Early voting for this year's General Municipal Election will begin this Monday, Oct. 16, 2017 at 8:30 a.m. at the Gordon County Board of Elections & Voter Registration Office, located at 215 North Wall Street in Calhoun.
The election involves several posts up for grabs in the City of Calhoun, City of Fairmount, City of Plainville and Town of Resaca.
An important Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) vote is also on the ballot. This SPLOST is not new; if passed it will simply be a continuation of the SPLOST currently in place. SPLOST projects laid out by Gordon County and the local municipalities on this ballot include:
Gordon County: Funding capital outlay projects consisting of: public works projects including road and bridge improvements, annual paving, equipment purchase, resurfacing projects, improvement, repairs or replacement to Mt. Olive Road, Boone Ford Road, and, other roads, bridges or capital infrastructure; public safety vehicles and equipment; renovation and equipping of government administration buildings; renovation and equipping the E911 facility; renovate, construct and equip Sugar Valley Fire Station; land acquisition, design, construction and equipping an Agricultural Facility and economic development projects; improvements to Parks and Recreation including renovations at Salacoa Park; development of greenways and trails; improvements to Sonoraville recreation facility; and to acquire land, design, construct and equip Youth Sports field(s) on the west side of the County; construction and equipment for a new evidence building and morgue; renovation, expansion and equipment for records retention; renovations to the Sugar Valley Community Center.
City of Calhoun: Funding public safety projects consisting of: police body cameras, fire department vehicle extraction equipment, police station debt repayment; funding recreation projects consisting of a new gym with indoor walking loop, tennis court improvements, dog park, trail system expansion throughout Calhoun, playground equipment, Oostanaula boat ramp improvements, maintenance equipment; funding public works street milling and resurfacing, public works equipment, completion of Peters Street, recycling building and equipment, maintenance equipment for cemetery, parks, and animal control, sidewalk repair and expansion, additional sidewalk access to all city schools; funding utilities to repair and replace various sewer infrastructure.
City of Fairmount: Funding capital projects consisting of: public works projects for city streets to include widening, curbs and gutters, sidewalks, storm drains, shoulder repair, street maintenance and equipment, repair and replace culverts and parking lots; new construction or renovation of municipal buildings
including equipment and fixtures; recreation facilities or equipment; and, water and sewer projects.
City of Plainville: Funding capital improvement projects consisting of: sidewalks; road improvement or repair; recreation; improvements or repair to City Hall and Fire Department; and, maintenance and repair to city property.
Town of Resaca: Funding capital projects consisting of: a new town hall; public works for roads and streets; and, expansion of sewer service.
Seats up for grabs this election cycle are:
City of Calhoun:
For City Council Post 3, incumbent councilman Matt Barton will face former Calhoun councilman George Crowley.
For City Council Post 4, former Calhoun councilman Ray Denmon, former Gordon County commissioner Alvin Long and Ed Moyer have all qualified to run for the post being vacated by David Hammond.
For Calhoun City School Board Post 1, only local photographer Andy Baxter is running, the post being vacated by current school board member Alvin Long.
For Calhoun City School Board Post 2, incumbent Rhoda Washington will see no opposition, as well as Calhoun City School Board Post 3, where incumbent David Scoggins was the lone qualifier.
City of Fairmount:
Incumbent Fairmount City Council member Steve Fain qualified for Post 1 and incumbent Fairmount City Council member Jim Dodd qualified for Post 3; if no one qualifies as a write-in candidate for Fairmount City Council posts, there will be no election. Deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 1.
City of Plainville:
Incumbent Plainville City Council member James Miller qualified for Post 3 and incumbent Plainville City Council member Frances Fossett qualified for Post 4; if no one qualifies as a write-in candidate for Plainville City Council posts, there will be no election. Deadline for write-in candidates is Friday, Sept. 1.
Town of Resaca:
For Resaca Town Council Post 3, Michael Austin, Randy Barron and Mitch Reed will all vie for the post.
For Resaca Town Council Post 4, incumbent Sandra Adams will see no opposition.
For more information on this year's General Municipal Election, visit www.gordoncounty.org, where sample ballots can also be found.
The Resaca Town Council voted down a rezoning request in a 3-1 split decision Tuesday night, ending a months-long procedure that would have allowed landowner, Brent Rutledge to use land on Georgia Hwy. 136 for a recycling shipping center.
Councilmember Sandy Adams cast the only vote in favor of rezoning. The vote by the Council was originally set for early August, but a technical error involving notifying residents of the hearing caused the matter to be put off until September. In September, Hurricane Irma forced the cancellation of the meeting.
The Resaca Town Hall was packed again at the meeting, with residents voicing concern about the project and its implications on the future development of the rural community. Concerns ranged from environmental impact, traffic concerns and whether nepotism laws would impact the vote because council members Adams and Todd Rutledge are distant relatives of Brent Rutledge. They were allowed to vote because the Resaca Town Charter only calls for immediate family to recuse themselves. Brent Rutledge said they planned to have an impact study done. They were not the only council members questioned on whether they should be allowed to vote.
Councilmember Justin Barton purchased land in Sugar Valley in February and has been in the process of moving.
"We've discussed this and decided to let him stay on the council since he is in transit," Mayor Sam Allen said. "His seat is up in November and he won't seek re-election."
Residents were ready for battle at the meeting. Several said if the motion was approved, they'd take the issue to Superior Court. Most residents supported the idea of the business, but did not support it in the agricultural area that it was proposed. RUTCO Recycling packages and ships bundles of recycled material to recycling facilities.
"They are saying one to three trucks a week," said J.D. Wilson, who owns property across the street from the land, which features a pond and old oak trees. "But every business wants to grow. What happens when it's 10 trucks a day?"
Judy Peterson, who coordinates recycling for the City of Calhoun, spoke in favor of the rezoning.
"Recycling is extremely important. In regards to Resaca, it's not so much commercial as community," she said, but added that she understood it was a difficult decision posed to the council.
Councilmember Nathan Wyatt, who opposed the motion, said it came down to what the community wanted. "The community has said no."
In other Resaca news:
The Resaca Fall Festival will be Sat., Oct. 21, from 2-8 p.m. at the Recreation center. Admission is free and features inflatables, K-9 exhibition, cake walk, hay rides and marshmallow roast.
The next Resaca City Council meeting will be Nov. 14 at 7 p.m.
Calhoun Spine Care and Wellness Center held a ribbon cutting ceremony, sponsored by the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce, on Thursday, Oct. 5 to open their new state-of-the-art facility, located at 150 J W Plaza in Calhoun.
Dr. Blake Derrick offers a wide array of services at Calhoun Spine Care and Wellness Center, including chiropractic, fitness, nutrition, massage therapy and the Eight Weeks to Wellness program.
For more information, visit the website www.calhounspinecare.com or call 706-629-4999.
A General Municipal Election Candidate's Forum presented by a political action committee that is acting outside the auspices of the Gordon County Chamber of Commerce is scheduled to take place on Thursday, Oct. 12.
The event will take place in downtown Calhoun at the City Depot from 6:00-8:30 p.m. It will include a meet-and-greet with the candidates; this year's election has seats up for re-election from the City of Calhoun, City of Fairmount, City of Plainville and Town of Resaca.
At press time, the Chamber of Commerce could not confirm which candidates are planning on participating in the forum.