Three file for mayoral seat in Perryville: Incumbent Anne Sleet will not seek reelection
For some time, it looked like there might only be one mayoral candidate for Perryville this year. But when it came down to the 4 p.m. filing deadline on Tuesday, there were three.
Now, Brian Caldwell will face off against Paul Webb, a current council member, and Tim Simpson, a former council member.
Current Mayor Anne Sleet will not run again. She said she’s served three four-year terms and was on the council for about three years prior to that.
“I’m just ready to retire and go home, enjoy my family — my children, my grandchildren — and travel with them, and be able to be more involved in what they do,” Sleet said.
She said she’s given her all to the city, “and that was my first priority. I’ve taken care of what I wanted to do.”
Sleet said there are some great people in Perryville.
“They’ve been really good to me and I’ve tried to be good to them. I’ve felt obligated about the people who put me in office. I’ll miss the people, but I’ll still be around.”
Asked for a comment on the upcoming race for her seat, Sleet said she’d rather not say anything, after expressing some surprise about Webb filing.
“No comment about who is running,” Sleet said. “I will say I wish the best for the city, that the city will stay healthy and vibrant, and move forward.”
Interviews with the three candidates appear here in randomized order.
Paul Webb said residents should vote for him because, “I am passionate about Perryville’s success; I believe in this community and believe that by working together, we can address our common challenges.”
Webb has sat on the city council since 2016, but has been active with city government as a citizen since 2010, when he moved to Perryville. He grew up in Berea.
Webb also said it’s surprising that the public thinks the role of city council member is an easy one.
“The city is complex and faces multiple challenges with its budget, personnel and capital needs. And we all need to work together to move the city forward, while addressing citizens’ needs for public safety and good stewardship of our tax dollars.”
The way he would attempt to do this as mayor, Webb said, is by making a difference in the city’s comprehensive planning. He already has his “first action item” plan intact, he said.
“I would like to develop a five-year comprehensive plan with the input of all citizens through open forums or town hall meetings,” Webb said. He would invite anyone who wants to participate to sit down, look over all of the needs Perryville is facing and rate them based on most urgent to least important.
“I feel like there’s a disconnect between the council and the residents. My objective is to have orderly, open meetings just for the public to come in and give their insight into how they think we’re doing, what they feel the issues are we really need to be focusing on — to really have their input.”
Webb also touched on the water bill issue.
“One of the biggest things is how outraged our citizens are over the water bill, and that’s a prime example of why it’s very important we have quarterly meetings that the public comes to. Strictly, just open forums where there’s nothing on the agenda, just an avenue to hear the citizens express their concerns.”
Webb said he feels prepared to be a leader of the city. He has studied city law with the Kentucky League of Cities, he said.
“I have really grown in my knowledge of city government in my time on the council. I’m a hard worker who finishes projects and addresses the citizens’ concerns.”
Webb said, “We need to be the No. 1 tourist destination, while providing a great place for families to live, business to thrive and maintaining our historic character.”
Webb is an entrepreneur.
“I am not a politician, but a servant of my community,” Tim Simpson said. He moved to Perryville in 1992 and “fell in love with it.” He is originally from Boyle County, living there all of his life, he said.
“I’m a servant, being that I have served my community in many other ways,” Simpson said, including two terms on the Perryville City Council. “I see no other way but up, to better serve the people of Perryville.”
Simpson said if elected mayor, the first thing on his agenda “would be to look at the high water and sewer rate that is being imposed upon the citizens of Perryville and come up with a solution. Actually, I’m working on that now.”
Simpson said the people of Perryville deserve a mayor that is a “common-sense leader, a true servant of the people, and is working for the future of Perryville while saving its past, and that person is me.”
A cause Simpson is passionate about is the legalization of medical cannabis, something he said has resulted in him being a part of Secretary of State Alison Grimes’ medical marijuana task force. It was created in 2017 to focus on a legislative proposal to legalize marijuana for medicinal treatments.
He is also a member of the group Kentuckians for Medicinal Marijuana, a registered non-profit organization working to legalize medicinal use of cannabis in the state.
Simpson said he is an artist and “a caregiver of sorts.”
“I have the people’s best interest at heart.” That was Brian Caldwell’s answer to why Perryville residents should vote for him as the next mayor.
He’s in his 10th year as a council member. Originally from Forkland, Caldwell has lived in Boyle his whole life. “I went to Boyle Schools. When I came back from the Marine Corps, that’s when I came to Perryville, about 16 years ago.” He said he thinks people would be most surprised about how intricate the “everyday workings of even a city as small as Perryville is. I don’t think most people understand — it’s a small city, but you still have basically the same daily dealings even a larger city would have.”
Caldwell said he actually contemplated running during the last mayoral race. “But I knew that Anne and Scott Sexton were going to run then, and I thought, well, another four years on the council won’t hurt anything.”
Caldwell said his goals include revitalizing Perryville, to “get more people interested in having a small business, for example.” He would like to get the city back to what it was like back in the ‘80s.
“If you look at the census, we’ve gone downhill. We’ve had people leaving the city since the ‘80s, and it was more active back then. We need to get some businesses going, try to revitalize Perryville on a small scale.”
When asked how he would do this, Caldwell said, “I’ve always been a fan of Main Street Perryville. I like what they do. I know there’s been some friction between the city and (MSP), some underlying friction. Never really understood that. Both entities are trying to do a good thing but haven’t been able to — for some reason or another — work together enough to accomplish what both sides want to accomplish.” He said there is a partnership between MSP and the city and he doesn’t think that’s been capitalized on.
Caldwell said as for city council, “For the most part, the meetings are generally productive. But a lot of times, it seems there’s been more arguing than getting something accomplished. It’s almost been this side against that side, and that’s what I’m striving to do away with.”
He said tightening up the city functions during meetings would be for the betterment of not only the city, but the county. “Everything we do here in Perryville affects at least the west end of the county. We haven’t had as good of a relationship with Boyle County as we should have.”
Caldwell said another “hot topic is the sewer hype,” referring to the increased sewer charges on Perryville water bills. Danville increased sewer rates substantially, catching the city and its residents off guard.
“Most of the citizens, or a lot of them, think the City of Perryville has something to do with it. Unfortunately, we don’t,” he said. “We can voice our displeasure with it, and I don’t like it anymore than anybody else — in fact, I hate it.”
He said if elected mayor, “since I’ve been on the council, I kind of went about this like I would anything: Try to be full of integrity and do the right thing for the city, and bear in mind that anything you do is not affecting one person, it’s affecting everyone in the city.”
Caldwell owns his own construction company. “It’s basically just me, it’s pretty small.”