Waterville mayoral candidates Loyd Smith, Chuck Driver and Jill Thompson answer questions at a public forum held June 28 in Waterville’s Pioneer Park.

WATERVILLE — Sewer system upgrades.

It may not be the flashiest campaign platform, but all three candidates running for Waterville mayor said that’ll be the first item on their list if elected.

They’re running to replace Royal DeVaney, who’s retiring after 27 years as mayor.

A fourth candidate, J.D. Greening, also began a campaign before dropping out at a public forum on June 28, the Douglas County Empire Press reported.

But because the election is so near, his name will still appear on the Aug. 6 primary ballot, Douglas County Auditor Thad Duvall said.

The three remaining candidates — Loyd C. Smith, Charles Driver and Jill D. Thompson — are all town council members and have seen development in Waterville slow to a trickle due to infrastructure limitations, they said.

“The first priority would be the infrastructure, because right now that’s our big problem,” Smith said.

With both its water and sewer systems near capacity, the town implemented a building moratorium last year.

“We’ve got the water stuff pretty well under control now, our main problem is the sewer,” Driver said. If elected, controlled growth would be a priority for Driver.

“Waterville is in a pretty good place right now. I want to continue build Waterville, bring new events to town and I want to have an open-door policy for anybody that wants to meet the mayor or city staff,” he said.

Once the infrastructure issues have been addressed, economic development will be a top priority for Waterville, Thompson said.

“If we’re going to survive, then we need to grow a little bit,” she said. “We know with our infrastructure, that our growth needs to be controlled. But we know with our downtown that the changes I would like to see is the tourism industry needs to grow a little more. Not to become an artificial destination like Leavenworth has become, but to highlight our historical pioneering heritage.”

For Smith, creating incentives for the business community will be an important step forward, he said.

“The problem with a lot of small towns, just like what we’re experiencing, is our retail sales area have gone into what I call a ‘stagnant static,’” Smith said. “A lot of the small businesses have moved and what we’d like to do is create some kind of incentive for them to become more active in the community.”

Reilly Kneedler: 661-5213

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