Posted By Kate on October 14, 2011
Who Won the Debate For Watkinsville Mayor?
It was a toss-up, a young generation vs the older generation although both candidates agreed on most issues.
Charlie Ivie (retired senior citizen) and Dan Matthews (early 40s) participated in the Political Forum for Mayor of Watkinsville sponsored by the Oconee Enterprise media weekly. Attendees met at 6:30 pm at the Oconee Library to mix and mingle with the candidates before the forum began. About 75 people filled the room and enjoyed socializing and refreshment before the program began.
When the program did began, Maridee Williams, Business Manager of the paper, gave a run-down of what to expect tonight. She also recognized all the public officials: BOC Chairman Melvin Davis, Commissioner Chuck Horton, State Rep Doug McKillip, Superintendent Dr John Jackson, Edu Bd member Kim Argo, Edu Bd member Mark Thomas, Edu Bd member Mike Hunter and Edu Bd member Wayne Bagley, former Mayor Jim Luke, current Mayor Joe Walter, Chief O’Dillon, City Policeman and Jay Hanley, OE temporary photographer for the night.
First Dr Jackson took a few minutes to explain the upcoming E-LOST vote on November 8 and what it will mean for the Oconee School System. He distributed a 4-page description outlining the various “fixes” that each of the 9 county schools needed.
When Blake Giles, Editor of the Oconee Enterprise and moderator of the forum came to the podium, he introduced the 2 candidates and allowed each to make a 2-minute presentation before questions from the audience were asked.
Issues that were addressed included:
1) upgrade of Harris Shoals Park & playground area
2) a by-pass from Simonton Bridge Rd to the traffic light at Chicken Express
3) the E-LOST for an extension of the 1 cent sales tax
4) an expansion of the arts in the city for tourism
5) residents’ largest complaint (Main Street parking)
6) increase in the Mayor’s salary
7) Gainesville State College’s Access to the 441 Watkinsville bypass
location of the School System new Adm building
9) new judicial courthouse building near the current jail
10) improved communications between city & county law enforcement
The only appreciable difference in the 2 candidates was issue # 6 – Mayor’s salary increase. Candidate Ivie believed that the City Council should not have raised the salary this year because of the distressed economy. He stated that at some future date, an increase may be affordable and practical but not now.
Candidate Matthews stated that he agreed with the increase, because he could use the money. He said that the $9000 would certainly help him since he was a single parent with an adolescent age son. However, he was quick to point out that he was not running for the money but for the good of the city and its residents.
The forum lasted about an hour. It was well planned. The attendees enjoyed the exchange expressing several outbursts of laughter occasionally. Congrats to the Oconee enterprise and the staff.
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