By Alicia Lacy

The Cove Herald

The applications are in, the deadline has elapsed and nine Copperas Cove residents have applied to be on the ballot for the Feb. 10 city council election.

Cheryl L. Meredith filed for Place 1. Meredith is the Escrow Officer for Land Exchange Abstract and Title in Killeen where she has worked for 20 years. “I want responsible growth and a more positive government for the people of Copperas Cove.” Meredith said. “I just want what’s best for Cove.” She has been a Cove resident since 1984 with husband, retired 1st Sgt. Rick Meredith. The two have two children and eight grandchildren.

Charlie Youngs, Meredith’s opponent for Place 1, is a former council member who served from 1994-1997. “I feel the citizens have lost faith in our government. I’m running on a platform of integrity, ethics and honesty. If we can bring the sense of right and wrong and the sense of being honest with the citizens and earn their faith,” Youngs said.

“On April 10, 2006 I got a DWI. That was the worst day of my life and the best day of my life. I stopped drinking and started attending AA and still attend AA. Through that program I got a better life through a higher power,” Youngs said. "When I say integrity, ethics and honesty I’m asking the folks of Cove to vote for me. I have to be one of the first ones to be honest with the people if I want their vote. We need to have a government that’s sitting on the council that does business using those tenets of integrity, ethics and honesty. We have to tell the citizens upfront and be honest with them and not run behind closed doors."

Youngs has served on the CCEDC board and the Coryell Central Appraisal District board and worked for the city’s planning department. He retired from the military in 1998 after 27 years. Youngs lives with his wife Peggy of 38 years and has one daughter.

Michael Zehr filed for Place 3. Zehr’s platform is based on moving forward.

“I could make good changes in Cove,” Zehr said.

He said he believes in lowering taxes. Zehr has been a resident of Cove since 1973. He is a retired Chief 1 Officer in the Army. Zehr is currently the owner of Avalar Fort Hood and Armadillo Properties with wife Denise, a member of Grace United Methodist Church, 1st Calvary Association, Fort Hood Board of Realtors, Texas Association of Realtors and the National Association of Realtors. Zehr and his wife have six grown kids together between Texas and New Mexico.

Charles “Chuck” Downard filed for Place 3 on the council. Downard is a 22-year retired Army veteran and 18-year retired city employee. Downard’s platform is to reverse the recent increase of bulk trash pickup. “One of the numerous issues facing the citizens of Copperas Cove is the lost faith in our City Council and I support 100 percent our current mayor’s goal of council unity to put the citizens faith back in the Council,” Downard said. Downard wants more citizen input and stronger relationships among the city, county, Copperas Cove Economic Development Corporation and the Copperas Cove Independent School District. A Copperas Cove resident for more than 35 years with wife Cora, Downard is the father of five, grandfather of 20 and great grandfather of 8. Downard is a USO volunteer, 1st Cavalry Division Association, AARP, VFW 8577 and Disabled American Veterans.

Danny Palmer, Place 4 candidate, was unavailable for comment.

Joseph Solomon filed for Place 4. Solomon ran for council in the May 10 election that resulted in a runoff election. Solomon said he’s sticking to his earlier campaign that focuses on the future. “I felt that city service and public service you become a servant. I always wanted to serve the city and this is a good opportunity. I could bring a sense of unity and work together with the council, mayor and city manager.” He said he wants to work on accomplishing the city’s 10 goals. Solomon is the director of the Refuge Corporation at the Christian House of Prayer, which is a non-profit community service outreach. H is a member of the Greater Copperas Cove Community Action Network. Solomon has been a resident of Cove for 28 years with wife Michelle. He has two children and one grandchild.

Konrad Kohler, Place 5 candidate, is running to help make Copperas Cove a city of family living.

“My intent is to work with the Mayor, council and staff, Kohler said.

Kohler has been a resident of Cove since 1993 with wife Cynthia and his two stepchildren. Kohler is a 20-year retired veteran and currently a defense contractor on Fort Hood. Kohler is a member of AUSA and Quad A or the Army Aviation Association of America.

Bill Stephens filed for Place 5. Stephens was unavailable for comment.

David Wilson, Place 5 candidate and former council member, main concern is property tax rates.

“One thing I’m concerned about is the drastic increase in appraisal value,” Wilson said.

He compared Cove’s property tax rate with that of Killeen and Harker Heights. Wilson said instead of going to the taxpayers with bond issues the city could use property tax revenue.

“We should be using growth to fund projects," Wilson said.

Wilson also wants to reverse the bulk trash pick-up fees. Wilson has been a resident of Cove since 1979 where he was a council member from 1982-1989 and 1992-1995. Wilson has two kids with his wife Susan. He is a small business owner and was a teacher for 32 years.

City council hopefuls had from Dec. 9 through Tuesday to apply for any of the four vacant seats.

On Dec. 8, in the 52nd District Courtroom, Judge Philip Ziegler called for a special election to once again fill four city council seats left vacant by the Nov. 4 recall election.

The recall was the result of a petition from Cove resident Diane Steele, who began collecting signatures from residents on May 27.

Mayor Pro Tem Robert Reeves, Place 3 Councilman Mark Peterson, Place 4 Councilwoman Charlotte Heinze and Place 5 Councilman Ray Don Clayton were all voted out of office on Nov. 4.

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