By Trent Moore
The Cullman Times
Citizens gave a vote of confidence to the direction of the City of Cullman earlier this year by deciding to bring back the entire council and mayor for another four-year term, and the new era officially began this week.
The entire council and Cullman Mayor Max Townson were sworn in Monday night, keeping the administration of the past four years intact until 2016.
Townson was the only candidate opposed this year, and he retained his seat outright with 61 percent of the vote, beating out three challengers along the way. No council members were opposed.
After spending the past four years as council president, council members elected to reappoint Garlan Gudger, Jr. back to the position for the new term. President pro-tem Jenny Folsom was also reappointed to her post.
The returning council includes Police Committee Chair Andy Page, Fire Committee Chair Gudger, Jr., Sanitation Committee Chair Johnny Cook, Street Committee Chair Clint Hollingsworth and Finance Committee Chair Folsom.
Several officials were joined by their families Monday for the swearing in ceremonies, which were followed by a short reception for supporters.
“I’ve enjoyed the last four years and I can’t tell you how much of an honor it has been to serve with this council, because we’re all on the same page and working for Cullman,” Townson said. “We’re striving everyday to make Cullman a great place to live, work, worship and play. I thank the council for their dedication to continue serving the community and look forward to four more years.”
Over the past four years the city has launched several projects, most notably the Rock the South concert that attracted approximately 15,000 to the area. The council also created and passed incentive programs for downtown rebuilding in the wake of the April 2011 tornadoes, which have helped several business owners return in recent months.
Gudger credited the success of the past four years to the work of city employees, many of which weathered a wage freeze in 2008 when the economy turned down.
“We appreciate everyone’s support, but the people who really make this city run are the city employees, with how much they put in,” he said. “We wouldn’t have the city we do without those people.”
Trent Moore can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or by telephone at 734-2131, ext. 220.