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5 vie for posts on council

Field is set for special election

POSTED: September 5, 2012 4:00 a.m.
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Five candidates will vie for two seats on the Dawsonville City Council this fall.

Those who have qualified for the Special Election on Nov. 6 include: Frank Craft, Alan Metzel, Tom Schaide, Angie Smith and Mike Sosebee.

The election is required to fill the unexpired terms of former Councilmen James Grogan and Calvin Byrd, who both resigned to run for mayor following the death of Joe Lane Cox in March. Grogan won the July 31 contest.

The election is citywide and the seats will go to the two top vote-getters.

Smith, 36, and Caleb Phillips, 25, are temporarily filling the two council posts.

Phillips, who was appointed on May 7, said he is interested in municipal government but didn't want to run for council this term.

Candidates Frank Craft and Mike Sosebee are both veterans to the council who say they want to further serve their community.

Craft, 56, previously served on the council from 2001-04 before he was elected to the Dawson County commission, where he served for nearly three years.

He resigned his seat in 2007 to run for mayor of Dawsonville, but fell short to Cox.

Craft, who last ran for council in 2009, said he wants to encourage more residential development and help city subdivisions maintain their roads.

"We've got to figure out a way to fill the houses and get builders to build on these lots," he said.

"The city is going to have to bow down and take over the streets. These developers came in and promised the council to build these subdivisions, but they only put up a few houses before they went bankrupt and now are gone."

Although he's lived in Dawsonville just five years, political newcomer Tom Schaide agrees something must be done to help the residential areas.

"There are some real barriers in these abandoned subdivisions ... I am finding what is going to be necessary is an agreement between the city, the existing residents and the developer on how this is going to be handled," he said. "This is where I think I can be of help."

Schaide, 76, currently works in real estate with Gold Property Management. He said by offering his expertise he thinks he can give back to the community.

On the other hand, Sosebee, who has served off and on as a councilman for nearly 30 years, said he wants to focus on the water and sewer system.

"I feel moving forward that we must update our water and sewage so that we can attract business to locate here to our beautiful city," he said. "I will work with the new mayor and his current council members to achieve this task."

As in past campaigns, Sosebee said he will "never support a city tax."

He said he hopes to offer his years of expertise gained from working with former mayors Howard Roper, Yancy Savage, Pete Gilleland and Joe Lane Cox.

Candidate Alan Metzel, co-owner of Peach Brandy Cottage downtown and a registered psychologist, said he would bring his clinical and business expertise to the council.

He wants to see Dawsonville offer more contracts to municipal merchants "before considering any option outside the city."

"Every business here has spent thousands in permits and fees to locate here, and the city should return the loyalty by giving preference to city businesses," he said.

Smith said she decided to campaign because she cares about the future of downtown.

"This is my home. I live and work here and my family has been here for four generations," she said.

"I see a lot that has been done and I see a lot that could be done. In the last 10 years, I've learned a good bit and I feel like now is a good time to serve."

As a lifelong Dawsonville resident, Smith currently serves as a partner in her family's commercial and residential real estate leasing firm in downtown Dawsonville.

Former councilman Byrd decided not to seek re-election after his mayoral bid fell short.

"I have decided to focus on my business and K.A.R.E. for Kids," he said. "I do plan on staying involved with local politics and will consider running in the future."

Grogan, who was sworn in as mayor Aug. 6, wished the candidates the best.

"After looking at the candidates who've qualified, I'm sure we'll get two good candidates for the council out of that group," he said. "I am excited and ready to have a more permanent council in place."

 

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