Street Superintendent hangs it up after 15 years of service
GUN BARREL CITY–Long-time Gun Barrel City Street Superintendent and friend to many, Mike Horton got quite the send off at his retirement celebration June 19 at Gun Barrel City Hall.
Horton began his work with Gun Barrel City in 2004 and has spent the last decade and a half improving things dramatically around town. When he came to GBC, there were only four employees in the Street Department. He had just four in his department, one in the Parks Department and one in maintenance. He has now increased to seven employees in the Street Department, three in parks and one remains in maintenance.
“I’ve gotten new equipment and new up-to-date stuff,” Horton said. “I’ve also gotten involved with the county,” Horton stated about his working relationship with Henderson County Commissioners Court Judge Wade McKinney.
Horton also talked about working out contracts and bids every year for materials to help not only improve roads and infrastructure around town, but to also make the best bid, get quality work and save taxpayers money in the process. Horton also recalled when manufacturers would send random materials instead of what was on the order sheets and how he turned that process around. The changes were seen immediately in the work around the city and noticed by many, including city councilmen.
“An old city councilman came into my office, he introduced himself and wanted to tell me I was doing a good job. I told him thank you and he said, ‘I bet your guys are happy,’ and I told him I’m not here to make anyone happy, I’m here to get a job done.”
Horton continued with that spirit through 15 years with the city by doing his work to the best of his and his workers’ abilities. When he first began, Horton says he would get 15-20 complaint letters to his office every day. He said he would get calls directly to his office and they had a backlog of complaints, some that dated back to 1999. Horton would go through that list and go directly to the person’s home and discuss the issue they were having to try and resolve it.
Since Horton has come in and improved things, he rarely gets any complaints because he and his workers stay on top of things before they even happen. He says they’re lucky now if they get two complaints a month. In the time since he began working through the backlog, phone calls and just the everyday job, Horton has done 129 streets since he began in 2004 with another four or five to be finished in the next month.
Horton loves to talk. He likes to talk with the citizens and deal with any issues they may have.
“I go down to their house and I talk to them. When I get a complaint, I go straight to them and we get it settled.”
Horton says it was heartwarming to have so many friends, family, co-workers, employees and so many others at his retirement celebration to thank him for the job he’s done for almost two decades in Gun Barrel City.
“They all care about me and they know the job I’ve done and appreciate the job I’ve done. I appreciate every one of them. I touched their lives and they’ve touched mine over the years.”
Horton says he has no plans, as of yet, to begin the post-work life, but he will take some time and decide what to do with his downtime. Horton said there’s no plan at first, but he does have some “honey-do” stuff to do at home.
“I’m going to wake up in the morning and say, ‘Hey, I’m going to go golf,’ then I’ll go golf. Maybe in the morning I’ll wake up and go back to bed. That’s probably not going to happen. I’ve been getting up at 5 a.m. ever since I went to work for the City of Dallas.”
Horton never forgets that it was his love for his neighbors and the citizens of the city that he was most proud to work for and with to help improve daily life for everyone he came in contact with over his long career.
“I did it all for the city and I’m still going to be here. This is my home and I’m just going to enjoy life.”