Incumbent mayor files for third term
No challengers have yet to emerge for city’s top post
ELIZABETH CITY – Before a crowd of several dozen supporters, current Elizabeth City Mayor, Joe Peel, announced his plans to seek re-election for a third term. His announcement took place at the Board of Elections office where he filed paperwork for the Oct. 6 election.
In addition, incumbent city councilors Anita Hummer, Ray Donnelly and Tony Stimatz also filed, with Peel praising the trio as strong members of the five-member City Council.
The mayor made particular reference to his city as The Ugly Duckling — over the last four years, maybe five, we have been pretty ugly, he said, but now the city is ready to get beautiful.
Among his top priorities is the upgrade of the city electric system to a “smart grid,” which will eliminate meter readers in lieu of performing this task from the office.
In addition, he wants to continue expanding the job training efforts through the College of The Albemarle and other relevant agencies. He said companies complain they do not have managers to be employed in the local area.
The Workforce Development Group has an arrangement with various employers to guarantee job interviews for unemployed people who complete job readiness courses. It is often hard for unemployed people to get their feet in the door and too few employers participate, something that the mayor wants to improve upon.
The mayor mentioned the Vision 2020 community initiative, pointing out that it showed how he tries to lead by bringing people together, something that he wants to continue for the benefit of the city.
As most people know, the Peel has been controversial by pushing the first-ever charter school in Elizabeth City. In fact, an investigation was undertaken to determine if he had used any city resources in pursuing grant funds from the County. Although the investigation cost city taxpayers, investigators found no impropriety by either the mayor or by any other city officials.
In recent weeks, Peel has been criticized by some of the same councilors for supporting revocation of the alcohol permit pertaining to American Legion Post 223. The mayor feels that he was right in this matter and he tells us that many people have thanked him for trying to control disorderly conduct at these facilities.
In beginning his third campaign, Peel said he expects to raise around $10,000 — less than the $14,000 raised two years ago – with much of the savings coming from the re-use of previous campaign materials.
Of course, two years ago, Peel faced a challenge for mayor from Councilor Johnnie Walton, who lost by a large margin. Walton, having just recently won re-election to the City Council, is considered unlikely to again face off against Peel. Whether other challengers might emerge is not known, but the likelihood of a contested Elizabeth City mayoral race in 2015 seems fairly remote.