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CLEVELAND, Tenn. — Candidates seeking election to a District 4 seat on the Bradley County Commission call for better partnerships with Cleveland and improved infrastructure.

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Charlotte Peak
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Alex Morrow

Charlotte Peak and Alex Morrow, both Republicans, want to fill Seat A. Peak, first elected as a District 4 commissioner in 2012, has run a home-building company since 1995. Morrow is the general manager for his family's restaurant business.

District 4 stretches from East Cleveland along either side of U.S. Highway 64 toward the Polk County line. Benton Pike, Peach Orchard Hill Road and Michigan Avenue mark the district's northwestern limits, and Tasso Road, Cates Lane and Baker Bridge Road make up its northern boundaries. The district's southern limits touch Spring Place Road and Ladd Springs Road.

It comes down to sewage lines within their district and beyond, both candidates say. Cleveland Utilities and Ocoee Utility District provide wastewater services for portions of District 4.

"We need to all get along and progress with the city," Peak said. "We have a ton of people coming here to retire and work, but we are running out of property we can develop because it doesn't have the proper infrastructure."

Taxpayers can benefit from such infrastructural expansion because developers will be the ones to front those costs, she said.

Peak said she wants to "bridge the gap," to the benefit of county and city taxpayers.

Without this kind of support, new business growth stays within the city or goes to the north end of the county, Morrow said, describing his district as "the least improved" even if it is not the poorest.

"The county needs to start working with the city, working on common ground that benefits both parties," he said.

Morrow said if the city provides wastewater and other services to industrial and commercial developments, it needs to provide those same services to nearby communities.

While Cleveland Utilities has long served customers outside of the city footprint, the extension of those services now generally comes as part of annexation packages with willing residents.

Cleveland leaders took this stance following the passage of a state law which requires municipalities to seek annexation by referendum instead of by ordinance.

Vocational education ranks as another priority for Peak, who said she supports initiatives to train the next generation of electricians, plumbers and other trades workers. Bradley County construction efforts will suffer when the current trade professionals soon retire.

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Bradley County Commissioner Charlotte Peak, left, listens as Commissioner Howard Thompson expresses opposition to a proposed adoption of new building codes by the county. His opposition was based on negative feedback received from his constituents, not his own feelings, he said.

"We have no one young in these jobs," Peak said.

Morrow said improving county employee compensation stands as another of his major goals. He calls for better money for those who perform well.

The county commission also needs to focus on public needs instead of politicians attacking one another and attracting negative media attention, Morrow said.

Republican primary voters will decide who takes District 4, Seat A in the May 1 election. No Democrat seeks the office.

Commissioner Howard Thompson runs unopposed in the district's other seat.

Early voting begins April 11.

Contact Paul Leach at paul.leach.press@gmail.com. Follow him on Twitter @pleach_3.

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