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Staff announces reelection run for mayor

Mayor Jim Staff announced Monday his intention to run for reelection for mayor of the city of Atmore.

Staff is a lifelong resident of Atmore who has served the city in the capacity of mayor for the past eight years.

He has six children, 16 grandchildren and is blessed to be married to my beautiful wife, Myrtle, for 30 years, he said.

“Over the last few years, I have witnessed first-hand the progress and transformation of Atmore,” Staff said. “It was not long ago, city buildings sat vacant and the economy was at a standstill. Through the efforts of many, leadership of the city and diligence of the citizens of this wonderful town, Atmore is on the move.

“I am proud to say during my time in office we have accomplished so much,” he said.

Atmore’s City Bond rating has improved from an A-minus to an A, he said.

“The city’s debt has been reduced from $18 million to $10 million,” he said. “Simultaneously, we have drastically improved our infrastructure, paved more streets, installed more sidewalks and added more drainage than any previous administration. We did more with less by working smarter.

“The city’s cemeteries are in better shape than ever,” he said. “We have purchased a fleet of new police vehicles and body cameras for our safety officers; purchased new fire trucks for the fire department. Additionally, we have secured a bulldozer, two garbage trucks, a trash truck and a street sweeper. These were all investments in our infrastructure to ensure our city services continue to improve and meet the needs of its citizens.”

Staff has served 20 years to the city as a councilman for District 5 for three consecutive terms, and served as the mayor pro-tem for eight years.

He holds a bachelor’s degree in business from the University of Alabama, and managed Staff Chevrolet for 45 years.

Civically, he held leadership positions as scout master, the Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce director, Escambia County School System board member, a member of the Atmore United Fund and is a member of the Atmore Rotary Club.

“I am so proud of the growth and excitement around the city,” he said. “We have more new businesses than ever. Our downtown is in the middle of the biggest renovation in the city’s history. I am deeply invested and supportive of these efforts, because I understand a thriving downtown means a thriving Atmore. Atmore recently applied to be a Main Street Alabama City. If selected, it would change our downtown in ways we could only imagine. From aesthetics to programming to commerce, it would take Atmore to the next level while retaining our small town historic feel.

“I am extremely optimistic the hard work and creativity of the city of Atmore, Atmore Area Chamber of Commerce, Atmore Historical Society, and the Pride of Atmore will shine through and the Main Street project will come to fruition,” he said.

On education, Staff said the city has heard the concerns from the community in regard to local education.

“We are exploring new options to improve our local schools,” he said. “The city has invested $60,000 in a feasibility study to explore a city school option. While the results are in, there is deep discussion on the best road forward. Simultaneously, the city has been working with our local public schools to make improvements. Escambia County Middle School has the first STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) Lab in the county. A culinary arts program has been successfully implemented at ECHS (Escambia County High School). In partnership with the Poarch Creek Indians, this fall, ECHS will also have a NAF (National Academy Foundation) focusing on technology.”

Staff said the city has brought in new industry and business to the community.

“Some examples are Brown Precision, Muskogee Technology, Waves Car Wash, The Gather restaurant, 30 below, Philanthropic Seed, The Junky Pearl and Tractor Supply, to name a few,” he said. “I am extremely proud of the working partnership with the Poarch Creek Indians, which has solidified over the last several years. A few examples include lighting at the I-65 Interchange, Exit 57, land lease agreements and the Atmore/PCI Animal Shelter.

“I understand the importance of being able to work with local leadership, state and national leadership and representing the city with the highest integrity, and ensuring we are constantly solidifying relationships, pursuing grants and staying on the forefront of programs available to the city,” he said.

Staff said he believes the community is on the move in the right direction.

“It is personally rewarding to experience everyone pulling in the right direction, without anyone acting self-important, but all working for the betterment of Atmore,” he said. “I will continue to strive to be both honest and approachable. I have always had an open door policy. If you see me on my golf cart around town on weekends give me a holler. I’m always willing to hear your concerns and answer your questions.”

Staff said at the end of the day, actions speak louder than words.

“Leading Atmore into the future takes stamina and a bold vision,” he said. “It takes someone respectful of all citizens concerns, promoting unity and progress.

“My love for Atmore runs deep,” he said. “I humbly ask the citizens of this place we call ‘home’ to give me the opportunity to see this dream fulfilled, continuing to work on your behalf and retain the distinct honor of continuing to serve as your mayor. I ask everyone to get out and vote on August 25.”