Three vie for Williamstown mayor seat

WILLIAMSTOWN -The upcoming election for mayor of Williamstown gives voters a choice among three candidates.

While longtime Mayor Jean Ford, who has held the city’s head position for 17 years, hopes to continue for at least two more years with a ninth term, she has competition from two candidates not affiliated with political parties.

The opponents are first-time candidate Loren Cullum, owner of Carwrex Collision Center in Williamstown, and David Ward, a longtime resident who lost a bid for mayor in 2006 and another for a city council seat in 2010.

“I ran because I didn’t know if Jean (Ford) or anyone else was going to,” said Ward. “So I just thought I would go ahead and run.”

Cullum said he decided to run to make some changes within the city for the betterment of the community.

“The first thing I will do, if elected, is to go around and have a good look at the storm water drains and get those fixed,” Cullum said. “As mayor, that is one of the things that needs to be looked at; we need to have somebody who is willing to get in and get things done.”

Cullum said his second most important issue is the lack of access to the city’s sewer system in the eastern area of Williamstown.

“I am concerned about the water and sewer access because this is the area where the baseball and soccer fields are and they can’t do much in the way of concessions without running water,” he said. “I would love to bring more businesses into this part of the city, but can’t without proper water and sewer hookups.”

While Cullum believes improperly working storm drains and the lack of access to the city’s sewer system are pressing matters, Ward said he believes other issues are the most important things to address.

Ward said he would work with the city’s water treatment plant in fixing the hard water issue.

He also said he would be interested in possible new leadership in the police force.

“Everybody knows about how hard the water is, so that needs to be fixed,” he said.

Ford has previously stated her areas of focus for the next two years would be construction of both a major road project that would put a roundabout at West Virginia 31, Interstate 77 and West Virginia 14, as well as sidewalks throughout the city.

“People have complained about dangerous traffic conditions for years and the Division of Highways believes the roundabout is the best solution,” Ford said.

The position of mayor of Williamstown is for two-year terms while city council members serve four-year terms.

The two city council seats on this election’s ballot are unopposed with incumbents Ron Erb and Marty Seufer the only people to have filed.

Erb has served on council for 14 years while Seufer has served for 25 years.

The seats held by council members Gene Duncan and Barbara Lewis will be up for election in 2016.