Editor’s Note: This is a multipart story covering contested races in Bogata. Today is Part 2. Part 1 covered Place 3, while Part 3 will cover Place 5 candidates.
BOGATA — When early voting starts April 19, all of the seats on the Bogata City Council will be on the ballot. Only three of the races are contested.
“We have had a lot of people appointed to this council,” City Councilman Cecil “Tex” Loftin said at a previous meeting. “At this point, there have been so many people appointed, it is time the citizens had their say.”
Places 1, 3 and 5 are up for one-year terms, while the mayor and Places 2 and 4 are two-year terms, according to a January vote from the council. The schedule will return the city to compliance with the Texas Constitution with only half of the council up for election at any one time. The unchallenged races include Mayor Pro Tem Larry Hinsley running for mayor, Loftin running for Place 1 and LaTausha Morgan running for Place 4. The Place 4 seat will be vacated in May by incumbent Don Roach, who has chosen not to run again.
Places 2 and 3 have two candidates each, with Roland Screws up against appointed incumbent Bill Mellon for Place 3, and incumbent Kim Lindsey running against former councilor Glenda Martin for Place 2. Place 5 has three candidates: Candice Rosson, James Shoemaker and Jimmy Castle.
Seat 2 Candidates
Both of the candidates for Seat 2 on the Bogata City Council work now as independent tax preparers, with a background in corporate finance, and both have previously served on the council.
Glenda Martin, who served three terms until a disagreement with Lum ended with her replacement in 2010, said the city needs its finances in order.
“What the council needs is financial experience,” she said. “When I left the council, we had $500,000 in reserve, and most of that is gone.”
The city hasn’t followed a budget since then, she added.
“The mayor just rolled over the budget each year,” Martin said. “It’s a lack of financial knowledge that got us here.”
In 2010, Martin and another council member were outraged with Lum and left a meeting, and “by the next week,” he had appointed someone to replace them both, though Texas law allows 90 days before the council is allowed to decide to replace a member, Martin said. Then, in 2013, her doctor diagnosed her with breast cancer. Sixteen surgeries and two years later, she beat cancer, but was still shaky on her feet.
“I was depleted,” Martin said. “I couldn’t even drive for three years, and I was not really aware of things happening (in the city).”
But, now recovered, she is heading back into the fray of local politics. Both her and her husband have retired from jobs at a construction company, Bechtel, one of the largest construction companies in the country. She worked on the finance side, while her husband focused on construction projects.
“We did billion-dollar projects for Intel and Motorola, a pneumonia vaccine facility in North Carolina,” she said. “We’ve had a wide and varied experience. I’ve actively managed five different departments at one time.”
For the past 20 years, she’s owned and operated Bogata Tax and Bookkeeping.
The biggest challenges facing the city are budgeting, drugs and the physical condition of the city itself. She said because of its position on Highway 271, between Mount Pleasant and Paris, with highway expansion planned, “we are primed to be the best bedroom location in Texas.”
“I have owned rental properties since we got here,” Martin said. “I get calls every week.”
The city desperately needs more housing, she said. When she was previously on the council, they were better about getting owners to take down derelict housing, allowing for new and better housing to go up.
“I would follow the city ordinances and have the ordinances enforced,” Martin said. “That’s really one of my main things, cleanup, because if we don’t clean up, then the tax rolls don’t grow.”
She said she has studied the Texas Constitution and recommendations from the Texas Municipal League.
“You ask me anything, and I can either tell you or find it in 10 minutes,” Martin said. “The only thing I care about is making sure the people’s money is spent for the people.”
Incumbent Kim Lindsey is finishing her first term as City Council member, and she’d like to have another. With an MBA in finance, she said she’s managed 76 offices and training for other financial officers. Now, she works as an independent tax preparer.
“I have a lot of experience managing and budgeting,” she said.
What Bogata needs is more businesses, getting finances in order and fixing the streets.
“We’re going to continue what we’re doing with the economic development corporation,” Lindsey said, “and turning old buildings into new businesses.”
The tax revenue from that alone would flow to everything else, she said.
“More sales tax helps our police department and our city budget,” Lindsey said. “It also gives us money for street repairs.”
She signed up for the council because she wanted to make a difference.
“I thought, now is the time for me to step up,” Lindsey said. “I have more time available. I can be here and help and make Bogata a better place to live.”
It’s been a rough year, she added, with Covid-19 on top of the drama with the mayor’s resignation, but it’s time to move forward.
“We’re coming up on the better side,” Lindsey said. “We’re getting things organized the way they should have been.
“I’m glad to see our city growing.”