“I've proven that I can get things done when people call me,” he said. “I have a good working relationship with the department heads, and that is something you've got to have.”
Michael Blankenship-Hamilton and Wayne Nichols are trying to unseat Albrecht.
The top two will face each other in the November general election.
City Council appointed Albrecht, 67, to fill the seat vacated when Jim Kalb left it to become mayor in 2004.
“I've been in the city a long time, so I've seen the good times and the bad times,” Albrecht said. “But I think we have a lot of good things going on now, what with the new schools, a new university, the hospital expansion and King's Daughters Medical Center coming to Portsmouth.”
But Albrecht said he didn't no how to fill the empty storefronts on Chillicothe Street.
“I think downtown areas are a thing of the past,” he said. “Stores just don't want to come downtown anymore.”
Therefore, filling the former Marting's Department Store building could be a problem too, he said.
“I don't have an answer for that because people don't want to come into multi-level building either,” Albrecht said. “But maybe it would be good for loft apartments or some smaller stores. But I don't think we can do anything with it until the lawsuit is settled.”
He was referring to a suit Bob and Teresa Mollette filed against the city regarding the 2002 purchase of the former Marting's building.
Albrecht said the biggest challenge facing City Council in the coming year is finding a place for a new municipal building. It is considering the former Adelphia Communications building site on Washington Street.
Council President Howard Baughman said he wants Council to make a decision by May 28.
“We need to focus on the city building and a lot of other problems we have in the city,” Albrecht said.
That includes the city's drug problem, he said.
“We tried to get more money for the police department to fight it, but the voters voted it down,” Albrecht said.
He was referring to a police funding referendum voters decided against in 2005.
Albrecht said he enjoys his position, despite the frequent controversy and outbursts at City Council meetings.
“I've talked to a lot of people, and they've said they are put off about coming to the meetings,” he said. “They told me we need to take control of the meetings.”
Albrecht said some have expressed concern over getting their names on local Web sites if they went to City Council meetings.
He also discussed the Web sites.
“It's not a bad idea to inform people,” Albrecht said. “But when you start talking about people, then it becomes detrimental.”
JEFF BARRON can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 236.