At the City Council retreat held recently, discussion turned to a question of how much the community really knows about the city council and what it does. We’ll be periodically featuring members of the city council, as well as city department heads to help our readers really understand how these folks work for and with us. Jack Jones, alderman for Ward 1, led the discussion at the retreat and emphasized the importance of educating city members as to the council’s work.
I sat down with Alderman Jones this week to talk about the city council and how he came to be involved with it. Jack and his wife Peggy moved to Mineola in 1995. He had been an avid fisher at Lake Fork and found he enjoyed Mineola when he came into town for supplies on his fishing trips. Jones says he’s always been an active community member. When fellow Methodist Men member Lou Miller approached him in 2007 and encouraged him to run for city council, he agreed. He served a two-year term before recruiting Ken Pearce to run to take his place. With Ken’s advancement to Mayor, Jack decided to re-enter the council race. His personal goal is to recruit a younger alderman to keep a fresh perspective in the Council. “Of course, to me, 55-70 is a young man” he laughs. Jones will be 82 on July 4 of this year.
Jack sees a lot of assets in our community. He lists “friendly people, good schools, good police, decent climate, relatively low taxes, cheap housing, and good water” as some of the best parts of Mineola. He’s also proud of the waste-water plant. “People are sent here to observe it because it’s so advanced” he beams. The city’s biggest challenge is keeping those great things going, according to the alderman.
Mr. Jones envisions a Mineola 20 years from now as one that has grown but retained its small-town atmosphere. Increased industrial development and an active community play a part in his vision as well. To that end, Jack sees city growth and industrial development as the city’s most important current focuses.
When I asked what he wanted the community to know about the city council, Jones emphasized the vastness of the council’s involvement in the decisions that affect Mineola. “We approve everything at the waste disposal plant; approve staffing for the water works and the streets; take recommendations from the city administrator, and then we have to find the money. We make requests to the Meredith Foundation.” Essentially, everything that happens in Mineola is filtered through the council in some way, I learned. That’s precisely what Jack Jones wants his community to know: the city council is intimately involved in our city’s growth and development, and they need the community to become truly involved, instead of only coming to council meetings to voice complaints.