CENTERVILLE -- First-term Mayor John Harley announced Thursday he is running for re-election.
He said promoting economic development will be one of his biggest priorities if he is returned to office in November. He cited in particular the North Houston Lake Boulevard area, where he said there are many vacant properties zoned commercial.
He said he has enjoyed his first term.
“It’s been awesome and a great opportunity,” he said.
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He emphasized regional cooperation and said the city works well together with Houston County, other cities in the county, and even governments outside the county to resolve mutual issues and promote growth.
Harley is a licensed auctioneer and an Air Force retiree.
He formerly served as inspector general at Robins Air Force Base. While he has been mayor, he said he has attended every event at Robins to which he has been invited, except one when he had a prior engagement out of town.
He also said he has only missed one council meeting, and that was recently when he attended a farewell dinner for Col. Mitchel Butikofer, the outgoing 78th Air Base Wing commander.
Harley formerly served for two years as city administrator in Centerville. He first ran for mayor in 2005 and lost to Harold “Bubba” Edwards, but he ran again in 2009 and defeated Edwards.
He said one of his biggest accomplishments in his first term was working with the county on completion of the Margie Drive extension, which he said had been stalled by issues such as right of way acquisition. Although it was a relatively minor part of the special purpose local option sales tax, he said completing it was a big deal for Centerville.
“It really opened up that whole commercial area,” he said.
He said one of the most important things the community in general can do to support Robins Air Force Base is creating an alternative entrance on the north or south end for trucks.
“It really needs to be done,” he said. “That’s probably one of the most critical things out there right now.”
Harley made the announcement in front of City Hall before about 20 supporters. He started the news conference precisely at 2 p.m. as advertised and noted he has started every council meeting on time except one, which was about a minute late.
“And I didn’t like that,” he said.
He said he was not aware of anyone planning to run against him.