Incumbents running on records in Elizabeth
The incumbents are running on their records in the three races in the Town of Elizabeth this fall.
Veteran town clerk-treasurer and former town manager Hugh Burns is being challenged by newcomer Brittany Fredericks-Haas, and two seats are up for grabs on the three-person town council. In the West District, long-time trustee Walter (Bill) Miller is challenging incumbent Mike W. Sampson. For the at-large seat, incumbent Willard M. Haas faces write-in candidate Marion B. (Brad) Evans and Jason Poe.
In the East District, incumbent Christopher A. Fetz Sr. is unopposed.
Burns, 50, is campaigning hard. He will knock on doors and pass out three-ring notebooks that detail his activities the last eight years to all of Elizabeth’s 110 registered voters. He said the notebook will reflect ‘a most unbelievable list of accomplishments’ that go beyond his duties as clerk-treasurer.
He said the clerk-treasurer’s job, which pays $475 a year, has changed drastically the last 10 years, particularly in the amount of money the clerk-treasurer is responsible for. Burns said he managed and wrote checks for $4 million in 2001 and 2002, when Caesars’ water system improvement money flowed to the town.
‘I’m the only candidate that has an economic plan for the next four years,’ he said. It’s outlined in his campaign literature.
Burns is a union pipefitter who studied at UK and U of L two years and graduated from Ivy Tech in 1976. He graduated from South Central High School in 1971.
Burns said he has ‘tremendous ideals that I will be able to implement with or without the town council’s support, due to the fact that I will be a prudent caretaker of public funds.’
If he’s elected, on the first day of 2004 he will propose to give all residents free garbage pickup the next four years and, also, provide a list of adjacent property owners who want to be annexed. ‘It will increase the town’s size by 35 percent,’ he said.
Brittany Fredericks-Haas, 28, is a wife, mother, and the institutional review board secretary at Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services in New Albany. She said she wants to make a contribution to her community and believes she could do a good job as clerk-treasurer. ‘I’m a responsible person who can identify problems and delegate responsibility to people who know what to do or do the job myself.’ She said she has a ‘take-charge attitude.’
‘As a parent, I want my child to grow up in a trustworthy community with people who are concerned with the community. I could contribute to that, and be a responsible steward of the people’s money,’ she said.
Her brother-in-law, Willard Haas, is on the board and running for re-election (see below).
Fredericks-Haas graduated from South Central in 1993 and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication from the University of Louisville.
At the hospital, Fredericks-Haas gathers information for the board and keeps the minutes.
She helps with the AWANA (All Workers (of God) Are Not Ashamed) for children and youth at First Baptist Church, and writes a newsletter for her church, Presbyterian Church of the Covenant.
Bill Miller, 74, has lived in Elizabeth for half a century and owns Elizabeth Auto Parts at the four-way stop in town. The first time he joined the Elizabeth town board, in 1957, Dwight (Ike) Eisenhower was president of the United States. Miller’s been a trustee off and on ever since. He remembers when Elizabeth bought its first fire truck from Corydon almost 44 years ago. It cost $200.
Miller said he wants to be a trustee again because ‘people on the board are always gone. I’m here all the time. People come to me with questions, but I don’t have no authority. The trustees are absent, they work in town, and they’re not here during the day.’ He said he knows the history of the town and understands what has to be done with the town, the Rose Hill Cemetery and the water company. ‘I can help people out,’ he said.
Miller drove a truck for 38 years for Smith Transfer and hauled water for 35 years. He’s run a backhoe and now has a wrecker service, in addition to the auto parts store.
Michael W. Sampson, 38, has represented the West District for four years. He’s a 1984 graduate of South Central Junior-Senior High School and attended Ivy Tech. He’s a heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technician at Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville. He’s a leader with local Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, a trustee at Bethesda United Methodist and president of the men’s group.
Sampson said he’s glad there are so many candidates this year because it shows that a lot of people care about their community. ‘One of the biggest qualifiers for the office is that you have to care,’ he said.
Sampson said he’s running again because he and the other trustees want to finish some of their projects. For example, on Saturday, Oct. 25, there will be a meeting about getting more police protection for the town. He said his board improved the town’s water utility with a $150,000 upgrade of the distribution system with riverboat money. The town has a new $1.5 million water treatment plant and well field near the Ohio River, paid for by Caesars. The new Elizabeth Civic Center ($660,000) is finished. The board has put in new sidewalks, planted trees, and worked closely with the South Harrison Community Development Corp.
‘Elizabeth has a lot of potential. I want to contribute,’ Sampson said.
In the at-large race: Haas vs. Evans and Poe
Willard M. Haas, 31, agrees with Sampson. ‘We have made a lot of improvements in town, and it’s moving forward to a great degree,’ he said.
‘Making a contribution to my community is the least that I can do,’ Haas said. He said he’s not tooting his own horn, but he believes he’s been an effective trustee the last four years. ‘I’ve made an honest effort to do the best I can,’ he said.
The main issues in his race, Haas said, is ‘how we work and interact with people in the town.’ He said he thinks people appreciate what they have accomplished. They cleaned up the old Barnes Store mess, revived the fire department, built up the community center, removed the old derelict Presbyterian Church building, put up street signs, and tried to stay on top of maintenance. There are still drainage and paving repairs to do.
He said Caesars has helped the town tremendously.
‘It’s been a good experience, and I enjoy the challenge of the job.’
Haas has worked for the South Harrison Park Dept. (both maintenance and management), the county highway department, and driven a truck over the road. He now drives for Service Transport in Louisville and is a student at the Mid-America Mortuary College. He’s a 1991 South Central graduate.
Marion B. (Brad) Evans, 33, has lived in Elizabeth since 1988, since he was a senior at South Central. He said he’s seen the town ‘progress, fall back, progress and fall back. The town still isn’t on its feet, even with the boat coming in.
‘The townspeople should be involved. It’s time for petty fighting and the clashes to stop. They’re wasting their time on silly issues.’
He thinks the Rose Hill Cemetery is not being taken care of, due to poor oversight by the board.
‘I could do a better job. Willard is my neighbor, but what he’s doing isn’t in the best interests of the town, especially money-wise. They don’t think through what they’re doing.
‘I want to be an asset for the town, not a detriment.’
‘l’d love to see the riverboat money spent in a more useful way and have something to show for it. We’ve got sidewalks, but other than that, we haven’t got much to show for it. There’s a lot of silly money being spent, like landscaping at the town hall. To me, that was money wasted. And fruit-bearing trees downtown. People don’t want fruit-bearing trees on their sidewalks.’
Evans is a journeyman sheetmetal worker for Local 110 in Louisville. He graduated from South Central in 1988, served a four-year apprentice program, and has studied at IUS. He has an associate’s degree from the International Training Institute.
Evans was a trustee in the early 1990s when ‘there wasn’t enough money to pay for street lights,’ and he quit. ‘I’m wiser now,’ he said.
Candidate Jason Poe could not be reached for comment or biographical information.
Next week: the town hall races in Corydon, Palmyra and Lanesville.