Few sparks at Senoia forum

Thu, 11/03/2005 - 4:31pm
By: John Thompson

Few sparks at Senoia forum
More than 70 curious residents turned out Oct. 27 at the Freedom Sasser Building in Senoia City Park to watch candidates for mayor and city council square off for an informational forum.

When the dust had settled, most in the crowd agreed that no one candidate had delivered a knockout punch, but were pleased with the amount of information provided to the crowd.

The most contentious race has been the mayor’s race, where incumbent Robert Hannah faces former City Councilman Robert Belisle. During the campaign, Belisle has charged Hannah acted unethically when he failed to disclose that he purchased property next to a proposed city park before the City Council purchased the park property.

But Hannah diffused any criticism by saying that he was an “honest man” and said he wanted to continue the quality growth that had occurred during his administration. Hannah also said he wanted to see continued growth in the downtown area and said he wanted to see some of the government entities move off Main Street.

“I’d like to give the property to the Downtown Development Authority,” he said.

Belisle said he wanted to restore honesty and ethics to city government. Belisle said he would like to see more community activities in the city and make sure that all citizens are treated equal.

The other contentious race has been for Belisle’s unexpired council seat, which pits Perry Benson against former City Administrator Murray McAfee.

Benson said that McAfee was an “angry man” and that he was unanimously removed from his position as city administrator. Benson said he was a big proponent of “moving the city forward” and wanted to see more development downtown, including a nice restaurant.

McAfee claimed that Benson would only represent a small portion of residents, in reference to Benson’s time at the helm of the League of Neighbors. McAfee also claimed that Benson had violated zoning regulations a number of times for rental property that he’s purchased.

The other council race features three candidates for two council positions.

Incumbent Tony Miller told the crowd that he had been a public servant all his life, including a stint in the military and working as a firefighter.

“I’d really like to see the new library built,” he said.

Political newcomer Keith Harrison said he had lived in the area for 13 years and planned to live in Senoia the rest of his life. His main concern was cracking down on the drug issue.

“I don’t want to see a Riverdale in Senoia,” he said.

Incumbent Larry Owens thinks one of the big issues facing the town is developing the downtown. Owens serves on the city’s Downtown Development Authority and says the future of the city depends on getting a good mix of businesses and activities in the downtown area.

The polls are open Tuesday from 7 a.m.-7 p.m.

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