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Three Vie For New Martinsville Recorder Seat

By Staff | Apr 25, 2018

The Wetzel Chronicle mailed questions to all political candidates in the upcoming New Martinsville Municipal Election to be held May 8 in conjunction with the Primary Election. Their responses are being printed in the April 25 and May 2 editions of the Wetzel Chronicle in a simple question and answer format.

Sandy Hunt, Keith Nelsen, and Kim Whiteman are each seeking to the position of Recorder for the City of New Martinsville.

Sandy Hunt has been married to Steve Hunt for 42 years; the two have always lived in New Martinsville.

Sandy and Steve have two children and two grandchildren. The two host the new Martinsville House Church of Christ on Sundays and facilitate the bible study on Wednesday evenings.

Sandy managed my Steve’s business for several years and still does the bookkeeping for S & S Diamonds and have done so since its founding in 1981.

Hunt is a life-long registered Democrat running for the non-partisan position of City Recorder.

Keith Nelsen is a lifelong resident of Wetzel County He is the son of the late Mildred Morgan and is married to Tammy Sue Mattox Nelsen, daughter of the Rev. Robert L Mattox, who ministered for many years at the First Church of God in New Martinsville. Keith and Sue are the proud parents of one son, Nicholas Nelsen, and are Pap and Mimi to three grandkids, Christian, Allie Sue and Madison. Keith, a 1973 Magnolia High School Graduate, is a member of Moose 931, and attends the New Martinsville United Methodist Church with his family.

Keith began his public service career by volunteering thousands of hours at the Wetzel County Ambulance Squad and the New Martinsville Volunteer Fire Department with decades of service. He was elected to the second ward council position in the city of New Martinsville where he served for seven years and in 2012 was elected Mayor for the city. During his tenure on council, he served as Chairman of the Police, Street, and Animal Control, as well as serving on nearly all city committees at one time or another.

Kim Whiteman is a lifelong resident of New Martinsville and a 1989 graduate of Magnolia High School.

Whiteman is mother to Alex Berger, a 2018 graduate of Magnolia High School who will attend West Virginia University in the Fall of 2018.

As well as being a full time college student, Whiteman is also an employee of an independently owned New Martinsville business, and she will be completing an internship with Youth Services System in Wheeling, W.Va., in April of 2018.

Whiteman will be graduating from West Liberty University in May 2018 with honors. She will have earned her bachelor’s degree in social work and a minor in psychology. She is a member of Phi Alpha Theta, an academic honor society.

Why do you want to be recorder, and what makes you qualified to serve in that capacity?

Sandy Hunt: Experience. Not only is my experience what makes me qualified to serve as city recorder, experience is the reason I want to serve the city as recorder and bring transparency to city government. I have experience working in an office, managing a business, serving the public, actual bookkeeping and accounting training (I know my way around Quickbooks and a spread sheet), managing people, leading people, working with committees as a member of a committee and as head of a committee, leadership on the board, and starting an organization from scratch. From Scoutmaster to little league line coach; working in an office at PPG to managing a business at S & S; from the board of Relay for Life, to executive committee at the Chamber of Commerce, to beginning the Wetzel County Convention & Visitors Bureau; I have worked with and for people most of my life.

Keith Nelsen: The recorder’s office is an integral position within the city. The Recorder is the custodian of all records, tracks the City’s finances and acts as the Clerk of the Council. My goal is to continue the high quality of service this office has seen during these past years and is what drives me to seek this office.

I believe I have the ability and experience to fulfill the required duties set forth in the City Charter. My experience as Mayor, councilperson as well as the two decades as the manager of Wetzel County Public Service District#1 will lead to the successful transition from the current recorder. Additionally, I have been the project coordinator on several multi-million dollar construction projects as well as my tenure as Mayor I had the oversight of many projects including the Hydro Electric refurbishment. I have been in supervisory roles throughout my entire working career.

I have two terms as second ward councilman and one term as Mayor of the city. This gives me a keen insight as to the functions of this position. I have recently been appointed to the Supervisory Committee at Ohio Valley Community Credit Union.

Considering my qualifications, working relationship with the current administration and commitment to our community “I believe I am the best and most” qualified individual for the position of Recorder

Kim Whiteman: I want to foster positive changes to my hometown community and continue to reinforce the positive foundation that exists. I have a vested interest in this community and it’s future. My past experiences as an independent business owner, my education and training has provided me with a set of skills that I can utilize to identify strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats related to community planning.

A position like city recorder requires an individual to be open minded with a willingness to work and communicate well with different personalities, creatively solve problems, work with in a budget and deadline. If given the opportunity to be the elected city recorder I would dedicate myself to the position.

What would you do with a $100,000 gift to the city if it was completely up to you? Why would you use it in that manner?

Sandy Hunt: There are several things that need done in the city, and any of them would be good tearing down dilapidated buildings, fixing potholes, enhancing storm drainage and all those projects could use the extra money. But I would use a gift of $100,000 as seed money for a Crisis Center to deal with the drug crisis and homeless issue, both of which overlap to some degree. Our homeless issue is getting worse and our drug issues are already at crisis level. And we need an effective way to deal with and solve the problem. It would take a collaborative effort from several organizations in our area to make this a reality but with seed money the process could begin.

I will be happy to elaborate on my answers to anyone who wants more information.

Keith Nelsen: Conservatively. You can’t magically point a wand at a single item thinking it will solve the problems of the city is not prudent. An understanding of ALL issues facing our city makes this decision complicated for a candidate that knows the complexity issues. It is only through a thorough analysis of all of the outstanding issues within a city can one begin to see the magnitude of need. ALL monies coming into the city should be dealt with this way.

Infrastructure of a city is not really what people see but is what they feel when it doesn’t operate correctly. Paving, water and sewer lines, Electric facilities need constant attention. Equipment all wears out. Some departments produce their own income to support the service they provide.

General Fund supplies the other departments completely, but is no way near enough to meet the needs of the City. Reduced revenues within the City are a critical issue. Each City department relies on their respective budgets to operate as efficiently as possible and still manage to do the quality of work expected.

Dilapidated buildings continue to plague the City, and while the solution seems simple, just “tear them down”; cannot be accomplished without exhaustive legal research. After the ownership research and acquisition is completed, the cost of asbestos abatement and the physical demolition of just one building could easily exhaust the budget. Insurance is a continuing drain on resources. Costs continue to rise. Drug abuse continues to be an issue within our country, state as well as our city. The protection of the residents as well as treatment and support of ALL the victims, not just the drug abuser, need to be addressed.

While spending money doesn’t appear to be a problem, it most certainly can be. It can only be realistically solved by bringing everyone together i.e.: Department heads, committee members, laypersons and council members working as a team. As the Recorder, I believe that I have the skills and experience to assist these people to accomplish our City’s goals.

Kim Whiteman: I would like to see $100,000 being utilized to bring in other money that will stimulate the economy and be beneficial to the community as a whole. For example, matching grant money towards city projects allows the city to utilize the $100,000 gift to maximize available funds, while helping with sustainability. These funds could then be used towards updating police equipment, family oriented projects through the parks and recreation, or creating partnerships with community resources.