Booker, Swan challenging Worley for Collierville Alderman Position 3

By , Daily Memphian Updated: October 13, 2020 4:00 AM CT | Published: October 13, 2020 4:00 AM CT

Harold Booker and Thomas Swan want to bring fresh perspective and a different background to the Collierville Board of Mayor and Aldermen.

But Position 3 incumbent alderman John Worley, a local homebuilder, believes he has done well in looking out for the town over the past eight years and would like to retain his seat for a third term.


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The small town charm is a reason so many move to Collierville and three candidates have varying ideas of retaining that atmosphere as the town grows. They want to listen to residents, but also help Collierville stay strong and responsible with finances in the midst of the pandemic.

<strong>John Worley</strong>

John Worley

Worley, who has lived in Collierville since 1983, was first elected in 2012. Although term limits were adopted in 2017, the law did not count aldermen in office before 2018. 

“I understand Collierville, I’ve listened to the residents,” Worley said. “I want to make solid decisions based on the information that is given to me for the betterment of the residents and to help protect our citizens.” 

<strong>Harold Booker</strong>

Harold Booker

Booker, who is retired from the U.S. Army, moved to Collierville 12 years ago because his wife was stationed at the Navy base at Millington. He spent the last 11 years on the board of Southridge’s homeowner’s association, three as president. Developments south of Tenn. 385, specifically prior proposals of Oliver’s Crossing that included a denser residential component, spurred him to seek office.

“I was observing how board members handled the situation instead of dealing with it,” he said. “The board was trying to figure out how they could support allowing this to be built.”


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He claimed the board was making decisions in their own interest rather than those of residents.

<strong>Thomas Swan</strong>

Thomas Swan

Swan, a 15 year-resident, is interested in the future his children will have in the town. He also wants to see Collierville be fiscally responsible and wise with its resources.

Development

Residents choose to live in Collierville because of the high-performing schools and excellent public safety. The town has tremendous potential to grow since it is not landlocked and can annex. Some see that as a threat to Collierville’s quaintness.

“We have to have sustainable controlled growth,” he said. “We must have our developments looked at and keep them accountable for what they are doing.”

Collierville had a 2020 land use plan, followed by the current 2040 plan. Worley, along with about two dozen residents, helped craft the future plans. He said the 2040 plan must serve as a “guide” for future growth and development.

Worley said in June 2016, he thought a developer should install a sewer as part of a project in the southwest part of town. 


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“I was for controlling growth, that developers need to pay their way, not the town of Collierville,” Worley said. “ … I’m a firm believer that developers need to pay that cost,” he said, which he believes helps keep growth steady.

Booker, who lives on the south side of town, is not against growth, but it has to be done in the right way. A lot of undeveloped land exists south of Tenn. 385.

“We want the right growth at the right location,” he said. “I want to be an advocate for not what we want, but need.”

He also said as development comes, the town must think about how it impacts services like police, infrastructure and increase the demands on schools.

Swan, a resident of Cottonwood on the north side of town, said Collierville should not stop growing. 

“There is a certain amount of tidiness and pride in the appearance of public areas,” Swan said. 

He wants to make sure proposals fit where they are requested. He doesn’t want high-density next to single-family residential. 

“As Collierville expands, I’d like to see it organized well.”

He agrees with many residents don’t want an abundance of apartments because of the increased demand on municipal services.

Listening

Residents in Collierville want to know their desires are heard by the town’s decision-makers.

“As an alderman, you’re not only there at all the meetings,” Worley said. “You need to be seen in the community, involved in the community so you know what residents are thinking and doing.”

He later added: “You have to be a listener and hear what people are saying.”

While Worley prepares for Board of Mayor and Aldermen meetings, he makes a personal vow to not make up his mind until he has heard everyone that wants to have a say.

“The citizens' concern is my concern,” Booker said. “They’re the ones that put me in office.”

He will make himself available, noting his frustration at not getting a response from aldermen sometimes. 

“I will make myself available by being visible,” he said. “I provide self to service and I’ve been doing that, and I will continue to do that by serving people of Collierville.”

He said he’d like to host town hall meetings, but would like to also meet residents in their environment.

Swan wants to have an “open-door” to residents. In his position with information technology at AutoZone, he imagines getting calls as an alderman similar to the ones he gets at work.

“There are so many ways to get in contact with somebody.” Swan said, noting he prefers meeting in person. 

He said there may be issues on one side of town that don’t affect his side to town. If elected, he will serve everyone.

Budget and COVID-19

COVID-19 will have long-term effects on the local economy even after effective treatment and prevention is available.

Worley said the board made smart decisions as it developed the 2020-21 budget putting place at the start of the fiscal year in July.


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“We didn’t extend ourselves out,” he said. “We didn’t have a lot of projects we might not be able to fund. I thought we were being very conservative because at the time, we were dealing with a whole lot of unknowns.”

He said sales tax took a hit as many stores weren’t open, but things seem to have improved in recent months.

“If we go into another round (of a shut down) that could affect us, but I think we are prepared for what hits us.”

Stores closing will hurt the local economy, Booker said. He wants the town to encourage residents to spend money in Collierville to help the local economy. 

He believes he is prepared to look at a multi-faceted multi-million dollar budget annually, if elected.

“Throughout the military, once you become a senior leader, you become part of implementing the budget.” he said.

In the military, he oversaw a budget ranging from $3.8 million to $15 million.

“The aldermen do not develop the budget, the department heads do and then present it to the aldermen and mayor and then they (elected leaders) make the final decision and adopt a budget,” he said.


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Swan believes the budget principles are similar to a personal budget. The difference is scale.

“You don’t want to spend more than you take in,” he said. “You try to work within the constraints of your budget, preferably below for things you don’t anticipate.”

He said COVID-19 is an example of why the town needs its budget reserves. He hopes the town sales tax is not hit too hard as people shop online. But he hopes people choose to shop and dine in Collierville to help the local economy. 

“(Business) are stressed or staving off the inevitable (shuttering),” he said.

The town must remain respectful of the taxpayers, according to Swan.

“There has to be a desire to keep what you’re pulling from the community at the smallest amount possible,” he said. “It doesn’t mean there won’t be a tax increase but (the budget) shouldn’t be a wishing well either.”

If one of the three does not win by more than 50% of votes cast on Nov. 3, a Dec. 8 run-off between the top two finishers will decide who will hold the office the next four years.

In addition to the Position 3 alderman office, Positions 4 and 5 are also contested on the Nov. 3 ballot. Mayor Stan Joyner is running unopposed.

Collierville Board of Education’s Position 3 is also on the ballot as Mark Hansen has decided to not seek reelection and four residents are vying for his seat. Wanda Gibbs and Wright Cos are running unopposed for Positions 1 and 5, respectively. 

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Topics

Collierville Harold Booker Thomas Swan John Worley Collierville Board of Mayor and Alderman 2020 Elections 2020 collierville elections 2018 Municipal Elections Alderman Position 3
Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren

Abigail Warren is a lifelong resident of Shelby County and a graduate of the University of Memphis. She has worked for several local publications and covers the suburbs for The Daily Memphian.


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