FULTONVILLE — Growing up in Fultonville, Timothy Morford said there was always plenty to do in the village thanks to locals.
“We made stuff to do, whether it was go to the creek and fish, riding bikes everywhere or coming across people who did fun things in the village,” Morford recalled.
Now cultivating cherished memories for the next generation of village natives by revitalizing the community and launching local activities are priorities for the Fultonville mayor-elect.
“I want to promote local businesses, I want to bring more families into the village, I want to make this a fun place to live,” Morford said. “I want to make Fultonville better, that’s what I’m all about.”
Morford on Tuesday was elected to his first term as mayor with 73 votes after running unopposed. He will assume office on April 1. Outgoing Mayor Linda Petterson-Law did not seek re-election.
A vacancy will be left on the Board of Trustees by the ascension of Morford. He is the sitting deputy mayor and was re-elected to a four-year term on the board last year.
Village officials have already begun discussing potential candidates for the forthcoming vacancy, according to Morford.
A resident from Paleen Manor is likely to be selected to provide representation to the residential development within the village.
“They feel left out of the decision making process for Fultonville, which they shouldn’t be, they’re part of this village,” Morford said.
Expanding public participation in the local government process is a priority for Morford, who plans to begin livestreaming meetings on Fultonville’s recently created Facebook page.
Community engagement overall could use a boost through the creation of family friendly village activities in addition to the annual Easter egg hunt Morford has organized for around six years.
Kids of all ages will again hunt for eggs stuffed with candy and sometimes cash at the village park on April 8 at 10 a.m.
“Get there a little early, because at 10:01 it’s over. It’s a mad dash,” Morford said.
The repertoire of local events will potentially be broadened to include farmers markets and an annual music festival.
Plans are already being developed to launch a beautification committee to help spruce up the community.
Furthermore, Morford said incentivizing landowners to maintain their properties is essential. He is mulling options to reward compliance with local regulations and penalize blight.
The comprehensive approach is geared towards retaining and attracting new families to the community and by extension businesses to grow the local tax base and spread out the burden.
Officials are working on next year’s budget due in April, which may include a tax increase to cover rising sewer expenses, according to Morford.
The village is further grappling with options to repay financing from past infrastructure projects undertaken by previous administrations.
“It came out of left field, we didn’t know about them,” Morford said. “That is one of my top priorities to either condense it or figure out a way to get a grant.”
Fultonville owes over $1 million on three different loans present day officials only recently learned exist, according to Morford, who is searching for options to consolidate the debt.
Building relationships with surrounding communities, Montgomery County and state officials to access programs and grant opportunities to support Fultonville will be vital.
“I will do whatever it takes to get grants and money from wherever I can to help this village,” Morford said.
While there are challenges ahead, Morford is looking forward to stepping into the role of mayor and is optimistic about the future for Futlonville
“I want to start Fultonville off with a fresh, new start where we’re looking forward, not backwards,” Morford said. “People love it here for good reason, it’s a great place to live.”
Reach Ashley Onyon at [email protected] or @AshleyOnyon on Twitter.