Mayor Joseph Hughes of Locust Fork
Joseph Hughes, Mayor of Locust Fork
- Attended Marion Military Institute and studied public relations at Auburn University
- Works in the highway construction industry, first in his family business and now with APAC.
- Asked by the former mayor to fill a vacant position on the Locust Fork Planning Commission in 2006. Shortly after, he was nominated to the town council and ran for mayor in 2009 when his council term ended.
- Spends free time field trialing throughout the Southeast
Mayor Hughes on the difficulties facing small towns: Locust Fork has around 1,300 citizens. We are a bedroom community to Birmingham and Cullman. Being a town with little tax base, it's tough to provide services and grow. Our biggest problem is not having a sanitary sewer system. We have tried to make it happen through federal grants and state funds. We hired an engineer and designed the system without having a funding source. Ultimately, it wouldn't fund itself and other sources aren't available. We need a sewer system to attract new businesses and restaurants. They won't locate in a town without one.
On creating projects with a tight budget: We recently purchased a rescue truck for the fire department. We have an agreement with the Blount County Sheriffs Department in which deputies patrol the town, eliminating the need for a police force. We are paving the worst roads throughout the municipality. We are working with St. Vincent's to create a medical clinic in town, as we have no doctors here. The clinic will be up and running in July. We are building a community center for town events and gatherings. All of this is being done while borrowing very little money and trying to stay within our means.
On the future: Prior to the economic crash a few years ago, we had proposals of new subdivisions every month. There was a lot of suggested new growth. As the economy grows, so will Locust Fork. I think people will migrate into our area and as they arrive, their desires and demands for services will put pressure on the town and we will rise to their demands.