April 3 Election

Frostproof Incumbent Faces Challenger

Eric Courtney is running against City Council member Ralph Waters.

Published: Monday, March 26, 2012 at 11:34 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, March 26, 2012 at 11:34 p.m.

FROSTPROOF | Eric E. Courtney, 48, is making his second run for the Frostproof City Council this year, trying to unseat incumbent Ralph Waters in Seat 5 in next Tuesday's municipal election.


Eric E. Courtney

Age: 48
Occupation: Owner of Eric Courtney Handyman Services and works for his son's company, Aaron Construction Com., doing carpentry work.
Family: Single, with four children and 10 grandchildren.
Education: President of Frostproof Baseball and Dixie Youth Softball, recently retired chief umpire.
Education: Graduate of Frostproof High School, student of University of Phoenix for an education degree, with plans to become a third- or fourth-grade teacher.

Ralph Waters
Age: 66
Occupation: Executive director of the Frostproof Care Center.
Family: Married for 47 years, with four grown children, 11 grandchildren and three great grandchildren.
Education: Master's of Divinity from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary at Wake Forest, N.C., and a bachelor's degree in psychology and sociology from West Georgia College (now the University of West Georgia) in Carrollton, Ga.
Civic Involvement: Member of the Frostproof Ministerial Association, the Frostproof Rotary Club, and past president of the Frostproof Chamber of Commerce.

Last year, Courtney was defeated by incumbent Anne Dickinson.

Waters ran unopposed in 2009 for his first three-year term. This is the first time he will face an opponent.

Courtney said he wants to join the City Council for many reasons, but mostly to have native Frostproof residents in place of transplanted residents.

"We need more people from here taking care of the people who live here," he said.

That was one of his concerns last year, although he said Dickinson — a native of Frostproof — is still the only person on the council who is from Frostproof and has lived there her whole life.

Waters, who has lived in the city since August 1989, said he just wants to be able to serve the community.

When he was first elected, he said, he had no idea how much was involved in running even a small city government.

Friends encouraged him to seek office again, so he did, he said.

"They felt I had done a good three years," Waters said. "I don't always agree with others, but I'm willing to speak when I disagree."

Courtney, a youth baseball and softball organizer, wants to make sure the city's youth have recreational activities and facilities.

But the biggest issues for both candidates are water and sewer rates.

Citing recent meetings during which council members discussed raising utility bills to help the city weather financial strain, Courtney said that may not be the answer.

"Even if it's slight, a lot of people can't afford (an increase)," Courtney said.

He would like to find out whether water deposits encourage new residents to move inside the city limits or if the city can encourage more businesses to move in to help the local economy.

Courtney also said there are other areas where the city can conserve resources, such as shutting off unnecessary lights.

Waters said opinions differ in the community about whether the economy is improving, but he has confidence that city staff keeps both the city and its residents in mind.

"They care about the people in the town," he said.

Waters also wants to see more people involved in city government so they can help make a difference.

As a clergyman, he encourages spiritual people to get involved, too.

City Council members serve three-year terms and get paid a stipend of $100 per month.

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