|Terrytown mayor, council candidates speak issues|
|October 30, 2014 Jerry Purvis|
Candidates for Terrytown mayor and city council were at the Lied Scottsbluff Public Library on Oct. 21 to discuss the challenges the city is facing in the future.
Jerry Green is running for his third term on the council in Ward II. He’s being challenged by newcomer Brian Nielsen.
Brian Armstrong is running unopposed for a term as council member in Ward I. Brad Van Pelt, the incumbent, had earlier said he was moving from Terrytown and would not appear on the ballot.
For mayor, two-term incumbent Kent Greenwalt is being challenged by Ward I incumbent council member Chris Perales, who is in the second year of his first term.
“I went to some meetings of the Terrytown council, but no one seemed to be interested in what the council was doing,” Green said. “We still don’t get people attending our meetings. But I want to help out with what I can do. I enjoy working with my fellow council members.”
Green’s challenger, Brian Nielsen, was born and raised in the valley. He’s an Iraq war veteran and has lived in Terrytown for the past six years. This is his first time to run for public office.
“Cleaner neighborhoods are one of my concerns,” he said. “The ditch through Terrytown is also a concern because I see a lot of children playing there when it’s full.”
He said that from talking with his neighbors, he found a lot of opposition among fixed-income residents to the city installing water meters on residences because of the expense of upkeep for homeowners.
Incumbent Mayor Kent Greenwalt was first elected as board chairman eight years ago, when Terrytown was still a village. He’s usually among the volunteer help when parts of town need to be cleaned up, including the removal of several dead trees surrounding Terry’s Lake.
Greenwalt said one of the city’s biggest upcoming budget items is the water project, which includes a new water tower, metering of all businesses and residences and purchasing water from either Gering or Scottsbluff.
Perales said he got involved after his unincorporated part of Terrytown was annexed into the village and the population grew to qualify it for second-class city status.
“Residents in our area thought we needed representation on the council, so I ran two years ago,” he said. “I agree with Kent the water project is something we have to get done and we work well together. We don’t have too many differences.”
Greenwalt pointed out that Terrytown is the only city or village in the county that doesn’t currently meter its water. But it’s something they have to do as part of the state mandated upgrades to the water system.
“We’re at a point where we don’t have a lot of choices,” Green said. “We had to close one of our wells because of high arsenic levels, so we don’t have a backup for the one well we’re using. And unless we meter the water, we can’t get funding to make these upgrades.”
All the candidates agreed the city needs to continue keeping a close watch on its budget to keep spending in check. The current water project, mandated by the state, will cost the city in the neighborhood of $4.5 million.
“We lowered the tax asking for this current budget,” Perales said. “We’re trying to keep the taxes down as much as possible.”
Armstrong, running unopposed in Ward I, has eight years of experience on the board when Terrytown was still a village. He’s the maintenance manager for the trailer park in Terrytown and works with the city maintenance crew when infrastructure problems come up.
He said he’s looking forward to helping Terrytown in any way he can to improve its services and grow as a community.