Veteran mayors retire
Published 10:26 am Thursday, July 9, 2009
Two giants in municipal government will call it a career.
Windsor Mayor Bob Spivey and Seaboard Mayor Melvin F. Broadnax have each announced their decision not to seek reelection.
Broadnax will end 38 years of service to the town of Seaboard when his current term expires in December. He served as Town Commissioner from 1971-1988 and then as mayor from 1988 until now.
“I think I have done a good job and I think they need a new concept to hopefully build on what I’ve done over the years,” Mayor Broadnax said.
The Seaboard native said his town was doing business in the back of a car when he came into office and now has a municipal office, fire department and a fulltime police chief.
While he is proud of those accomplishments, he said housing was his number one goal when he took over.
“Housing was my main thing. We have our first and only housing subdivision in Seaboard now,” he said. “I wanted people to own their own property. I think that’s very important.”
He said the most important resource to the town, however, was simple.
“The most important resource in Seaboard is the people,” he said. “We have some mighty good people in Seaboard. I’m a native. I went away to Shaw University and came back. I found out I could do a good job if I stayed here instead of going somewhere else.”
Broadnax, who will turn 80 in October, said he would miss the calls he received when dogs were barking and the small parts of being the mayor, but added that it was time for a younger person to step in.
“It’s time for someone who understands young people,” he said.
Current Seaboard Commissioner Bobie N. Moss has filed for the position held by Broadnax.
In Windsor, Spivey said he decided about one year ago that he would not seek reelection.
“I need to be more available to my family,” he said. “It wasn’t a quick decision. I started letting (Mayor Pro Tempore) Jimmy (Hoggard) and others know about a year ago. It’s time for younger people to take over.”
Spivey was appointed mayor in 1991 to fulfill the unexpired term Mayor L.T. Livermon. He had previously served for a decade as a Bertie County Commissioner.
Mayor Spivey said he was proud of many of the accomplishments the town had achieved over the past 18 years.
“I’m certainly proud of the fact we are sounder from a financial standpoint than we were 18 years ago,” he said. “I’m also very pleased we’ve continued to build an excellent staff.
“There is no question I’ve been highly blessed to work with outstanding town boards,” he added. “Despite the changes over the years, we have always had good, conscientious boards.”
The mayor said he was proud of the improvements made to the uptown faade, the enlarging of Livermon Park and the boardwalk for the wetlands.
“I’ve been blessed that we’ve always worked together to find ways to improve the quality of life for our citizens,” he said.
Another change the mayor helped lead in Windsor is almost unheard of. When he became mayor, the town’s tax rate was .18 per $100 valuation and as he prepares to leave office, that rate is down to .15 per $100.
“We lowered the rate to 15 cents after I became mayor and for the most part of the 18 years we’ve been able to keep it there,” he said. “We’ve also been able to hold electric and water rates below most areas our size.”
The mayor said he would always treasure his time in office.
“It’s been a special honor to serve,” he said. “I have appreciated the people’s support. I’m the one who has been most blessed from it.”
He also promised not to fade away.
“I’m not going to drop dead,” he mused. “I’ll continue to work in economic development. I still serve on the Northeast Commission and chair Bertie County’s Economic Development Commission. Creating jobs has always been a high priority in my life and as long as I’m able, I want to continue to work for that.”
Hoggard, who serves as a commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tempore in Windsor, has filed to seek the mayor’s office in Windsor.
See the related story on municipal filings on page 5A of today’s edition.