The three races for City Council seats have attracted a wide array of candidates with varying ideas of how the city built for family living should press forward.
In addition to the mayor’s position, available seats on the ballot this year are City Council Place 1 and Place 2.
Currently, Frank Seffrood holds the position of mayor. David Morris holds the Place 1 seat and James Pierce Jr. holds the Place 2 seat.
Cheryl L. Meredith, a former councilwoman, will face nonprofit owner Joann Courtland for Place 1.
Meredith was first elected to the council in 2009, and served two, three-year terms before coming off in 2015.
At the forefront of biggest issues in Cove for the 34-year resident are issues with Fathom, the third-party system responsible for billing and customer service, and construction for greater infrastructure.
Meredith called the bypass connecting Cove to U.S. Highway 190/Interstate 14 the “biggest, most wonderful thing” that ever happened to the city, and hopes to encourage future development for a bypass that would allow residents near Gatesville better access to the Five Hills shopping center on the other side of town.
Her opponent, Courtland, said actions that would put the Cove community first haven’t taken priority in recent years. Courtland wants to fight for more family activities that are affordable and believes the city could be doing a better job of being as attractive for families.
Courtland runs a nonprofit called Operation Stand Down Central Texas, which assists homeless veterans and their families in the surrounding community.
She hopes to be able to implement those skills in taking a hard look at city finances to bolster family living. Additionally, both candidates expressed a desire to increase council transparency and availability to the general public.
Fred Chavez, director of the planetarium and Outreach Services for the Mayborn Science Theater at Central Texas College, is challenging incumbent Pierce for the Place 2 seat.
Chavez was on the Economic Development Corp. for six years, up until 2012. After taking a hiatus from municipal capacities, he said he’s ready to toss his hat back into the ring.
His goals include having a hand in bolstering the EDC as a nonpolitical unit of business people from diverse backgrounds working on behalf of the city. Chavez also hopes to further the city’s infrastructure to attract business. With trash, sewage, wastewater and electricity in place, new business will flock to Cove.
Chavez also suggested boosting council member accessibility beyond the city’s website, Facebook, emergency notifications and television channels, potentially by way of a program that would educate residents on a variety of city subjects.
Incumbent Pierce hopes to serve one more term on the city council. He prides himself on bringing conservative ideals and making do with what is already had. Pierce has vowed to never push for higher property taxes.
Pierce wants to work to address widespread issues with Fathom, which is currently undergoing a city audit.
Moreover, improving city roadways, building more parks, hiking trails and all-around wholesome infrastructure will build an attractive, family-living community, according to Pierce.
Incumbent Seffrood is being challenged by Joey Acfalle and Azeita Taylor for the mayoral post.
Acfalle is a sitting director on the Economic Development Corporation. A resident of Cove since 2010, he said, he aims to spur growth through encouraging more manufacturing distribution groups in the city.
This will bring more jobs and commerce to the city of Cove, Acfalle said.
If elected, Acfalle also hopes to give and provide to residents clear and precise answers to their concerns.
For mayoral candidate Taylor, a resident for more than 11 years, the time for her run is ripe. She believes the city is in a time of change, and she is best fit to be the face of that rebranding.
Taylor has run for council several times and served on multiple council-appointed boards. She has also worked with multiple businesses and civic groups in the city.
Better paying jobs and taking better care of city parks are on the shortlist of goals inspiring Taylor to seek the mayoral post. These targets will help underscore the city’s motto: built for family living.
Unifying city entities in order to market Cove as a great place to live, learn and play will ensure a better future, according to Taylor.
Mayor Seffrood said he wants to continue providing good guidance to council members as a non-biased member of the council. Seffrood reiterated the fact that the mayor possesses no vote on agenda items.
The city has been good to Seffrood in the several years he’s lived in Cove, he said. Having held multiple positions of leadership in the past, he believes he is the best candidate to continue to spearhead Cove in the right direction.
Early voting begins Monday, and Election Day is Nov. 6.