Residents in three Lauderdale County municipalities — Waterloo, St. Florian and Rogersville — still have some work to do before their new town councils are seated for the next four years.
Three council seats are still undecided in Rogersville, one council position remains open in St. Florian and the mayor’s seat is still under decided in Waterloo.
The races will be settled in runoff elections Tuesday, with polls opening at 7 a.m. and closing at 7 p.m. for voters living in those cities. Voting will take place at the senior citizens center in all three municipalities.
Residents will chose between two former mayors — Mary Jenelee Higgins and Jerry McIntyre — to lead the town for the next four years.
McIntyre led voting in the Aug. 28 election, getting 21 votes to Higgins’ 19. Current Waterloo Mayor Joan Farneman was third, two votes behind.
McIntyre said getting a community storm shelter and developing a marina on Second Creek in Waterloo are two issues he is pushing.
“We need a storm shelter to give our citizens a place to go in case of severe weather,” said McIntyre, who was elected in 2004 and served one term. “We just don’t have anywhere for people to go.”
He said some type of marina or large pier for boats to dock would help bring people into Waterloo, which he said would create more revenue for the town.
Higgins, who finished a mayoral term in 1999-2000, said the town needs to take care of what it already has to offer.
“We’re not looking to grow a lot,” she said. “We’re a small town and that’s what attracts people to Waterloo. They come here and want to live here because of what we have. It’s a quiet place and a clean place away from the hustle and bustle of larger areas.
“They come to enjoy our natural resources. We have a good school, senior center, some small business that we need to work with, and maybe we should add a couple of businesses. We need to keep things simple and take care of what we already have.”
Sandy Evers and Carmen Mile agree there is potential for growth in St. Florian.
“The growth needs to be unified,” said Evers, who collected 71 votes in the August election for the Town Council, Place 1 seat. “I want us to grow, but maintain our country atmosphere and small-town quietness.”
Miles, who finished with 58 votes in August, said the town can grow without losing that small-town uniqueness.
She said one issue that must be addressed before growth can happen is the traffic situation in St. Florian.
“It’s horrible, and I’m afraid it’s going to become a deterrent to people coming through town; that’s the last thing we want to happen,” she said.
Thousands of cars travel through St. Florian each day on Lauderdale 47, between U.S. 43 near Greenhill and Cox Creek Parkway in Florence.
Plus, Church Road which intersects Lauderdale 47 and Alabama 17, is a direct access to the Florence-Lauderdale Industrial Park, which creates more congestion.
Both candidates say they will be open to suggestions on how to correct the situation.
Three Town Council seats — Place 1, Place 2 and Place 3 — are at stake in Rogersville.
Only five votes separated Jim Landers and Bill Maloney in the August election, with Landers finishing ahead with 158. David Roach was third with 122 votes.
Landers said the town needs to be proactive in recruiting business and industry.
“We can’t just wait for (new businesses and industry) to come to us,” he said.
He said he wants to do more for the town’s younger generation, possibly adding a skate park.
“Not all kids want to play baseball and softball,” he said. “We need to have some recreational alternatives for them. I think we can secured grant money for this type of project.”
With Rogersville on U.S. 72, between Florence and Huntsville, Maloney said growth is coming and the town has to be prepared.
“We have to realize the potential for growth, and we need to actively plan for our future and for that growth,” he said. “The town is not going to grow without planning.
“We have to be able to keep our proud heritage. Growth is going to come, and we can either embrace it or get overwhelmed by it.”
Incumbent Councilman Cory Garrett finished at the top of a four-man race in August with 141 votes, just nine votes ahead of 19-year-old political newcomer Colby Tucker.
Garrett said one of his objectives is to provide activities for young residents.
“I have two small children, and I want Rogersville to be a place they can grow up in and call home,” Garrett said. “We have activities throughout the year for the adults of the town. We need to do more for our younger people.”
He said a splash pad in Rogersville is a possibility.
Tucker said in high school he often heard students talk about graduating and leaving Rogersville. He wants to see that trend reversed.
“I want them to want to stay here and other people to move here and raise their families here,” he said. “To do that, we have to work together as a community. We have to work to promote our town, our tourism and take advantage of what (Joe Wheeler) State Park has to offer.”
Anita S. Roberson said she wants to secure grant money for repairs on town streets.
“I’d like to add some more tennis courts for recreation,” said Roberson, who finished with 206 votes in August. Her runoff opponent Danny L. Jones collected 169 votes.
“I want to find ways to reach our young people, something I don’t think we‘re doing right now,” Roberson said.
Jones said he would like to see the town become more aggressive in recruiting business, industry and promoting tourism.
“I’d like to see us advertising our town in regional and national (tourism) publicans to let people know what we have to offer,” he said. “We do a good job of promoting our downtown area, but we need promote the town as a whole.”
Jones agrees with Roberson that more needs to be done for the town’s young people and both agree the town needs a community center.
Tom Smith can be reached at 256-740-5757 or tom.smith@TimesDaily.com.