Owen Powell, 61, who lives on north Pine Court in Oak Grove, is challenging longtime alderman Brad Alexander for the Ward 2 seat on the Oak Grove Board of Aldermen. He is retired from the Social Security Administration, having worked 25 years. Powell previously served on the Lake Tapawingo City Council for two years.

Owen Powell, 61, who lives on north Pine Court in Oak Grove, is challenging longtime alderman Brad Alexander for the Ward 2 seat on the Oak Grove Board of Aldermen. He is retired from the Social Security Administration, having worked 25 years. Powell previously served on the Lake Tapawingo City Council for two years.

1 Why are you seeking to become an Oak Grove alderman?  

Not to sound too altruistic, but I see this as an opportunity to give back to a community in which I have enjoyed living since 2002. Too often we expect our communities to serve and meet our every need and we don’t give a second thought as to what we might be able to do to serve our neighbors in a palpable and real way.

2 What makes you qualified for this position over your opponent, Brad Alexander, who has more than 12 years experience as an alderman?  

Mr. Alexander has served the City of Oak Grove in a very competent and sincere fashion and as such offers a wealth of experience to draw upon. It’s not that I am necessarily more qualified, but I may bring to the council a possibly fresh and new perspective.

3 What’s the biggest problem facing Oak Grove and how do you propose to address it?  

You pretty well narrowed this issue down in your question No. 5. As with most city governments, Oak Grove is faced with an ever increasing demand for services and a more and more restricted stream of revenue with which to pay for those services. City government must balance revenue receipts with an ever increasing attention given to possible consolidation of services and cuts in discretionary spending.

4 Why haven’t you attended any Board of  Aldermen meetings recently? Excellent question. I do tune in to the Oak Grove government channel No. 7 on which council meetings are broadcast.

5 Sales tax receipts so far this year have been down overall by more than 7 percent. How does the board reverse this to get that number in the positive or can it?  

There are really only two ways to address this problem, and both solutions are problematic when one looks at our economic situation. We are plagued with the same problems that face all governments, federal, state, county, and local. One solution is to increase consumer spending at the local level. But when you consider higher unemployment rates impacting the ability of individuals and families to even afford the bare necessities of life, lack of consumer spending is a problem that will haunt us for a protracted period of time. The other solution is to make our city more attractive for new business. And this will require a plan that balances the needs of the community with a carefully constructed approach to business development and recruitment. Not an easy thing to accomplish since many businesses are scaling back or are not considering expansion at all. It may well be that, as I said before, our city government may have to deal with discretionary spending and consolidation of city services. I would like to be perfectly clear regarding one thing that worries all citizens of this great country and that is raising taxes. All possible solutions should be considered before increased taxation is given any thought at all because that would further erode individual discretionary spending.