Citing the achievements of the past four years, City of Union Mayor Harold Thompson says he will seek a second term in office.
In announcing his reelection bid Friday morning, Thompson, who has been mayor since 2007, thanked the people of Union for giving him the opportunity to serve them in that office.
“First off all, let me take this opportunity to say thank you to all of our citizens who placed their confidence in me as mayor of this great city for the last 58 months,” Thompson said. “I am humbled by the experience and forever grateful for the opportunity, and I have never taken it for granted. I am often reminded that ‘to whom much is given, much is expected.’”
Like the rest of the country, Union has faced economic difficulties during the last few years, but Thompson said much has been accomplished during that time to position the city to take advantage of an improving economy.
“What a great city we live in,” Thompson said. “Though the last few years have been economically challenging, the good news is that job growth is on the rise. Our economic development team led by our economic development director Andrena Powell-Baker has made great strides in making sure that Union does everything it can to attract new businesses and industry into our area.
“Building permits are up signaling growth in that particular area, and CDBG (Community Development Block Grants) has exceeded $2 million in the last three years,” he said. “We continue to improve our utilities infrastructure — water, gas, electric, and sewer. Street paving and sidewalks continue to be and will always be an issue that has top priority, but due to budget restraints, we can only do so many at a time.”
Even as the city has worked to prepare to attract and support economic development, Thompson said programs have been implemented to save residents money.
“We have partnered with the National League of Cities to participate in three Enterprise Programs that have proven to be money savers for our citizens who participate in these programs on a voluntary basis,” Thompson said. “There’s the prescription drug program in which our citizens can get up to 20 percent off of medication at participating pharmacies. The sewer line warranty program is a 24-hour-a-day program where if you have a problem with your line coming from your house to the city connection point the line is repaired or replaced. This is also a voluntary program for $59 a month. The water line warranty program works the same.”
Thompson said a special link has been added to the municipal website where the city and special attractions are highlighted and area businesses will have the opportunity to advertise.
An emphasis on enhanced professionalism on the part city staff and the enforcement and updating of municipal statutes have also been features of Thompson’s tenure as mayor.
“We continue to enforce city building codes and ordinances and zoning code as described by state law,” Thompson said. “We stress training, updating certifications and attending seminars for a lot of our employees in certain areas of expertise. A lot of training is available through the Municipal Association and we advise all our staff and council to take advantage of any or all classes available.
City staff continues to update city codes and ordinances,” he said. “We have an updated purchasing manual in place, and we have also updated our animal control ordinance which will be up for public review before it is voted on by city council and made law.”
Another achievement of the past four years has been the development of the city’s mission statement.
“We have written what I believe is the city’s first mission statement with four core values — accountability, honesty, respect, teamwork,” Thompson said. “We believe these are the values that measure the responsibilities owed our citizens.”
The planned community events center is another project Thompson aid the city is pursuing.
“We fully support the committee I formed to make the events center a reality,” Thompson said. “This was a long-range plan that most of our citizens showed support for during the Charrette process performed a few years ago. I remain fully committed to seeing this building built using monies from the insurance settlement, and operated with funds coming from revenue generated from rentals and performances, and hospitality and accommodations tax money which by state law is basically used for projects such as this.”
If reelected, Thompson said he will also continue the “open door policy where any citizen or employee cam come in and suggest ideas and voice concerns on any issue.”
Thompson said he believes Union has a bright future and urged the public to help make that future a reality.
“Our city has a bright future ahead of it,” Thompson said. “It will take all of us working together as public officials and citizens to make sure we approach the future in a positive and innovative manner. All of us should be ambassadors for Union and realize all the positive things we have going for us and help build upon them. To me Union is more than just a great place to live, it’s home.
“I plan to continue to travel the path of integrity, and choose ethics over convenience and truth over popularity,” he said.