CENTRAL, LA — Central’s first and only mayor says he will not be seeking a third elected term in next April’s city elections.
Mac Watts was first appointed by Governor Kathleen Blanco in July 2007 to serve on an unpaid, interim basis after the City of Central was first formed, then he won back-to-back elections for two additional four-year teams, helping to see Central grow from its fledging beginnings to now become one of the larger, more financially sound and economically robust cities in all our Louisiana.
“After much discussion with my family, I am deciding to not seek re-election after this term,” Watts said. “With that said, I intend to give the City of Central my full attention through my last day in office on June 30, 2014.”
“I felt that now was the right time to announce my decision,” he said. “With eight months until our next election, I want to give qualified citizens who love Central ample opportunity to consider serving as our next mayor.”
The election for the next Mayor of Central is April 5, 2014. Qualifying for the race begins in February 2014.
During Mayor Watts’ two-plus terms, the City of Central grew from a concept into a reality, becoming the 12th largest city in Louisiana with the unique distinction of privatizing its city services. Since then, the city has become one of the most financially sound local governments, with a $18 surplus: $8 million in the General Fund and $10 million in dedicated funds.
Mayor Watts credits the creation and success of Central to the hard work of a core group of visionary citizens, and the support and belief of the voters and taxpayers. Mayor Watts added, “Central owes its quick startup and financial stability to the decision to privatize city services. Privatization has helped Central thrive while many cities across the nation are struggling. I am proud of this accomplishment, and I am hopeful that Central’s next leaders will be good stewards of the financial success they will inherit.”
Watts also touted recent work on the comprehensive Master Plan as another milestone for the young city.
“Central is a very large and rural city. In order to preserve the look and feel of our community it was necessary to embark on the Master Planning process which has resulted in healthy opportunities for economic development while maintaining the rural fabric of Central,” Mayor Watts said. He noted that the process is in its final few months and includes new zoning classifications and design standards for construction as well as consideration of where Central’s “City Center” and City Hall would eventually be built.
“I have spent my entire adult life serving the people of Central, first as a teacher and coach, then as a principal and now as Mayor. Every step in this process has been an honor and a privilege,” he said.
Watts noted that he had first agreed to serve only 6 to 8 weeks as interim Mayor, but that stretched into over a year.
“Then I learned that lesson we all do, never to say never,” he said. “The first mayoral election was upon us and there was so much left to be accomplished that I felt like it was the right thing to do for me and the community that I love. And I can honestly say that I’ve enjoyed serving as the city’s mayor.”
“Now nine short years later, I have met with my family and we agreed that it is time to hand over the reins to Central’s next Mayor in 2014. Central is a tremendous success story and I am humbled to have been even a small part of that story. I believe the foundation has been laid for a great future, and I look forward to watching our City of Central grow to be even better.”