There will be two new faces on the Berea City Council for the next two years. Former council member Chester Powell and newcomer Chad Hembree will join Diane Kerby, Billy Wagers, Violet “Vi” Farmer, Ronnie Terrill, Virgil Burnside and Jerry Little to sit on the council which governs all who live within Berea’s city limits.
From a field of 13 candidates, voters selected eight to serve on the council.
The top eight vote-getters are: Kerby with 2,807 votes, Wagers with 2,745 votes, Farmer with 2,665 votes, Powell with 2,581 votes, Terrill with 2,540 votes, Hembree with 2,520 votes, Burnside with 2,487 votes and Little with 2,481 votes. Incumbent Richard Bellando was not re-elected, finishing in 10th place with 2,193 votes.
Meet the council
Diane Kerby, 60
Her first year as a council member was spent “learning the ropes,” Kerby said.
The issue of long-term financial planning is one of the largest tasks before the council, she said.
“We’re in good financial shape, but I think we need to do some contingency planning in regards to revenue services to diversify our revenue strand,” Kerby said. “A large part of our revenue comes from the occupational license tax.”
Addressing the community’s drug issue also is on Kerby’s agenda.
“I know a lot of those things (incorporated in addressing the issue of substance abuse) is beyond the control of a city council, but we should help the people who are trying to address them.”
When it comes to the proposal to add protection to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender) community into the city’s existing human rights ordinance, “I think we need to address the issues of human rights and the inclusiveness within the community. We need to work with the Human Rights Commission and their outreach efforts.”
Billy Wagers, 66
This will mark the third council term for Wagers, who is the former owner and pharmacist for Berea Drug.
Economic development, transportation and maintaining a professional work force of the city through retirements and attrition are “huge” issues for Wagers.
When it comes to making traveling through the city as pleasant and efficient as possible, special attention needs to be paid to Menelaus Road, US 25 N, the Berea Bypass and Scaffold Cane Road, he said.
Maintaining a healthy work force for the city should be given serious thought because “we’re going to lose many employees that have been here for 20-plus years, and it is time to consider the replacement of many employees from top to bottom,” Wagers said.