Robert Inglis/The Daily Item

Former Sunbury Mayor Kurt Karlovich talks during a One on One interview this week.

SUNBURY — Former Mayor Kurt Karlovich wishes he had more time in office, not for political reasons, but only because he loved the job.

Karlovich, 35, was the first Democratic mayor in 50 years to take office as mayor of Sunbury, when the political newcomer went door-to-door and used social media in 2017 to secure his victory and send him to City Hall. The new mayor wasn't always welcomed with open arms.

Karlovich and City Council, at the time, were at odds on many issues.  At times, council meetings would begin and end in shouting matches and countless executive sessions in order to try and hash out differences. 

Through the four years, Karlovich said he learned to listen and work together. Karlovich recently sat down with The Daily Item for a One-on-One interview which can be viewed at dailyitem.com

"I am in a position in my life where my job will not let me run for public office," Karlovich said. "So I will miss being the mayor but I will miss it because I had so many other things I wanted to continue to work on."

Two of those projects are the Sunbury Police Department, which he was in charge of, and the Sunbury Wetland Ecological and Educational Park (SWEEP) project he kicked off in 2018.

"I am proud of what we accomplished in the police department," he said. "When I came in the department was down to only four officers and we were able to bring that back up to an almost full staff over the course of these four years."

Karlovich used a staggering hiring approach in order to save the taxpayers from footing a large bill all at once.

City Treasurer Kevin Troup has said on several occasions the staggered method Karlovich developed was a huge help to the residents and budget.

"I am also very glad we were able to get the officers into a new home," Karlovich said of the new Sunbury Police Department building on Arch Street.

"We all worked together on this and I am proud of the accomplishments, however, I wish I was able to continue to lead the department through the future."

Karlovich said he continued to push his agenda of training, training and more training.

"We were able to get our officers the training they needed and the equipment they needed," he said. 'That to me was a big issue and I wanted to make sure the continued training for our officers was a must."

Karlovich began his political career in 2017 with a quest to turn the wetland area located between Line and Race streets and North 6th and North 8th streets into a destination for visitors and tourists.

"I began to look at this area and just knew we could do something here," he said. "Now we have grant funding and we are getting ready to start the first phase of making this a destination spot."

Karlovich said he wanted to thank Troop 333 of the Boy Scouts for all their dedicated work at the wetlands in helping him clean the area.

"We have a great team and we are all going to work as hard as we can to get this project completed," he said.

Current Mayor Josh Brosious said he wanted to thank Karlovich for his dedication to the city. "He is all about Sunbury," Brosious said. "I will say Kurt (Karlovich) is very dedicated to this city and he wants to see good things."

But for now, Karlovich said he wants to take a break, spend time with his partner, and watch city government from the back of the room.

"I will be around watching," he said. "I am still the head of the SWEEP project and I plan on coming to council meetings when I can."

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