(Note: The following is a letter that Oak Ridge Mayor Tom Beehan sent to his fellow City Council members.)
Congratulations to the winners of Tuesday’s Oak Ridge City Council election. You worked hard, and now you will work even harder as we come together on City Council to continue to move Oak Ridge in a positive direction.
It has been an honor and privilege to serve as the mayor of Oak Ridge for the last five years.
Consider what our Oak Ridge City Council has been able to accomplish during the past 18 months: the new Kroger Marketplace; the Woodland developments of Aubrey’s, Panera, and Weigel’s; the Jackson Square revitalization grant from TDOT; the saving of the Alexander Inn; the Holiday Inn Express; and the potential for a Manhattan Project National Park, including Oak Ridge.
All of these will have an impact on the quality of life in our town, and they will bring an increase in sales tax revenue to the city coffers. We are at a tipping point.
Oak Ridge is moving in the right direction. One of the most important projects on the horizon is the Uranium Processing Facility under way at the Y-12 National Security Complex. Many describe this as the equal to five Volkswagen plants, with a huge economic impact. And we expect to see a resolution to the redevelopment of the Oak Ridge Mall.
City Council has come together for the good of the city. I want to encourage our continued cooperation in bringing progress to Oak Ridge.
I ask that you to allow me to serve as the city’s mayor for the next two-year term. I am a strong supporter of the council-manager form of government, and I support the positive approach to moving Oak Ridge forward that our City Manager Mark Watson has taken. The mayor’s role is to serve as the advocate for and representative of the city, to chair City Council meetings as we discuss policy and budget matters, and to leave the day-to-day management to the manager.
As your mayor, I have served as president of the Tennessee Municipal League, and serve currently as a board member. I also serve as the current chair of the Energy Community Alliance, which represents energy communities throughout the United States, and as the chair of the board of mayors for the PlanET project that is under way in the five-county region in and around Knoxville. Regional cooperation is important for our economic development and our future.
As mayor, however, my first priority is the city of Oak Ridge and our residents. My theme, if I am allowed to continue to serve in the mayor’s position, is to support the cohesiveness of our council, to listen, and to encourage the council to establish our vision early in 2013, so we can continue the path to improving the quality of life for the people of Oak Ridge.
Thank you for your service. And I ask for your support.