The first political hat has been tossed in the city of Big Spring, as Leonards Pharmacy Inc. owner and former economic development board member Larry McLellan filed last week to run for the mayoral seat on the city council.
McLellan will be vying for the seat currently held by one-term Mayor Tommy Duncan, who announced last week he would not be seeking re-election.
According to McLellan, his decision to run for the seat — which will be up for grabs in the May 11 contest — was influenced largely by his time working on the Big Spring Economic Development Corporation board of directors, where he served in several positions, including president.
“I had quite a few people approach me about filing my candidacy,” McLellan said. “After everything that happened with the EDC and the water and wastewater project, I felt like the city was really looking in the wrong direction when it comes to that type of funding.”
Big Spring voters approved a multi-million dollar overhaul of the city's water and wastewater facilities in a special election in May 2012, a move which will tie up nearly half of the Big Spring EDC budget for the next 20 years, a move McLellan and many other local residents and officials spoke-out against vehemently.
McLellan also led the charge against Duncan's efforts to abolish the existing EDC and replace it with a Type B corporation in hopes of gaining more funding for municipal infrastructure projects.
“I feel like the situation with the water and wastewater facilities was something that should have been addressed a long time ago,” he said. “And, we're about to run into a similar situation with the municipal landfill, as the old one will have to be closed and a new one opened. We have to plan ahead for the future. As the number of citizens continues to increase, so is the amount of waste produced by the community. We're going to have to be careful how we handle this.”
McLellan said the city's infrastructure needs to be more than just a topic of discussion for local politicians and representatives.
“We have to stop talking about the needs of our city's infrastructure and start doing something about it,” McLellan said firmly. “We've seen steady increases in sales tax revenues over the past few years and we need to begin using that money to address our problems, not pad our general fun. It's good to have a healthy general fund, however, there's work that needs to be done. It's time to take action.”
Also up for grabs in the May election will be the seat currently held by first-term District 5 Councilman Craig Olson, who announced recently he would not be seeking re-election.
According to Big Spring officials, political hopefuls can begin picking up filing packets from city hall — located at 310 Nolan St. — until March 1.
Filing for the election is being handled by the city of Big Spring Administration, while the election itself will once again be coordinated by the Howard County Elections Administration Office. For more information on filing to run in the May election, contact Big Spring City Hall at 432-264-2513.
Those looking to get a jump on the filing process can also download applications and necessary forms from the Texas Secretary of State website, located at www.sos.state.tx.us