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Harrisburg  City Hall

Harrisburg City Hall is shown in a provided photo.

HARRISBURG — There are a lot of people who see the same thing in Harrisburg — a city that needs help.

There are 14 people running for four seats on the city’s four-person council. Richard Harper, Natalie Miller and Mike Wierauch are all running for re-election.

Harper said he has taken care of the city’s books in one capacity of the other for more than a decade. He previously had been the city’s treasurer and has served one term as commissioner. He said he hopes to keep up his work with the city’s finances.

A big theme among many of the candidates was the belief that Harrisburg is on hard times and in need of some TLC and new ways of thinking.

“I think the city of Harrisburg is in trouble,” Rupert Johnson said in an interview.

He and fellow candidate Raymond Gunning said they see Harrisburg’s population drop as other neighboring communities see a boost.

“We’ve got a lot of people moving out of here for lack of jobs, high taxes, you name it,” Johnson said.

Gunning said he’d like to see the city sell cheap, or even donate, land to those looking to start businesses.

“We’ve got to change something,” he said.

Ronald Fearheiley has previously served as a water and sewer employee in Harrisburg for 30 years, and has also served one term as a commissioner, from 2011 to 2015. He also served as mayor pro tem. As someone who has worked on both sides of the city, he would like to keep giving back to a town that he said has been good to him.

Ron Morse, who previously served as the city’s mayor, said he has “the experience, education and time on his side” now that he is retired to do a good job as a member of the City Council.

Fiscal responsibility was of chief concern for several candidates.

“The City Council has to be a good steward of taxpayer money. We have to operate within a budget while giving the taxpayers great value for their money," candidate Bobby Brown wrote in response to a questionnaire from the Harrisburg Daily Register, which he provided to the newspaper.

Similarly, incumbent Natalie Brown Miller was concerned about taxes and the city’s spending.

“Last year I voted no to increase the City’s tax levy and promise to continue to vote no to increase taxes if elected. I believe the City needs to find ways to save money,” she wrote in her responses to the Daily Register questionnaire, which she also provided to the newspaper.

Wierauch said finances are a big part of why he’s running again — he was appointed to the City Council two years ago. He said a city like Harrisburg that is seeing declining revenue cannot continue to spend the way it has. He said the city has to be run like a business — don’t spend more than you bring in.

“People are going to have to watch the checkbook,” he said.

Brown said he believes in leading by example and finding ways of helping people in the city, which is why he is planning to donate his salary as a commissioner to the Harrisburg school lunch program.

Roger Angelly said he just wants to help build a more positive view of the city and help improve its representation in the community.

“I want to project a positive image of the town,” Angelly said.

Shawn Turner’s name is on the ballot, but he told The Southern he planned to move out of the state in July.

Attempts to reach candidates Jamie T. Lambert, Paul R. Pyle, Zachary Gibbons and David Reed were unsuccessful.

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isaac.smith@thesouthern.com

618-351-5823

On Twitter: @ismithreports

marilyn.halstead@thesouthern.com

618-351-5078

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Reporter

Isaac Smith is a reporter covering Jackson County.

Reporter

Marilyn Halstead is a reporter covering Williamson County.

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