PRINCETON — Preparations are being made in the Princeton City Clerk’s office for the upcoming City election set for Tuesday, June 4, 2019. The three At-Large City Council seats will be in contention as the current terms come to an end on June 30, 2019, for Council Members David E. Graham, Dewey W. Russell and James V. Hill.

Candidate filing, by petition, will begin February 1, 2019, and continue through April 1, 2019. Nominating petitions and candidates’ information packets for those who plan to run for City Council may be obtained from the Princeton City Clerk’s office, 800 Bee Street, beginning on the 1st day of February, 2019.

Candidates must meet the basic eligibility requirements set forth by the WV Supreme Court of Appeals and the Princeton City Charter by being at least eighteen years of age and a year-long resident of the City of Princeton by the beginning of the new term of office on July 1, 2019. Additionally, electors who sign a candidate’s nominating petition must be registered voters and residents of the City of Princeton or their signatures will be deemed inappropriate and not counted in the nominating process. The At-Large candidates for Princeton City Council must obtain at least fifty (50) valid signatures from qualified City electors (voters) on their nominating petitions.

Princeton residents not already registered to vote may do so at the Voter Registration Office in the Mercer County Courthouse until close of business on May 14, 2019. Any registration made after the May 14th deadline will not be included in the voter rolls in time for the City of Princeton’s election on June 4th. Voters who were required to vote a provisional ballot during the last City election should make inquiry at the Mercer County Courthouse, Voter Registration Office, to ensure any problem has been corrected.

Applications for absentee voting may be obtained from the Princeton City Clerk at the Municipal Building, 800 Bee Street. Early voting in-person will be conducted at the new Municipal Building during regular business hours from Wednesday, May 22nd to Saturday, June 1st, 2019, including the Saturdays of May 25th and June 1st.

As the City of Princeton continues to experience significant economic growth and revitalization, residents have an excellent opportunity to contribute to the future of Princeton by exercising their right to vote on June 4, 2019.

Graham, who is seeking his second four-year term on Council, said, “I think we as incumbents owe it to the citizens ofPrinceton to make known, as well as clarify out positions on various topics that affect our community.” He went on to say, “As Mayor for the last 18 months, I have been fortunate to have a lot of interaction with all the departments and I must say, they are each dedicated hard workers and do not get the credit they deserve.”

His goals in the upcoming year include getting the new City hall fully built out and occupied, and the current property sold to new owner as quickly as possible. “When the facility, including the athletic fields and an Aquatics Center is fully developed we will have the premier Governmental/Sports Complex in the region.”

Graham also expressed concerns regarding the flooding on Rogers Street and expressed his happiness regarding the influx of new businesses throughout the city especially the downtown area and along Thorn Street.

Graham brought up the question of annexation as well stating, “One way we could grow our city is annexation, we have had some success in the past, but not on a large scale. The typical threshold that opens the door for large growth is 10,000; our present population is 7,000, which limits the availability of funding. It is considerably easier to annex now, the law has been revised to a simple majority rather than 60 percent.” He went on to say, “There remains a great deal of negative misinformation that we need to overcome.”

Dewey Russell, who is running for his seventh term, said, “I plan to run again. It’s very important we stay together as a council with the new city offices and other initiatives.”Russell praised the work of City Manager Mike Webb and Assistant City Manager/City Clerk Ken Clay along with all the other city employees in their various departments.

“We’ve got to focus on Stafford Drive and Rogers Street. Lori McKinney and Robert Blankenship have done wonderful work revitalizing Mercer Street and (Vice Mayor) Tim Ealy and others have developed the cruising nights as a way to show off downtown,” he said.

Russell added, “We see the work to be done on Rogers Street as important, not only for the drainage control but as a tool for economic development. We also should address the need to grow the city’s population through annexation.”

James Hill, who is seeking his second term, echoed Graham and Russell in many of their goals if re-elected and added, “I want to push for recreational facilities at the Dean Company complex to give our kids a structured place to be so that they can avoid using drugs.”

In a joint effort between the Princeton Rescue Squad, the Princeton Police Department and the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department, Hill said the three agencies had developed a Quick Response Team to give those who have overdosed and recovered a second chance through counseling and treatment.

He said, “I’m really proud to be a part of a city and city government which addresses their problems and issues in a positive way.”

— Contact Jeff Harvey at delimartman@yahoo.com.