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Ashland's mayor-elect to consider 2013 priorities

Dec. 31, 2012 @ 12:02 AM

ASHLAND -- Economic development, better communications with residents and better efficiency and morale by city employees are among the priorities of incoming Mayor Chuck Charles, who will be sworn in Thursday, Jan. 3.

"I love partnerships and working with people," Charles said. "I'm not in this by myself. We're all in this together."

Starting in the spring, Charles plans to start a program called "Walk with the Mayor." The idea is to meet with residents in 15 neighborhoods and talk about different issues. "I've broken the city down to 15 neighborhoods and have named 15 ambassadors," he said.

"The sessions will last for about an hour," he said. "I want to see our neighborhoods brought back to life. The idea is to bring government to the people.

"Economic development has to be high on the priority list," Charles said. "Infrastructure and giving the highest level of services we can give is crucial. We have limited resources and need to keep an eye on the budget. We want to become more efficient. No matter how well things are, you can do better.

"We have two large stores and other improvements planned for Melody Mountain," he said.

Charles also plans to try to develop programs to help existing businesses grow.

"If we can help them add a few jobs, even five jobs, I want to see what can be done. We need to be innovative. We also need to be proactive."

Charles also wants to see Central Park and Ashland's riverfront better utilized.

"I want Ashland to be the city of choice, not only for the Tri-State and the state of Kentucky, but in the United States," Charles said. "I want Ashland to be the best place to live, work and play.

"I also want our employees empowered to do things," Charles said. "I want them to take care of problems instead of saying it's not their job. We need to be building morale. That will make us a better city."

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