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franklin county times

Bell set to begin term as Phil Campbell mayor

PHIL CAMPBELL – Phil Campbell mayor-elect Steve Bell has used the last couple of months since he was elected to familiarize himself with the town’s business and what exactly he’ll need to do once he officially takes office this coming week.
Bell said outgoing mayor Jerry Mays and the current council already have many plans and policies in place that seem to be working for the city, so major changes won’t be necessary.
“Really, the citizens of Phil Campbell will just see a lot of the same activities taking place that were taking place before, because I’ll be assuming the role of managing what’s already in place,” Bell said.
“Obviously, the biggest thing the town is still having to deal with is the recovery from the tornado, and the current leadership has done an excellent job in that area.
“I’ve been coming to the council meetings and sitting in on their discussions to get me up to speed on where they stand on several issues, and we’ll just continue to move forward from where we are now.”
Stepping into the top leadership role in a town recovering from a major disaster may not seem like the ideal situation for most, but Bell said he was more than willing to take on the job.
“Even though I’m not originally from here, Phil Campbell is home,” he said. “My wife is from here and I’ve been here almost 30 years, so I just want to do what I can to make sure the town stays on the right track and gets back to where we need to be.
“When you care about a place like that, you don’t want to see it fall by the wayside. You want to get in there, roll up your sleeves, and do all you can to help.”
Bell said even though there aren’t any major problems with the way the town of Phil Campbell is being run, there is always room for improvement, which is what he plans to strive for during his administration.
“No matter how good something may be, you can always make it better,” he said. “There are definitely some issues that we need to address such as the problem of maintaining the vacant lots we see scattered throughout the town.”
Bell said the vacant lots were something many citizens seemed to be concerned about when he talked with them during his campaign this summer.
“We have a lot of people who are rebuilding and cleaning up their property, but we also have a lot of absentee property owners who are letting their lots grow up because they either moved away or simply aren’t here to maintain them.
“This presents a problem because the lots become an eyesore in a town that’s trying to rebuild and come back stronger and more beautiful than before.
“Issues like this are just things that the new administration will have to address so we can continue to make improvements to our town.”
Bell said he was confident in the new administration, especially since most of them are returning council members.
“All the council members who ran for re-election were elected, so we have an experienced council who knows what they are doing,” Bell said.
“The only ones who are new are myself and Lynn Landers who took the spot of longtime council member Dewey Cooper, who recently passed away.
“We all have a good working relationship with one another and I look forward to working with them on the many projects that will benefit our citizens in the coming years.”
And even though he is confident in the town’s leadership, Bell said he hopes to have the active participation of Phil Campbell residents as well in the town’s plans and activities.
“I welcome the residents’ involvement and hope they are as excited about our future as I am,” Bell said.
“We have business moving into our industrial park, construction will begin soon on our new high school, the public housing rebuild is near completion, many homes have been rebuilt and are being rebuilt – If it wasn’t for the people of this town, most of this progress wouldn’t be taking place, so I definitely encourage their continued involvement in what we have going on.
“We’re building back strong and I’m excited to see what the next few years hold for the town of Phil Campbell.”