PRATTVILLE, Ala. (WSFA) - The Prattville mayoral election is just around the corner and it features two candidates; the incumbent and a former city councilman.
Incumbent Mayor Bill Gillespie and challenger Dean Argo are long time friends and both served together on the city council at one time. They’ve played golf together and they both turn 62 in the same month. They were born just two days apart.
But the common interests stop there.
Mayor Gillespie is a firm believer in paying his ‘civic rent’ and is wrapping up his second full term as mayor. He feels the changes he’s made to the city, such as a new public safety building, the James Hardy company, and a new No. 4 fire station that’s under construction speak for themselves.
And that doesn’t include Gillespie’s work muscling down a massive general fund debt from more than $60 million to slightly more than $21 million today.
“Providing a better product to our community and that’s what government at this level is supposedly about,” the mayor stated.
“I think Prattville is dying,” counters Argo, who feels the mayor has done a good job overall but feels the city has hit a plateau, a wall., and is no longer growing.
“Keep money in house. Don’t take on any new debt, don’t take risks,” Argo explained. “Economic developers didn’t want to come talk to us because they knew the prospective of the city leadership was we’re not going to spend money. Don’t come to us.”
For the long term the two man hold entirely different perspectives.
“We have a better product today than what we had before I came in as mayor,” Gillespie stated.
“We’ve got to change that perception that we’re closed,” Argo stated. “We’ve got to let folks know we are open, we want to grow.”
The two friends who are now political opponents go head- to-head Aug. 25. One will come out on top with a mayoral salary of around $92,000 per year and the next four years to shape Prattville with their vision.