Open West Point City Council seat a vital decision

Published 5:27 pm Thursday, January 31, 2019

The City of West Point is currently accepting applications for the city’s open city council seat and will accept applications through 5 p.m. on Feb. 26. The opening was recently created when former City Councilman Benjamin Wilcox stepped down from his seat Jan. 14 to accept the position of city municipal court assistant judge. The opening will allow a new face and a new point of view to play an integral role in the future of the burgeoning city, and represents an important decision for city’s leaders.

The City of West Point’s 2019 budget assumes approximately $19.5 million in total revenue will be generated between enterprise funds and the city’s general fund. That is a significant budget to wield, and the expectation is that the elected officials in position to do so will exercise discretion and wisdom when allocating those funds, with the best interest of the city in mind. The soon-to-be-appointed sixth member of the city council will suddenly find him or herself in a prime position to oversee and impact decisions that affect city residents in very real ways. That is not a reality to be taken lightly.

Furthermore, West Point’s city charter is constructed in such a way as to give all six council members and the mayor equal voting power in decisions, meaning this appointment could, in theory, be the deciding vote in a contested decision. In recent history, the West Point electorate has been relatively unanimous in its decision-making, and the likelihood of this situation unfolding is slim, but still worth recognizing.

It is also worth noting, however, that this potentially integral appointment could be relatively short-lived. West Point City Council members are elected to staggered, four-year terms, meaning three seats on the council come up for re-election every two years, with elections for these municipal seats always falling in an odd year.

The seat that has been left vacant by Wilcox is one of the seats that will be on the ballot in November of this year, along with the seats currently occupied by Gerald Ledbetter and Sandra Thornton, as well as the seat of Mayor Steve Trammel. Thus, whoever is appointed to the council could see their time on the council expire before the year is over, if the citizens of West Point vote this new individual out of office.

Regardless of the time the sixth council member will spend in office, the decision still remains a vitally important one. We hope dedicated citizens of West Point who have a passion for their community strongly consider applying for this opening to further ensure the continued success of the city. We also are confident the mayor and five current council members will thoroughly vet all candidates and make the right determination on who will be best positioned to join their ranks in leading the city forward.