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Royalty files to face-off against incumbent Sheckles in Bardstown mayor’s race

By JIM BROOKS
Nelson County Gazette / WBRT Radio

Friday, Aug. 8, 2014, 9 a.m. (UPDATED 11 a.m.) —  Bardstown City Councilman John Royalty filed this morning to run for mayor of Bardstown.

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Bardstown councilman John Royalty completes his candidacy paperwork Friday morning in the offices of the Nelson County Clerk.

Royalty said he entered the race at the urging of other members of the council and many Bardstown residents. He also cited recent friction between the council and the mayor’s office regarding the budget as a factor, and he was critical of how quickly the budget has grown over the past four years.

“I’ve never seen a budget grow by the millions and millions this one has since Dick Heaton was mayor,” Royalty said. “It’s been ‘let’s open the checkbook and keep writing and writing,’ and I’m not going to do that.”

Royalty also said as mayor he would work to make sure necessary projects are completed, and he promised bring greater transparency to City Hall.

Royalty said he would be a full-time mayor and be at his City Hall office every day. “I’ve been in public service all my life, and that’s what this is all about,” he said.

He promised a collaborative management style that will improve communication and information sharing between the mayor’s office and the council.

“It should be a partnership between the city council members and the mayor’s office,” he said, adding that he felt the council had been excluded at times, particularly in discussions about the city’s budget.

Royalty was critical of the mayor’s past decisions to limit or cut off public comment, and he promised as mayor he would have an open door policy and welcome the public’s input at City Hall and also at council meetings.

Many of the problems that have faced the city — including the Henrytown handicap ramp that attracted Louisville TV media, the recent sign ordinance flap, and earlier problems in the fire department — point to poor communication by the mayor’s office and the public.

Royalty is the second person to file for Bardstown mayor. His decision to run for mayor means there will be at least two new members of the council elected in November. Councilman Tommy Reed announced his decision earlier this year to not seek re-election.

Royalty ran for mayor four years ago in a four-way race and lost to Mayor Bill Sheckles by fewer than 200 votes. Sheckles filed for re-election Jan. 8th.

The deadline to file for local non-partisan races is 4 p.m. next Tuesday, Aug. 12.

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