New Alexander mayor seeks change, sense of community

Lisa Burnett Originally Published January 10, 2013 at 12:00 a.m.
Updated January 8, 2013 at 3:24 p.m.
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PHOTO BY: Curt Youngblood

Michelle Hobbs is the new mayor of Alexander. Hobbs was appointed by the City Council and will serve for two years.

— After a 12-year stint on the Alexander City Council, Michelle Hobbs, the new mayor of Alexander, is looking to change the city for the better.

She was appointed by the City Council and will be in the mayoral position for two years, during which she looks forward to making some changes within the community.

“I’m looking forward to getting the city back on track,” Hobbs said. “I’m pro-city, and I’m for the people.”

Hobbs is replacing Paul Mitchell, who was removed from office by Alexander voters in November 2012. Mitchell had served as mayor since January 2010 and was called “ineffective” during the 18 months he was in the position, according to an August 2012 article by the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette.

Hobbs’ first day as mayor was Dec. 17.

“I think everybody deserves great leadership,” she said.

Other than internal issues, Hobbs said, she wants to bring the city together by working with the public.

“My plans are to work with the people and try to get the city back to where it needs to be,” Hobbs said.

There is a community center in Alexander that is rented out on occasion, but Hobbs said she hopes to see the center used daily.

“I would like to see the city get up to date,” Hobbs said.

She wants to see Alexander have another type of center where adult computer classes could be offered.

“We could have someone donate computers to us where we could get that started,” Hobbs said.

Alexander Police Chief Horace Walters, who has been with the Police Department since 2010, said he is “very pleased” to be working with Hobbs.

“I’m looking forward to getting a lot of work done in Alexander,” Walters said. “[Hobbs] gives you tasks and then follows up on them.”

After serving on the City Council for more than a decade, Hobbs said, she wants the community to work together and not have the animosity that it has had in the past.

“She’s already shown what she can do [as a mayor] during this snowstorm,” Walters said.

While the Alexander Police and Fire departments were cutting and moving trees after the snow and ice in late December, Walters said Hobbs was with the departments the entire time, helping where she could.

When Hobbs was first elected to the Alexander City Council, she was the youngest member.

She previously served as city recorder, a position in which she was responsible for records and minutes in City Council meetings, she said.

Hobbs said some of the streets in Alexander need to be repaired, and the city “desperately” needs to be cleaned up.

Woodland Hills is one of the areas that Walters said needs attention. He said the streets need to be paved, the ditches need to be cleaned, and more streetlights are needed.

“I would like to see us have a planning commission,” Hobbs said. “I plan on getting that restarted.”

Hobbs said she also wants to encourage any business that is interested in building or developing in Alexander to do so.

“I would love to have any businesses [here],” Hobbs said.

Staff writer Lisa Burnett can be reached at (501) 244-4307 or lburnett@arkansasonline.com.

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