Caraway mayoral hopefuls gather for forum
Five Caraway residents have announced their bid for the city's mayor. The candidates are Barry Riley, Joe South, Bill Davenport, Clyde Wood and incumbent Danny Dunigan.
The Caraway Lions Club sponsored a mayor's forum at Riverside Junior High School's auditorium Monday, June 10.
Each candidate talked for 10 minutes and then a question and answer session followed.
Lions Club President Harold Browning opened the forum and introduced the candidates.
Barry Riley was the first candidate to speak. He said that he had been with the Caraway Fire Department for 10 years and had spent nine years with the ambulance service.
"I usually work behind the scenes," Riley said. "I helped get a new fire truck and a new rescue truck. I want to move out in front and work to try to get more people to move to Caraway.
"Ball tournaments are a good way to get people to come to our town. The more money we have coming in, the bigger our growth. As mayor, I will do everything I can to help this town grow," Riley added.
Joe South told the audience that he was aware of friction between different organizations in the city.
"My number one priority will be to direct those organizations in working for the same purpose, the City of Caraway," South said.
He said that he felt that the city is ready to grow and he would like to be mayor in order to participate in the city's growth.
"I see our city diminishing with a lot of houses for sale. As your mayor, if elected, I will be there for you. If you have a problem, I may not be able to solve it, but I will listen and we will work through it together," South said.
He added that he wanted to give back to the place where he was raised.
Bill Davenport explained that he had ideas about how the mayor's office should be run.
"I have served several years on the city council. I have seen things I agree with and some I don't," Davenport said.
Davenport has also served several years on the park commission. Important issues to Davenport include the streets, continuing to have a good, strong police department to deter drugs and crime and to replace the old water lines.
"We can not replace the water lines at one time. It would cost too much. We will have to start a program to replace the lines a little at a time," Davenport said.
"An open door policy is what the citizens of this town need. I promise you I will have that policy, and we will sit down and work through any problem. I will give you a full day's work whether I'm here or not," Davenport said.
Clyde Wood told the audience that his idea of growth was different from the other candidates. He said he would like to see a subdivision that people could afford to buy a lot for a small amount and build a house.
"We are a bedroom community where no big industry will make it to Caraway. Therefore, we need population," Wood said.
Wood continued by stating that the city needed to maintain the good police department and fire department that they now have.
"We need to clean up this town and light it up," Wood said.
He said the streets were too dark for security and the loud boom boxes should be prohibited from bedtime to daylight.
"I believe yesterday has passed and tomorrow is our future. We need to have community pride and clean up our town. The unkept property in this town needs to be cleaned up," Wood said.
He said that he would like to see a volunteer citizens group having special projects going during the summer months to help promote pride.
Incumbent Danny Dunigan told the audience that he had taught school for 33 years, served the past eight years as mayor of Caraway and served as Black Oak's mayor for four years.
"I was the youngest mayor in the state of Arkansas," Dunigan said.
He noted that he agreed with most of what the candidates said, but added, "You can't do these things without money."
He explained that the city runs on a budget. "In Nov., 2001, the state budget was cut $226 million, and this trickles down to us," Dunigan said.
He said the city needed an infrastructure for new housing, but the city had never been in a position to do this because of the water and sewer.
"Our growth won't be there without an infrastructure. The city has the land available. We have applied for many grants to help complete the sewer west and north of the city. We are one of six cities in the state to receive a grant. The north part of the city qualified for 100 percent, but the west didn't qualify," Dunigan said.
Dunigan said that the city needed more parks and a new ambulance but had great employees.
"I am available 24/7. If I'm out of town, they can call me on the phone to take care of any problem, and I will do it. I'm available at all times," he explained.
Dunigan closed by saying that he didn't do everything everyone likes and he certainly didn't always please himself.
"We have laws that govern what we do. I don't always like what I do, but the law says we have to do things a certain way," he noted.