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With no opponents, Oswego Mayor Barlow walks into second term

City of Oswego
Oswego Mayor Billy Barlow is running unopposed for a second term this fall.

With the deadline now passed for candidates from other parties or independents to file, Mayor Billy Barlow is the only candidate in this year's Oswego mayoral race - effectively guaranteeing a second term.

Thomas Drumm, chair of Oswego's City Democratic Committee, says he had been in talks with several potential candidates, but ultimately no one was willing to step up. Barlow says he would like to think that's a reflection of his performance.

"I’m really proud of that fact that we didn’t just sit here and didn’t make any decisions to not make anybody mad," Barlow said. "We actually took on some heavy lifting and survived, if you will."

Since his election in 2015, Barlow has worked to reduce the size of city government. He cut 16 positionsat the fire department, reduced overtime spending, and eliminatedthe city's Planning and Zoning Department while at the same time bringing in state grant dollars to fund local projects like $10 million to renovate downtown Oswego and mitigate spending on mandated sewer repairs. Those efforts led to Oswego's firsttax cutin 20 years - a stark reversal from the 40 percent tax increase residents stomached during the term of Barlow's predecessor.

Barlow says it's a relief that he won't need to campaign now, but he still plans to knock on doors before the election for input.

"A lot of what I hear is keep doing what you’re doing, you’re doing a good job, and we still need to work on tourism, we still need to work on infrastructure – mainly potholes – we still need to work on the high cost of living with taxes and sewer and water bills," Barlow said. "So it's generally consistent with what I heard the first time, just not as serious because people are seeing the progress. The issues that we need to tackle still exist."

The Oswego city charter says Barlow would be unable to run for a third consecutive term in 2023. 

Payne Horning is a reporter and producer, primarily focusing on the city of Oswego and Oswego County. He has a passion for covering local politics and how it impacts the lives of everyday citizens. Originally from Iowa, Horning moved to Muncie, Indiana to study journalism, telecommunications and political science at Ball State University. While there, he worked as a reporter and substitute host at Indiana Public Radio. He also covered the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly for the statewide Indiana Public Broadcasting network.