Alexander looks to enliven council


Curt Alexander

By Thomas Wilson
star staff
twilson@starhq.com

  Curt Alexander feels fresh perspectives are just what the Elizabethton City Council needs to lead the city forward during changing times in the coming years.
  "I think we need some different viewpoints," Alexander said. "I think a little different, and that's not a bad thing."
  Alexander, 124 Messimer Lane, is running for one of three at large seats to the Elizabethton City Council in the Nov. 2 city election.
  A lifelong resident of Elizabethton, Alexander graduated from Elizabethton High School in 1990. He earned an undergraduate degree in accounting and a master's of business administration from East Tennessee State University.
  Alexander said he has a strong desire to move Elizabethton in a progressive direction. He said the city was enjoying several commercial and retail developments, but still needed larger employers to accommodate the city and county work force.
  "We have some things coming in," said Alexander, who is making his first run for public office, "but those are not the type of industrial jobs that we need."
  Alexander also said he would work to maintain the city's commitment to the city school system and continue upgrades to the city's water system. He said the city's impressive budget management of recent years must continue to attract employers and citizens looking for a high quality of life in a community.
  "We have to make people want to live here," said Alexander. "You have to get the most for your tax dollars and manage that to the best of your ability."
  The council recently approved a bid of $535,800 with a $107,000 contingency to demolish the old Carter County Memorial Hospital building. Alexander said that given the city's costs for demolition, back taxes paid, and lost revenue, the city needed a consorted effort from planning and economic officials to best develop the land.
  "We have to get together with the planning commission and economic development commission and figure out what to do with this property," said Alexander. "We have to recover at least some amount of money."
  The city election ballot includes a referendum asking Elizabethton citizens whether they want liquor-by-the-drink legalized for sale in the city. Alexander declined to comment on whether he felt the measure would pass, but noted the service of mixed drinks was already present in Elizabethton at private clubs. He also said the legality of liquor-by-the-drink in surrounding cities drew restaurant patrons from Elizabethton and Carter County.
  "Whether or not we like it in Carter County, we have liquor-by-the-drink at the Elks (Club), Moose, and Lakeshore Marina," he said. "We've got it in a 10-minute drive to Johnson City."
  Alexander said expanding commercial activity also meant the city government would face decisions about future land use. He said land use went to quality of life for citizens protecting the private property and businesses looking to open their doors in the city.
  "That is one of the best problems to have," Alexander said of community growth. "You want to keep the residential areas sound, but we have to be pro-business."
  The council voted 4-3 in July 2003 approving an ordinance that allows the seasonal sale of fireworks within city limits during a two-week period through the Fourth of July and New Year's Day holidays. The shooting of fireworks remains illegal within city limits.
  Alexander said the issue centered on the city enforcing the regulations set forth in the seasonal sales ordinance. He said he would seek the input of citizens before initiating any action on the fireworks ordinance.
  "I don't think we should deprive everyone of fireworks," Alexander said. "We are representatives of the citizens; my personal opinion should have nothing to do with the way I vote."
  Alexander is employed with Edward Jones Investment office as an investment representative. He also serves as an adjunct faculty instructor in accounting, finance, and statistics at ETSU. He is a board member of the Elizabethton-Carter County Chamber of Commerce.
  Alexander and his wife, Claudia, have two children, Justin and Taylor. They are active members of First Baptist Church where he serves as a trustee.
  Alexander said the city was facing upcoming economic and social changes that required forward-thinking council leadership. He said a proactive perspective on the council could carry the city a long way in the future.
  "There are going to be significant decisions to be made," he said, "and you want the right people to make those decisions."