Jo Ann TrotterJo Ann Trotter is a program eligibility analyst at the Arkansas Department of Human Services and serves on the Monticello Parks and Recreation Commission.

This is the fourth in a series of candidate profiles of the five candidates for Monticello mayor. Each candidate is running in a special election in June to complete the term of the late mayor Allen Maxwell which ends on December 31. They are also running in the November General Election for the upcoming 4-year term which begins January 1, 2015. In this series of unedited interviews, candidates were asked to respond in writing to 12 questions. The series will run through Saturday.

SEARK TODAY: Do you think there are budget areas in which the city is spending too much and/or not enough money? Explain.

TROTTER: This issue is to be determined once I become mayor because then I can take a much closer look at what’s coming in and what’s going out.

SEARK TODAY: Do you anticipate a need to increase city water, garbage and/or sewer rates during the next four years?

TROTTER: At point water rates will have to be increased in order to pay for the new pipes and the new meters, it was said by past Mayor Maxwell that it will cost 10 million dollars but truth be total it’s going to be more like 18 million dollars.

Jo Ann Trotter

Biographical sketch

SEARK TODAY: Would you support or oppose an initiative to get the wet/dry issue on the ballot in Marion Township? Why?

TROTTER: I would prefer that the people who live in the Marion township determine if they want a wet or dry township.

SEARK TODAY: How would you build consensus in a community with a broad range of competing interests and demands?

TROTTER: I would listen to all the ideas and analyze each project to see if it is feasible for the community and if it will be beneficial for everyone. And more importantly I would conduct town hall meetings in each ward periodically.

SEARK TODAY: Do you have a four-year plan, illustrating your vision for the city, in the event you are elected? If so, what are the primary points in that plan? Be as concise as possible.

TROTTER: Yes.

(1) Help promote business ownership and support small businesses in order to build economic value and produce a more prosperous community.

(2) Work to keep tax dollars in the community by promoting the use of local businesses and professionals.

(3) Work to assist local youth enhancement programs and organizations with financial stability in order maintain facilities that continue to build a more solid future for our young people.

(4) Help promote Monticello nationally and internationally as a good place to do business in order to help bring new businesses to the area.

(5) Support the University of Arkansas at Monticello technical colleges so that we can have trained people to be ready in steel mills and so on.

SEARK TODAY: Explain why you chose to run as a Democrat, Republican or independent (whichever applies to you)?

TROTTER: I chose to run as an Independent because I am an independent thinker and there are something’s that I like in each party. All I can say is that I am a hard worker and I don’t like wasting money because you have work too hard to get it and you should always be a good steward when it comes to spending other people’s money.

SEARK TODAY: Describe the ideal mayor.

TROTTER: An ideal mayor has to be willing to be a servant to the people and treat them with respect and not look down on them.

SEARK TODAY: What can you bring to this position your opponents cannot?

TROTTER: For one I have been a servant for the City of Monticello as well as the State of Arkansas for years. I bring hard work and dedication and I believe that everyone has a voice and not just certain groups of people, because if you pay your taxes, spend your money and live here you should have a voice. With that being said I’m focused on what matters the most and it’s the people of Monticello. I understand what it means to have economic growth here in the city because I worked at Burlington Industries for years and I know how it feels to be without employment and during that tenure the City of Monticello as well as surrounding cities suffered a great loss.

SEARK TODAY: If your name was not on the ballot, which one of your opponents would you vote for and why?

TROTTER: UNDECIDED

Situational (Hypothetical) Questions:

SEARK TODAY: You have $1 million. You can (hypothetically) appropriate it to anyone or all of the following areas: Economic Development, Recreation, Capital Improvements, and/or Infrastructure. How would you appropriate it and why?

TROTTER: I honestly would look at each area of need and distribute the funds as evenly as possible.

SEARK TODAY: A heated city council meeting begins to get out of control. How do you address it?

TROTTER: If the meeting is too out of control I will end the meeting or have Chief Deaton and his department to diffuse the situation.

SEARK TODAY: Two of your strongest supporters come to you, with competing interests, asking for your support. How do you respond?

TROTTER: First of all I don’t believe in favoritism. I would ask each supporter for a proposal and present it to the city council and the city attorney so that it can be discussed.

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