By Monroe Roark
Municipal candidates for
mayoral and council posts in Henry County’s four cities have been
determined after last week’s qualifying, and the new SPLOST
referendum was also approved last week by the Henry County Board of
Commissioners, all of which will appear on the Nov. 5 ballot.
Hampton is the city with
the potential for the greatest amount of turnover come January, as
four seats on the City Council are up for grabs along with the
Chris Moore, who won a
special election earlier this year to succeed mayor R.W. Coley, is
running to keep that seat and will face Steve Hutchison, whom he
defeated in the previous race. Coley passed away last fall while in
Hutchison is a former
council member who resigned his seat to run against Moore, and that
seat has been vacant since then. A special election to fill the seat
for a two-year term is on the November ballot, pitting Zakery Daniel
against Frederick DeRuvo.
Three other council
seats, all of them at-large, will be decided. All three incumbents –
Charles Hearn, Marty Meeks and Mary Ann Mitcham – are seeking
re-election. Also in the race are Carlton Grant, former
councilmember Arley Lowe, and Ann Tarpley. The three with the most
votes from this field of six will take office in January.
Locust Grove is the only city
in Henry County that is not electing a mayor this year. Incumbents
Keith Boone, Samuel Brown and James Rosser will all be vying to keep
their council seats, with competition from Donald Dunlap and former
councilmember Viann Doerr. All three seats are at-large, with the
top three vote-getters declared the winners.
In McDonough, Mayor
Billy Copeland faces a challenge from Wayne Smith, who last week
resigned his District 3 council seat to qualify for the mayor’s
race. Qualifying for the special election to fill Smith’s old seat
ends at 1 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 5.
District 1 incumbent
councilmember Rufus Stewart is unopposed, while District II
incumbent Sandra Vincent faces Darryl Payton on the ballot. As for
the council’s at-large seat, incumbent Rufus Amis is being
challenged by Roger Pruitt, Vincent Smith and Swaine Thompson.
Less than a year after
being appointed mayor, Mark Alarcon will run for a four-year term
against three challengers: Houston Nelson III, Tim Thompson and
former city clerk Vanessa Holiday. Alarcon, who was elected to the
City Council in 2009, was appointed mayor after his predecessor,
Lee Stuart, vacated the seat due to a no-contest plea last December
in Fulton County Superior Court on a misdemeanor count of
unprofessional conduct by a public officer.
Shirley Dabney, who had
been defeated in her bid for re-election to the City Council in
2011, was appointed to fill Alarcon’s council seat and will run this
fall to keep it. One other seat is on the ballot, and incumbent
Harold Cochran – who has served on the City Council for more than
three decades – is running for re-election as well.
Five other candidates
have qualified for one of those two seats: Anthony Ford, Lakeisha
Gantt, George Hawxhurst, Tonja Meadows, and Bruce Smith Sr.
The only issue on the
ballot for all of Henry County in November is the next installment
of the special-purpose local option sales tax, which is set to
expire March 31. Should the referendum pass, a new SPLOST will begin
April 1 and continue for six years.
A wide range of transportation and capital
projects have been placed on the list to be funded should the
referendum pass. County officials expect to see about $190 million
collected during the six-year life of the tax.