Dixon focused on city cleanup
Being chosen may have been the easy part for newly-appointed Marmaduke mayor Steve Dixon. Now the 50-year-old industrial engineer has a daunting task ahead of him as he focuses on cleaning up the still-healing town.
"It's going to be a big job," Dixon said. "I just hope I'm the man to do it."
The new mayor said his overall agenda is "getting the town cleaned back up" and restoring the community's appearance to something more akin to what it was prior to the disastrous tornado of April 2006. Dixon said the responsibility to move forward with the restoration efforts begins with the city.
"I can't ask you to clean up your property if we're not cleaning up city property," Dixon said.
Dixon noted the removal of a large pile of concrete debris at the corner of First and Main Streets as an immediate priority. He said a plan has been discussed to use the concrete and large chunks of rock to help strengthen the weakened levee at the city's sewer retention pond. He said water and sewer maintenance is key for a small community like Marmaduke, as the town must rely on itself for these services.
Dixon has lived in Marmaduke most of his life, moving to the town as a young child in 1965. A 1976 graduate of Marmaduke High School, Dixon earned his bachelor's degree in business administration from Sterling College in Sterling, Kan. He is employed at Teneco Automotive in Paragould.
This is not his first foray into city government. Dixon served three terms on the Marmaduke City Council from 1999 to 2004. While on the council, he served as a member of the parks and recreation committee.
The office of mayor has been an interest of Dixon's, but since it previously had been a full-time position, it was something he had only considered exploring further after retirement. However, when the city council began looking into the possibility of making the mayor position part-time, Dixon expressed his interest and submitted his name as a potential candidate following the June 5 resignation of former mayor Byron Phillips.
As a part-time mayor, Dixon stressed the importance of a team effort in running Marmaduke efficiently. Dixon said he plans to arrive daily at city hall at approximately 4:15 p.m. after finishing work at Teneco. Once at his office, Dixon says he will stay as late as needed. He plans to remain in contact with the city's department heads through updates and meetings. Dixon also said he would be available during the day in emergency situations.
"It's a job that I don't feel can be done by one man on a part-time basis," Dixon said. "It's going to take the city council, city employees and even the residents working together to make this work. This town has the potential to get back to being the jewel it was in the past. It's not going to be easy by any means. I think there are a lot of people in this town who have been beaten down from the weather and other issues over the past couple of years. It's going to take all of us to get past that and build a better Marmaduke for the future."