By Robin Fornoff
CMI Projects Editor
Recreation and water issues are the talk in the March 4 municipal election in Melrose.
Incumbent Mayor Tuck Monk faces a challenge from Donald Harrell in one of three contested races for village leadership.
Four candidates are also seeking two at-large Village Council seats, including incumbents Jewell Hill and Darrell Bostwick and challengers Ronald Moore and H.P. Cargile.
Melrose voters will also be asked to choose a municipal judge in a contest that includes incumbent Judge Bobby Moulds and challenger James Townson, president of the Melrose Chamber of Commerce.
It’s Harrell’s second attempt to unseat Monk, who beat him four years ago. And, as the last time, it will be a contentious race if Harrell has anything to say about it.
“The man filled the swimming pool up and let our park die,” Harrell said of his opponent. “There’s lots of things I don’t like about it all. But filling up the pool with dirt instead of fixing it … that’s about all the kids around here had come summertime.”
The park frequently doesn’t get mowed, according to Harrell.
Harrell also said under Monk’s leadership, the village has failed to address some severe water issues. Harrell said the village doesn’t drain water lines, forcing water to back up.
“It smells bad and I get rust coming through my faucets,” said Harrell.
Monk said water is and will remain a key issue for him. He said the village is close to completing installation of about 5,000 feet of new water line to address the issues Harrell raises. He noted the water lines being replaced have been in the ground since the 1920s and finding state and federal money to pay the cost of replacement takes time.
Monk also said he and the council have been working to develop a new park.
“My priority is for the safety of Melrose, improving water quality and our infrastructure,” Monk said. “The last four years with the council that we’ve got now, we’ve managed to get quite a bit done.”
Moore said he’s seeking one of the two council seats because upgrading the park and economic growth are key issues for Melrose and he would bring “fresh eyes to the problems of our small village.”
Cargile said he’s in the council race to develop economic growth, clean up neighborhoods, fix playground equipment at the park and increase a police presence in the village.
Bostwick said he wants another four-year term to continue replacing water lines and to work for upgrading several streets. Bostwick also cited the importance of working to ensure the Ute Water Project continues to move forward.
Hill said expansion of the park was one of his goals if elected to another four-year term. He also said continuing to upgrade water lines and having an annual health fair are some of his top priorities.
Perhaps the least contentious race is the municipal judge contest. Both candidates said they wished the other luck. Moulds is a retired postmaster and Townson is a retired Farmers Electric Cooperative field engineer.