ST. MARYS — Two political newcomers will be squaring off on Nov. 8 for the 1st Ward seat on St. Marys City Council.
Republican John Bubp, 52, 609 Farrington Court, and nonpartisan candidate John A. Burd Sr., 56, 115 Hickory St., are vying for the seat left vacant by the retirement of Mike Kleinhenz.
Bubp, who works at Honda, said he decided to get involved in city government after his children graduated from high school.
“I think the biggest issue is that I just want to be part of the decision making process in St. Marys,” Bubp said. “I like to be involved in a lot of different things and the city is an area I always wanted to be involved in.”
Downtown revitalization is an area Bubp said he would work on if elected to office. Improving the city’s electrical system, specifically power outages, is also an area the Republican said he planned to focus some of his attention on.
“As I look at it more, it’s really about trying to find money for the building owners to make their storefronts look a lot nicer,” Bubp said. “Some need work and I know it’s not cheap. I think a lot of them could use some grants or loans and I would be in favor of anything we could do to help bring some of those back to St. Marys.”
Bubp also praised city officials for being fiscally responsible during the economic downturn.
“I think the city does a lot of things well,” Bubp said, noting the $24 million carryover. “I don’t think we are fiscally irresponsible. I know some people feel we are, but I would definitely watch our spending and keep an eye to make sure it is spent to the good of the city and the people.”
Burd, who ran for the same seat two years ago, called into question some of the spending habits of city officials.
“We need to make some changes and I think I can be the guy to do it,” Burd said. “I have a hard time understanding why everyone else is having tough economic times and St. Marys is on a boom, spending money hand over fist. I’d like to see what I can do to curtail spending and bring some worthwhile jobs to the city.”
Burd noted he would like to explore the possibility of adding green energy firms to the city’s manufacturing portfolio.
“I would go out and hunt some of these companies in alternative energy, like what Celina is doing instead of sitting back and waiting,” Burd said. “I would go out and try to contact them and see if there is anything there.”
Burd also expressed a desire to examine the income tax and other utility rates paid by citizens.
“I’d like to see what can be done with the income tax here in St. Marys,” Burd said. “As well as some of the other things people are being charged for — the sewer rates, costs for calling an ambulance, it just goes on and on.”