By Rachael Brice
Since 1967, Roswell has only had two mayors, W.L. “Pug” Mabry and Jere Wood, but on November 7, history will be made, as a new mayor will be elected.
“This is a pivotal a time in Roswell’s history,” said current council member Nancy Diamond. “With this many seats open, it’s even more important for voters to come out and support their local elections.”
However, the odds for a large turnout may be slim as only a small percentage of Roswell citizens actually vote in these smaller, hometown elections. According to the Fulton County Department of Registration and Election, only 56,465 people out of the 94,500 living in the city are registered to vote. Roswell consistently struggles to turn out more than 15 percent of registered voters in municipal elections.
Most of us are aware of the unrest surrounding Wood and his final months in office, and it has been confirmed that he is not seeking re-election, though he recently stated he would continue to serve the city until his term ends or his appeal his heard.
Michael Litten, who sued to have Wood removed, alleging he violated Roswell’s charter when he ran for a fifth consecutive term in 2013, has already qualified as a candidate for mayor. Current councilwoman Lori Henry has also qualified, and Councilman Don Horton resigned his post August 23rd, to throw his hat in the ring too. Local activist, Sandra Sidhom has also declared her candidacy, as well as Lee Jenkins, pastor of Eagles Nest Church.
Not only will the outcome of the election determine a new mayor, it will also determine four city council seats. This could be a major turning point for the city as far as legislation and projects passing or being rejected.
One big-ticket item that will surely be debated in this election is economic development. A healthy tax base is generally considered to be 60 percent commercial and 40 percent residential. Alpharetta is currently living up to this statistic, but unfortunately, Roswell is not, as the numbers are skewed closer to 20 percent commercial and 80 percent residential. If the city does not continue to bring in new money from commercial developments, there will likely be an increase in taxes the taxpayers will have to pay. Though this may not affect many of Roswell’s average active voters, who are over 65 years old, it will affect younger generations.
“Our city is going to change and we can’t stop that,” said Diamond. “But which way that change happens will be decided based on voter involvement.”
November 7 will be here soon. For a list of candidates click here. Also, Click here for a special letter from retiring councilman Jerry Orlans. Also visit positivelyroswell.org for info on candidate forums and other notices.
“Meet and Greet” the Candidates for Roswell City Council Posts 4, 5 & 6. This is an important election for Roswell–everyone needs to understand the issues and participate. At Crazy Love Coffee House on September 13 at 7:30 a.m.
What: Roswell Next Breakfast
Who: City Council Candidates
When: September 13, 2017 at 7:30 a.m.
Where: Crazy Love Coffee House at 1088 Canton Street
Cost: Free for Members, $10 for Non-members