TRAFFORD — Editor’s Note: This is one in a series about local candidates for the Aug. 28 elections.
The small town of Trafford has three men running for the town’s top office. Mayor Robert Niblett is running for re-election against opponents Terry Little and Clint Daniels.
All three candidates want to see Trafford grow and prosper; each has different ideas about how to see his goals for the town come about.
Daniels has had his eye on the mayor’s seat for some time; he ran unsuccessfully against Niblett in 2008.
He has never held political office before, and said he is not any more qualified than his opponents to be mayor. However, he said he offers a different perspective than the other two men.
“I would never say I’m more qualified than anybody else to do the job,” he said. “I’m younger and I’m coming in with fresh ideas for the town to make it better,” Daniels said. “That’s the biggest thing I can bring to the table: Newer ideas.”
He said that Trafford right now is at a “stalemate.”
“We’re not moving backward, we’re not moving forward,” he said. “I want to move forward with new ideas.”
Among Daniels’ new ideas is to make the town more visually appealing.
He said the downturn in the economy has resulted in abandoned houses and overgrown yards in Trafford.
“They’re eyesores and nobody wants them in our town,” he said.
If elected as mayor, Daniels said he would work to pass resolutions that would make financial institutions more accountable in order to force them to
maintain their properties.
Daniels said he would also make sure the town’s roads and rights-of-way are maintained.
“It presents a safety hazard with people dodging grass and tree limbs that are sticking out in the road,” he said.
Daniels said his overall goal is to make Trafford look better.
“If we make Trafford look more on the beautiful side, maybe someone who drives through could see good money-making potential,” he said. “If we make it look pretty, it will make people want to be here. Then everything else will fall into place.”
Little has never held political office, but he said he has plenty of ideas and work experience that he could combine to improve Trafford.
Little, who works as a driver for Birmingham Air Freight, said he has served on numerous business committees over the years, where he has supplied ideas to improve sales and productivity.
He has lived in Trafford since 1969.
“Since I’ve been there, Trafford has become a ghost town,” he said. “I want to improve it and get something there for every age group.”
If elected, Little said he would equip the town park with swings and seesaws, which he said are no longer at the park.
“I would like to try to get a daycare there so parents won’t have to drive 20 or 30 miles away for child care,” he said. “I would also like to re=-open the senior citizen club.
Little wants to see the ball park filled with teams and spectators.
“I would like to try to get softball teams playing there like they did when I was a kid,” he said.
He said the town also needs other work done, such as the replacement of “old and faded” stop signs.
Little said Trafford is special to him for many reasons.
“It’s the people I grew up with and care about,” he said. “You’ve got a great group of people here, especially the elderly.”
Little also said Trafford needs to make a good impression on people who are passing through.
“We need to make it memorable for visitors,” he said.
He added, however, that his priority is improving the town for the residents.
“I love the people of Trafford and I want them to feel comfortable,” he said.
Mayor of Trafford for the past for years, Robert Niblett had previously served as a town council member for two terms.
“Under my leadership, we have grown financially, physically and smarter,” Niblett said. “I want to add to that.”
Niblett said Trafford’s finances have tripled from the time he went into office.
“We have also added a lot of new equipment we’d never had before because we couldn’t afford,” he said, including a service truck, dump trailer, two tractors, a fire engine and a fire chief’s car.
“We’ve been able to do this by working harder and keeping our spending down,” he said.
Trafford has annexed 500 acres in the past few years, a move that Niblett said will provide space for a subdivision, which he said already has three houses, and another city park.
“We’re continuously moving,” he said. “This is something I started out to do and I want to finish.”
If re-elected, Niblett said his goals for the future are to build a community storm shelter, purchase more equipment, improve the roads, create a town library, build a park and boat launch near town-owned property near the river.
One thing Niblett is especially proud is decreasing the presence of drugs in Trafford.
“Since I started here, we’ve cleaned up drugs 75 percent,” he said. “We’re still not clean, but we want them to know they’re not welcome here. People yes, but not drugs. It tears down neighborhoods.”
Niblett said Trafford’s finances are in good shape, considering the economy.
“In the times of recession, we’re one of the few cities that haven’t gone downhill,” he said.
Niblett said his management experience before retiring, education in finance and experience qualify him to be mayor.