Oxford gets a new face on council

OXFORD -- The city started off the New Year with a new face on the City Council.

After winning the Post 4 seat with nearly 74 percent of the vote in the November election, Sue Dale took over for the retiring Emma Lou Patterson.

Oxford City Council members Terry Smith and Jim Windham ran unopposed in the 2009 election, allowing them to be re-elected to their posts. The terms of the remaining council members -- Frank Davis, George Holt and Hoyt Oliver -- will expire in 2012.

Oxford Mayor Jerry Roseberry said he is looking forward to working with Dale and the other council members to move the city forward in 2010.

At Monday night's City Council meeting, the council renewed annual contracts for City Clerk Carol Poole, Police Chief Clark Miller, City Attorney David Strickland, Municipal Court Judge Steven A. Hathorn and Municipal Court Solicitor Quader Baig. Roseberry said Poole's duties recently were expanded to include management of the city's daily operations and her new title will be city clerk/city administrator.

Roseberry also set committee assignments for the councilmen during the meeting.

He said he wanted to take advantage of Dale's expertise by naming her chair of the personnel committee, which Oliver served over last year. Dale, who is human resources manager at Oxford College, has a master's degree in business management and a background of senior level management in health care operations. Dale also is overseeing public safety, parks and trees.

Other committee assignments include Holt over finance and oversight; Oliver over planning, zoning, storm water and cemetery; Davis over streets, sidewalks and solid waste; Terry Smith over utilities and public works; and Windham over buildings and grounds.

At the meeting, Roseberry also announced that the city has signed a contract with Robert and Company to rewrite the city's zoning ordinances for about $27,000.

He also said that the city has closed the loan financing for the new $1.6 million community center/city hall. Construction of the new building started in December and is expected to be complete by June or July; Roseberry said the construction crews have experienced some setbacks due to rain, but they hope to make it up as the project continues.

The city's upcoming work session will include a presentation on comprehensive planning by the Newton County Collaborative. The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. Jan. 25 in the Oxford community center and will be open to the public.