Alma City Councilman Jerry Martin announced his candidacy for mayor of the City of Alma.
Martin was elected to the Alma City Council in 2016, winning his seat over the incumbent and another candidate.
He was recently voted one of the top three elected officials in the Southwest Times Record Best of the Best.
Martin has been instrumental in bringing transparency and accountability to the governing body of Alma, and as mayor, Martin wants to continue bringing transparency by implementing a system called the “open checkbook,” he said
“With a couple clicks of a mouse, Alma citizens will be able to see dates, vendor paid, amount of payment and source of funding or department,” Martin said. “I want our city to be transparent to the public on how tax dollars are spent. Transparency and accountability are very important to me and the rest of the city council.”
One of Martin’s first actions as a city councilman was to sponsor an ordinance unanimously supported by the entire council which mandated that tax money earmarked for the Alma Fire Department stay within the budget of the fire department.
“A one-cent tax that was supported by the citizens of Alma was supposed to be divided 50 percent to streets, 40 percent to police and 10 percent to fire,” Martin said. “What was happening, because of a loophole in how the tax was written, money from the tax not spent by the fire department was being rolled back into the general fund by the mayor and was unaccounted for. That left the fire department dependent on bond money for future items, which is something we desperately needed to get away from.”
Residents of Alma supported a bond for parks and recreation because they were told it would be to fund all or a portion of the costs of new - or improvements to existing - park and recreational facilities, any necessary land acquisition, equipment and parking, drainage, lighting and utility improvements, Martin said. Instead, the bond money was being used for general maintenance of the water park and to purchase new trucks, all of which should have been budgeted and paid for from the general fund, he said.
“When I discovered what was happening I quickly sponsored an ordinance, which also was supported unanimously by the council, that restricted the mayor’s ability to spend bond money without the approval of the city council,” Martin said. “Since the citizens of Alma have always been so supportive when bonds were needed I would never want to lose their trust.”
Martin also sponsored an ordinance, which passed unanimously, that put in place a vetting process for selection of planning commission members, mandated training for commission members on current zoning laws and regulations, and brought transparency to the commission.
“I am asking the citizens of Alma to let me continue serving our city,” Martin said. “As mayor, I will be committed to fiscal responsibility and transparency. I will be committed to adopting a comprehensive land use plan that identifies areas for redevelopment, like the downtown area, and promotes new development and economic development. I will be committed to citywide beautification and quality of life improvements. Most importantly, I want to get past the games and politics and create a culture that unites our citizens, attracts families to our city and retains our younger generations.”
After college, Martin worked for a promotions company where he became a trainer within six months of employment. He was later elevated to regional vice president after his first year of employment, a position in which he was responsible for ice shows, circuses, concerts and family variety shows, setting company records for gross and net receipts.
Martin began his broadcasting career in 1994 and has been responsible for promoting country artists, artist development and programming radio stations, in addition to having one of the most listened to radio shows in the area.
“It will be an honor to serve as Mayor of Alma,” Martin said. “I see the potential for Alma. Now we need to take action so that we see results that benefit the city as a whole. I have the respect of the city council and we already have proven our ability to work together even when we don’t agree without attacking each other personally. Our city is better than what we have had and it is time to move forward.”
Martin and his wife Donna (Jernigan) have six children and eight grandchildren.
“We have been very blessed with a wonderful family and expect our family will continue to grow,” Martin said. “Alma is our home and we want this to be where our children and grandchildren want to raise their families.”