Davis sees landfill, recycling as main issues

Wednesday, December 31, 2008

There's good news and bad news for the election campaign to be waged by Lewisburg's 4th Ward councilman who's recognized issues are intermingled.

"The hardest thing about being a councilman is you can't please everybody," Councilman Hershel Davis said when asked about his first four years in office. "I found that out through the landfill expansion."

Lewisburg adopted state law on landfills. It gave the Council authority over whether an application should be stopped, or allowed to be considered by the state.

"Some of my friends didn't care for it and some did," Davis said. "The majority of them wanted it [Cedar Ridge Landfill] finished," he said.

The results could be free dumping for the city if the state permits Waste Management Inc. to expand Cedar Ridge. It's been valued at $130,000 annually for the city. Davis voted to let the application proceed.

Davis represents Ward 2. It includes Rolling Hills, Green Valley and White Acres.

"We are the first to recycle," Davis said of the area where city garbage trucks collect recyclable paper, plastic and metals.

"It's one of the better things we've accomplished," Davis said. "If we get the rest of Lewisburg involved, we'll get rid of a lot of garbage."

Acknowledging landfill issues, Davis says four years ago, "What I looked for when I started was the new business park on State Route 373, and it is just now beginning to get off the ground.

"There always has been some controversy about it," he said. "We have an industrial park. (The business park) does seem slow in developing out there, it's come a long way in the last three years."

Two businesses have made the business park home. But while Sanford is closing its pencil factory here, the pen company considered building an ink plant here. Manchester offered free land. Lewisburg didn't.

"I'd like to see it stay in the running," Davis said of the new park, "but it's a fine line to what you should give away and then what you should sell. We've got money tied up in it." And there's a program to grant property taxes for new industry.

Davis because a councilman in May 2005.

As for why he'd want to be a councilman, Davis replied, "I've asked that myself several times, but I've enjoyed it and it occupies my time.

"My health is still reasonably good, and I know what it's about," he said. "I stayed in the county school system for some 20 years so I had dealt with the public some then."

Born and raised in Marshall County, Davis married Nancy Liggett in 1954. He's always lived in the same part of town. His home is across the street from Fred's Discount Store.

The Davises are members of the Church Street Church of Christ and they have four sons: Steve, Scott, Stanley, and Sheldon, and 11 grandchildren.

He's a 1951 graduate of Marshall County High School.

He started working for the county as a foreman for the school system's maintenance department. After about a year he became supervisor of maintenance. He retired in 2005. Before that job, Davis ran his own maintenance and construction business for about 14 years.

Davis was recently elected chairman of the city's Water and Wastewater Board for three years, and he serves on the city's recreation board. While not a member of other panels, Davis attends gas and electric department board meetings.

When not attending meetings and making decisions, Davis likes "to fish any kind you catch on a hook," and, he says, "I do a little bowling."