Josh Blanton, Ashland City Commissioner
The City of Ashland is experiencing new momentum and an excitement that is the result of hard work from our employees, officials, and citizens. In addition to all of the new developments and events in our city, I would like to provide more communication to help our citizens be more informed about our city government. For example, many people refer to our city government body as a City Council. Ashland does not have a City Council, we have a Board of Commissioners, and there is a difference! We changed our form of government from the council form in 1950.
Ashland’s Board of Commissioners form of government consists of a Mayor (Matt Perkins), four Commissioners (Amanda Clark, Marty Gute, Cheryl Spriggs, and myself), and a City Manager (Mike Graese). The Mayor and Commissioners are elected, with the Mayor serving a four-year term and the Commissioners serving two years. The City Manager is not elected, but rather hired by the Mayor and Commissioners. The City Manager performs the daily operations management for the city and makes recommendations to the Mayor and Commissioners during our public meetings. Other key positions within the city include the City Clerk, City Attorney, Public Information Officer, Department Directors, and various other positions which all work together to keep our city running and allow us to serve our citizens.
As a new Commissioner, I have realized that I cannot make any decision on my own. I am one of five votes on the Board of Commissioners and it has been very interesting to learn how the business of the city is conducted and how we reach decisions that impact peoples lives. I have the benefit of serving with an excellent Mayor and fellow Commissioners who understand that we might not always agree, but constructive disagreement can many times lead to growth, as we have seen already. We have already made major progress in the city and recently passed our budget for 2022, which will provide funding for critical infrastructure and increased quality of life for our citizens. Major park upgrades, investment in our water and sewer systems, and removing blight from our city are just a few of the items included in what many considered the most impactful budget in our city’s history.