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Radcliff Mayor J.J. Duvall last week joked he has gained 20 pounds, sprouted a lot more gray hairs and is forced to take Prilosec every day since taking over as chief executive of Hardin County’s second-largest city.
Duvall has wrapped up his first year in office after taking over a position long held by Sheila Enyart. He plans to place extensive focus on economic development in his second year after looking to find savings and revitalizing community spirit.
The job, he said, can be stressful as he is forced to make decisions that directly impact people he knows.
“That seat can sometimes be a lonely seat,” he said.
Since taking over, Duvall has tried to make good on a promise to bring more community events to the city, from Summer Blast and the Mayor’s Breakfast to an inaugural Radcliff Day parade.
Duvall also worked toward frugality in his own office by streamlining administrative positions and finding thousands more in savings by switching the city’s cellphone provider.
The city also was able to complete road resurfacing work under budget this year, allowing 10 additional streets to be paved.
“I think he’s done a great job myself,” said Radcliff Councilman Jack Holland.
Holland said the council was dealing with an unpredictable budget but Duvall rose to the challenge and found ways to save money.
Duvall also was willing to defend Radcliff when needed, disputing U.S. Census Bureau numbers showing Radcliff had lost population rather than gained since the 2000 Census. Radcliff still is waiting on an answer to the protest.
Duvall also was vocal in his rebuke of the notion of unified government as Radcliff City Council became a trailblazer in the debate, taking formal action to opt out of further unification proceedings.
“(Unification) was not my main concern,” he said. “It was a distraction to the goals of Radcliff.”
Duvall and the council also worked with Hardin County Magistrate Doug Goodman to secure a temporary recycling bin from Waste Management after Hardin County Judge-Executive Harry Berry said there were no immediate plans to add a recycling trailer to the Radcliff area.
To cap it off, the city also had to deal with significant changes in local alcohol laws and was able to draft new legislation to manage bars and package sales without serious dissent.
Councilman Stan Holmes, who served with Duvall during his time as a councilman, said he has brought a refreshing take to the office without letting his age hold him back.
“He’s brought a lot of great energy and great spirit (to the job),” Holmes said.
Duvall’s creativity, Holmes added, has both challenged and assisted the council in doing its job and said the mayor has shown he can think long term for the best interests of Radcliff and its residents.
And Duvall has some serious notions for his second year as he plans to work closely with a revamped North Hardin Economic Development Authority to craft inventive strategies to lure businesses in. Duvall said the city will look for ways to market and recruit business to Millpond Business Center and hopes to see development in Redmar Plaza in the next year.
Duvall also believes the city may be able to court more “franchise” restaurants now that the city has access to restaurant drink licenses that allows a restaurant to split its revenues evenly between food and alcohol.
“We believe (alcohol) will stimulate a little economic development, but only time will tell how much revenue it will generate for the community,” he added.
Duvall said the city also plan to revisit its trash collection bid and must review the medical needs of the community. Duvall said the county has provided excellent assistance but adding city ambulance services could offer quick aid for residents and improve the city’s financial stature.
“The city of Radcliff has to find ways to generate revenue beyond collecting taxes,” Duvall added.
Councilman Don Yates said Duvall has performed admirably and his administration has been one of the most endearing he’s worked with.
“It’s been a great year,” Yates said.
Marty Finley can be reached at (270) 505-1762 or email@example.com.
MAYORS ON THE JOB: A look at the first year in office for Hardin County's three new mayors and what they hope to achieve in 2012.
WEDNESDAY: Vine Grove Mayor Blake Proffitt
FRIDAY: Elizabethtown Mayor Tim Walker