Municipal elections on the horizon in Henry
By Monroe Roark
Qualifying begins in less than two weeks for municipal elections in Henry County's four cities.
A dozen city council seats and one mayoral position will be up for grabs when voters go the polls in November in Hampton, Locust Grove, McDonough and Stockbridge.
Three council seats in Hampton will be on the ballot. They are currently held by Henry Byrd, Zakery Daniel and Harold (Willie) Walls. Byrd and Walls were elected to four-year terms in 2011, while Daniel won a 2013 special election for a two-year term.
Locust Grove Mayor Robert Price is the only mayor in the county whose term ends this year. Council members Vernon Ashe, Otis Hammock and Frances Ward will also see their terms expire at the end of 2015.
In McDonough, council seats on this year's ballot include those held by at-large member Gail Notti, Craig Elrod of District 3 and Kamali Varner of District 4. Notti and Varner are wrapping up four-year terms, and Elrod won a two-year seat in 2013.
Stockbridge council members Alphonso Thomas, Robin Buschman and Regina Lewis Ward are in the final months of their respective terms. Busch-man and Thomas were elected in 2011, while Ward was appointed in 2014 to replace Richard Steinberg, who resigned.
McDonough council elections are by district with the exception of the at-large seat previously mentioned. In the other three cities all elections are at-large, with the top three vote-getters in each race taking office in January.
Qualifying for all of these races is Aug. 31-Sept. 4 at City Hall in each city.
The qualifying fee is $252 in Hampton and Stockbridge, $360 in McDonough, $324 for Locust Grove mayor and $252 for Locust Grove council. The fee is based on 3 percent of the annual salary for the office.