When Jarratt’s City Council gets together for its next meeting, there will be four new faces at the table.
This past May’s election brought M.B. Rideout, Roderic Tuell, Omar Smith, and returning Councilman Cecil McCoy to the body, and saw the departure of Councilwomen Melanie Wilson and Kristen Grizzard in addition to the departure of Michael Lee Grizzard and Steven Gillam. The Grizzards and Gillam did not seek re-election; Wilson challenged incumbent Mayor Ken Warf unsuccessfully.
Rideout was a last-minute addition to the ballot. In fact, he wasn’t even on the printed selections for Council.
“I decided at the last minute to run,” Rideout said. “I was selected by write-in, and I feel blessed that I got that many people to give me a try at it.”
Tuell, a Jarratt resident since 2000, said he sought his seat on Council because he thinks there’s room for development and wants to help bring more business to Jarratt.
As for issues, Tuell said Jarratt’s budget as it relates to spending on the development of Wilson’s Barbecue, the Johns-Manville Clubhouse and the Town’s ongoing drainage problems attracted him to serve.
“I can’t see putting more money into the (Johns-Manville) Clubhouse,” Tuell said. “As a Council we have to see what’s best for that property so people can benefit, especially the people and Town of Jarratt.”
New Councilman Omar Smith, who manages a Food Lion store, said public involvement has always been part of the company’s mission and he sees this as an extension of that into his personal life.
“I wanted to do my part for the community,” Smith said.
Having lived in Jarratt for 16 years, Smith said he’s interested in seeing where the Johns-Manville Clubhouse project goes, and wants to take on the Town’s drainage issues as well.
“We need to wrap that up,” Smith said.
McCoy said he sought to return to Council because, he said, he felt he could be helpful to the citizens.
“I hope I will be able to work with the citizens more,” McCoy said. “And I hope more people will start coming to the meetings.”
Jarratt Mayor Ken Warf said he was grateful so many were willing to get involved in leading the Town forward.
“It’s not an easy thing they’ve taken on,” Warf said. “But I’m really impressed that they did, and thankful for their interest in serving the needs of the Town of Jarratt. Not everybody is willing to do this, and they deserve a lot of credit for choosing to do so.”
Featured Photo: Roger Bell/Sussex-Surry Dispatch
Greensville County Clerk of Court Bobby Wrenn, right, swears in members of Jarratt City Council June 30. Left to right: Council President James Wyche, Councilwoman Annie Peavy, and new Council members M.B. Rideout, Cecil McCoy, Omar Smith and Roderic Tuell.