Friday, November 19, 2010

TOP STORY > >Mayor runoffs down to wire

By joan mccoy
Leader staff writer

With only three days left before the runoff election, candidates in Cabot and Sherwood are working hard to get voters back to the polls.

Bill Cypert is in a runoff for mayor against former Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh.

In Sherwood, it’s Mayor Virginia Hillman trying to get a full four years  as the city’s chief, taking on 12-year city council veteran Alderman Sheila Sulcer.

Cypert says he is taking heat for talking about the city’s financial problems when Stumbaugh was in office as well as the poor relationship the former mayor had with many on the city council, in the business community and county and state officials.
Stumbaugh admitted vaguely to problems with his administration during a candidates forum last month, saying his confidence in some of his department heads may have been misplaced. But he has countered Cypert’s denunciation of his management skills with phone calls to voters saying he is running a clean campaign.

Cypert maintains that his conscience is clear. It would have been morally wrong not to remind voters that between 2003, and 2006, when Stumbaugh was mayor, the news accounts from Cabot were often about lawsuits against the city and dissention between the m
ayor and council members and the mayor and the Cabot Chamber of Commerce.
“We don’t need four more years of turmoil,” Cypert said.

Both candidates say they will focus on problems with traffic and drainage if elected. Stumbaugh, a former Little Rock police officer, says public safety also is a major concern.

Cypert says as the city grows, the fire and police departments will also need to grow, but the immediate issue is economic development. The population of the city has doubled over the past two decades, but there is no strategy for managing the growth or a plan for economic development. Developing a plan together with teamwork with the business community and county, state and national leaders is the key to attracting business and industry, he said.

Hillman is proud of her record as mayor since  winning a special election  three years ago. 

Hillman points out that in her tenure as mayor the city welcomed in Gravel Ridge, went to automated trash pickup and increased uniformed services.

She plans to reinstate the city’s street-overlay program and improve the parks system if re-elected.

Sulcer says she takes to heart the  concerns and values of all residents of Sherwood and she is pledging to control spending and not waste tax dollars. She has accused Hillman of fiscal irresponsibility.

Hillman has fired back that she has spent nothing that the council hasn’t approved.

Sulcer says she will also maintain an open-door policy and form a task force to help with city and ward problems.

Angie Armstrong Hoschouer, in a runoff against Richard Cannon for the Ward 3, Position 1 seat on the Cabot City Council, said Friday that she has not campaigned for more than a week. Her father, Alderman Tom Armstrong, who held that position, died Sunday after battling cancer for more than two years.

“Monday and Tuesday, I’ll set my emotions aside and I’ll be out there,” Hoschouer said.

Her message to voters is much like Cypert’s. Cabot is going to grow, she said. Her goal is to help it grow in the right direction through planning for traffic and parks and building relationships with county, state and national leaders.

Contacted late Friday, Can-non said his campaign is going well.

“I want to represent all the people. That’s my whole thing,” Cannon said. “I won’t represent any special interests. I just want to express the concerns of all the people to the board.”