Mayor Mathew Daniel Discusses Experience Leading Leslie and Future Goals

Published 10:44 am Monday, October 9, 2023

Mayor Mathew Daniel gave an interview in his office at the Leslie city hall. Daniel is a husband of 23 years, had two kids, and has lived 44 of his 45 years in Leslie. Daniel talked about his experience as mayor.

“This is my fourth year. I was on the council for three years. I’ve been mayor for four.”

He gave his views on the potential for a restaurant opening in Leslie.

“I think if a restaurant was to come here and open, as long as they kept a simple menu to start with, I think a restaurant definitely could make it here.”

He talked about measures the city could do to encourage restaurants.

“Of course, the city can’t make anybody do anything, but we can help encourage, we can offer incentives, we can give discounts on water, business licenses, to help with costs. We can also help point them in the direction of River Valley Regional Commission. They have different programs to help businesses start up, the department of community affairs probably has some as well. We can also help advertise. We finally got a website recently and we have a Facebook page.”

Daniel discussed further potential business goals for Leslie.

“I would like to open up a Lenny’s Market, right across the road over there. We could have a farmer’s market. People could rent out space to cook or sell things over the weekend.”

He also talked about the challenges facing Leslie.

“The main challenge is having to comply with all the things that a bigger city does with the limited resources that we have. For instance, our city clerk is also our court clerk, she’s also our HR, she’s also our finance, she’s also the water superintendent. My chief of police is chief of police and the public works director.”

He compared it to past experiences he had working in the grocery business.

“With any type of industry, if it’s small, you wear more hats. You’re not just a meat cutter at a small grocery store, you work the meat counter, you work produce, you run the cash register if you have to. Same thing here, everybody has to wear multiple hats.

As far as our public works goes, we outsource our grass cutting. But I would really like for us to have our own public works employee to help keep Leslie looking good. But it’s a matter of financially being able to. One thing I would like to do is look at other creative ways to help bring in revenue to the town so we can make those type of things happen.”

Daniel discussed his view on the importance of festivals to Leslie.

“I think festivals are a good thing. We do have one individual that has started up a sugar cane festival that has been reoccurring for the last couple years. Festivals are good to bring attention, there’re good to bring people in, and when they are coming here, they are spending money, and it’s good for the community for everybody to get together.”

Daniel gave his views on transparency.

“We have a meeting once a month, we advertise on our website for different things. I’m an open book. If anybody wants to come ask me something, come ask me. You always have the open records act. I don’t think transparency is an issue at all.”

Daniels stressed the importance of teamwork when asked about past challenges he had overcome.

“You collaborate, figure out the best solution, and you go with it. Leslie is a community. We’ve always looked after each other. Everybody here is always willing to help. It’s a great community to grow up in. As far as being able to face challenges, we face them together, it’s not just one person. It takes a group. I know we’ve got some new council members coming in, but we’ve always worked really well together.”

He made a closing statement.

“This is my hometown. I love it. Leslie has always been about family, friendship, and community. I love the opportunity to keep serving as their mayor. There’s always room for improvement, and that’s with anything, and we are going to continue doing that, and I would love the chance to keep doing it.”