All seven candidates competing in three races on fielded questions at a forum sponsored by the Griffin-Spalding Chamber of Commerce, WHIE AM and WKEU AM and FM. If you missed the forum Thursday night, Liberty Technology and the Kitchen Drawer recorded it, with the video to be posted at www.kitchendrawer.net.
All seven candidates said they support airport relocation and city annexation of the site as well as the creation of an airport authority to operate the new airport. All saw it as a source of future economic development and job creation.
The three incumbents and their challengers spoke about resident concerns including unemployment. Some challengers noted resident concerns about utility rates and billing as well as having to put trash and recycling containers away within 24 hours of collection.
In District 2 incumbent Will Evans faces a challenge from former City Commissioner Cora Flowers. Blighted property, Flowers said, discourages new development. Evans said he hopes the Griffin-Spalding Land Bank Authority will give people an opportunity to have better housing and improved neighborhoods.
Both support the Transportation Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax as a way to improve the community with road and transportation projects including the airport and the proposed Macon-to-Atlanta rail line.
In the at-large race incumbent Doug Hollberg and challenger Joe Ward Jr. both support the TSPLOST. Hollberg read off the list of projects to be funded if the sales tax is approved next year.
The most contentious of the three races has been the District 4 race, in which challenger Doug Craig has been critical of 12-year incumbent Joanne Todd and the city’s policies, including the city’s operation of the city golf course, as well as the current tax and unemployment rates. Fellow challenger Alan Stanfield questioned the city’s efforts in attracting industry.
Todd answered back, saying, “Usually when you do run for office you study what government does.”
Todd explained some of the city’s obligations and requirements for state and federal funding as well as providing services. She also pointed out that it was the county and school board, not the city, that raised tax rates.
She praised the efforts of the “outstanding, award-winning Griffin-Spalding Development Authority” and the recent Caterpillar project. She also asked why her challengers had not been part of bringing jobs to Griffin, singling out Craig for not locating his business in Griffin.