognize our veterans in the area.”

She’s also hoping to expand the playground equipment for disabled children and build a pool for the Perry swim team, so swimmers don’t have to drive to Warner Robins.

District 2, Post 1: Joe Posey

Posey, 63, defeated incumbent Joe Kusar for the District 2, Post 1 seat in 2009. He said he, too, would like to continue the council’s work on economic growth.

“I feel our city is moving in the right direction,” he said, adding he’d like to “make Perry the jewel of Georgia.”

Posey is a retired educator of 36 years, first as a teacher and then a consultant.

He said the city has made great strides in the past few years, but there’s more to be done to try to land big industrial companies that would bolster the tax digest.

In March 2012, Posey led the creation of the James E. Worrall Foundation, named in memory of the late mayor. The foundation originally was set to have a three-tiered focus, but Posey said it was recently decided it will focus on recreation.

He said the foundation is looking at 26 acres of city-owned property on the edge of town near U.S. 341 to host a large park. As part of the project, a large walking trail network would connect the city’s other parks to the land.

“We’re not sure how much (money) we need,” Posey said. “At this point, we’re still looking at a preliminary rendering of what the park will be.”

District 3, Post 1: Randall Walker

Walker, 66, is also a first-term councilman, having won the District 3, Post 1 seat from incumbent Charles Lewis in 2009.

“I have enjoyed playing a part in promoting a renewed focus on economic development and look forward to working on programs to foster the economic health in all of Perry,” Walker wrote in a statement.

Walker stated his recent inability to find parking downtown is evidence of the revitalization of the business district. The historic area has been and will remain one of his primarily focuses, he said, while also duplicating that success in other corners of the city.

Walker, owner of consulting company Walker Energy Group, said he also has been a driving force in the city’s financial stability

“I want to have a larger contingency fund, a large construction fund,” he said. “Me focusing on that has carried us a long way.”

Besides improving the city’s fiscal position, Walker wants to finalize and implement a long range plan for the city and find adequate funding for public safety. The city is in need of at least six police officers and 12 firefighters. He said the city needs to examine types of revenue sources.

“We need to talk to the voters and engage them over the next six to 12 months and find out what works best for them.”

To contact writer Christina M. Wright, call 256-9685.

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