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King named Linden mayor

LINDEN — Alvin “Butch” King, long time city councilman and mayor pro tem, was appointed Mayor of Linden Tuesday night after a unanimous vote from his peers. He will fulfill the remainder of the term left empty after the death of Pat Vice, which is until Nov. 3.

“I’m excited about it,” King said. King has already stated he will not seek election for mayor this year.

“I think I made the right decision not to run,” he said. “I think it is time for a change and some new ideas and new people to come in.”

In King’s former position, the council voted in Councilman William Curry as mayor pro tem. The council also voted to vacate King’s council position and will appoint a new council member to fulfill the term at their next meeting on Aug. 5.

With King’s appointment, he will also serve as superintendent of the city’s water board. Therefore, his former seat was vacated and the council will discuss whether to fill the position at subsequent meetings.

Also at the meeting, the council discussed the completion of the construction work at Austin Park. Head of public works Terry Thompson said the project is set to be finished within weeks. In addition to field work and new dugouts, the park will soon have completely renovated bathroom and concession facilities.

“It’s like building a house,” Thompson told the council. “It just takes some time.”

After reports on the city’s parks projects, Curry updated the council on the progress of the partnership between the city and Linden City Schools. Curry proposed the financial partnership to bring in funds to help pay for a new air conditioning unit at the Linden High school gym, which is currently undergoing significant renovations.

Although the council did not grant the schools the estimated $140,000 for the project, Curry and fellow council member Mitzi Gates have been looking into other prospects for funds.

Curry said they had sent out letters to all of the areas state senators and representatives, asking for financial assistance in the project.

“We’re expecting something to come of that,” Curry said.

Curry also asked that City Administrator Cheryl Hall look into sending a similar letter to the governor to grant the school system the money from his own discretionary fund.

In other business, the council:

Announced notice from the city’s cable provider, Mediacom, of a new rate increase, which will include not only increases for cable packages and services but also a fee to make payments of the phone.