HIAWASSEE, GA – Fetch Your News contacted the Mayoral candidates in the City of Hiawassee race and offered a final opportunity to appeal to the voters before Election Day arrives on Tuesday, Nov. 7, 2017.
Neither candidate was permitted to review their opponent’s response prior to publication.
Candidate Liz Ordiales responded as follows:
My platform for this campaign has remained unchanged. As my card states: Better financial management, create infrastructure to support controlled growth and continue my efforts to make Hiawassee a better place to live. There are still many efficiencies that can be implemented in every department to create financial savings.
Correcting our existing infrastructure is critical to Hiawassee. Sewer and water system upgrades are essential to allow residential as well as commercial growth. We are in the process of upgrading our sewer plant and will look to expand the water plant in the future.
Citizen safety is also a top priority. Ensuring that fire hydrants are maintained, flushed and tested are critical for public safety. We have developed Standard Operating Procedures that will be followed. Our police department will continue to attend training sessions and ensure they have the equipment needed to perform their jobs. I will continue to enhance our sidewalks, streets, lighting, etc. in order to allow for more walk-ability in our city.
Attracting and providing more events in our town is also critical to keep our businesses vibrant and engaged. I would continue to support events on the square as we have done with Moonshine Cruiz-in block party, Light up Hiawassee for Christmas, pickleball events during larger tournaments, etc.
I am NOT an advocate for higher taxes. I have never voted to raise taxes in my two years with the City as a City Council member and interim Mayor. I believe with financial efficiencies and controlled economic development we will be able to maintain low taxes.
In closing, I will put Hiawassee first as a FULL TIME Mayor without the expense of a City Administrator or City Manager.
Candidate Barry Keith Dearing responded as follows:
If elected as Mayor of Hiawassee, my number one priority is to rescind the Franchise Fee Tax. This tax was proposed incorrectly and was presented to the public incorrectly. My opponent has stated on record that this fee will only cost the city residents approximately $20,000 which is incorrect. This will cost the city residents and businesses in the City, including the churches and hospital over $124,000 a year.
At the last city workshop, there was discussion of doing away with the current retirement plan and going with a “cheaper” plan for the city and less retirement for the employees. I disagree with the proposed plan that my opponent requested the GMA to propose. I will stand up for our city employees and fight for what’s right and what is in their best interest. I will not take away their retirement that they deserve.
I will work hand in hand with our current businesses to make sure they have the resources they need to grow and stay within our city. I will also encourage and work with new businesses that want to open in our City.
I will work to get the grants needed to repair failing infrastructure and make sure that all of our infrastructure is prepared for our growth that will come.
As Mayor, I will complete the Mayor’s Park so it is beneficial for our tourism and for our local citizens.
I will work with Chamber of Commerce directly to promote tourism for our city. I will make our square an eventful place for more activities and walk-ability. I will work hard to capitalize on growth utilizing our natural resources and beautiful mountains and Lake Chatuge.
Remember, I have children in this community that work, go to school and plan on raising families here just as we are doing. As Mayor, I would like to see more youth activities that encourage our young adults to be more involved and have a part in our City activities and our City government. After all, they are our future.
I will work closely with our City Police Department and make sure they have what is needed to protect themselves, our citizens and families in the city.
For the record, I have never mentioned doing away with the City of Hiawassee Police Department. Also, I have heard this multiple times and to clarify, I have not ever mentioned hiring a City Manager.
I will be transparent and will make sure the citizens of our community know exactly what the city is doing at all times. I will work closely with our county to make a strong relationship.
As I mentioned in the Candidate forum, I understand that the Mayor of Hiawassee is a full-time position. I stated “it is more than a 40 hour week job and I am committed to the task at hand.”
Thank you to all the citizens and business owners within the entire community that have shown such great support and positive energy during this campaign. Please encourage your neighbor, family and friends within the city to VOTE on Tuesday, Nov. 7, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Board of Elections.
God Bless you all,
Barry Keith Dearing, Mayoral Candidate
Fetch Your News has followed the 2017 Hiawassee City Council race since its inception. Additional articles can be found on our site. Count on Fetch Your News to provide the election results on the evening of Nov. 7.
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