1) With the continuous growth of Battlefield Parkway with additions like Home Depot, Logans Roadhouse, Panera Bread and other companies trying to make their way into Catoosa County, how do you plan on dealing with growth in the upcoming years and where do you think it should be concentrated?
2) In what ways can you help improve Fort Oglethorpes relationship with Catoosa County and Ringgold governments?
3) What do you see as Fort Oglethorpes most pressing problem/need and what is the best course to deal with it?
4) In what ways do you believe that revitalization, preservation, and promotion of the citys historic areas can be encouraged?
5) Why are you the best candidate for City Council?
Ward 2 Steve Lanier
1. I think the growth in Fort Oglethorpe, with the commercial additions on Battlefield Parkway, would indicate the need for the planned widening of Cloud Springs Road as it would be a potential growth area for Fort Oglethorpe.
2. Fort Oglethorpe and Ringgold need to agree on an annexation plan. Unavoidable lawsuits only cost taxpayers.
3. I believe Fort Oglethorpes most pressing problem/need at this time is a storm water ordinance. This would alleviate any potential flooding from fixture developments.
4. In regard to the revitalization, preservation and promotion of the citys historic areas, I might suggest appointing a tourism director. We should continue with the TEA 21 Grant from the state of Georgia; also perhaps advertisement within 150 miles from Fort Oglethorpe.
5. Striving for a better city council and community relationship are priorities that would qualify me for the best candidate for City Council of Fort Oglethorpe.
1. The number of companies that are interested in locating within the City of Fort Oglethorpe is at an all time high. The quality of living and the economic potential is very attractive to companies.
However, the growth in our surrounding area will mean more traffic and longer lines in stores. While this is a sign of a popular area to live and work in, it can strain our resources.
Improving and widening several roads such as Cloud Springs will help take the load of heavy traffic off Battlefield Parkway. The possibility of widening Mack Smith and Dietz roads is a ways off, but it will help the flow of traffic in both north and south directions. These are state-funded projects but they still require the involvement of elected officials to insure they are developed in the best interest of the community.
The Downtown Development Authority is looking to improve the curb appeal of Highway 27, making this area more business friendly. I plan to facilitate this through better communication between the parties involved. There are several different groups working in the same area. The funding of these projects through grants and donations has to be co-coordinated so that any one project doesnt hinder the overall plan. I plan to stay involved in any development that will be an asset to this city.
The growth in unincorporated areas of Catoosa County is predominately in the residential districts. Most of these newer developments have been met with local opposition mainly because of the lack of infrastructure to support such developments.
The desire for residential and commercial development remains high within the City of Fort Oglethorpe. The realization of this goal is based on our water and sewer capabilities. While there are older sections of the city that are in need of sewer upgrades, any new plans must address any potential flow problems that might arise.
Residential growth is limited without further annexations to expand the city limits into the county.
2. The disputes between the three governments are mostly over money.
Funding for projects is hard to come by in todays climate. Governments run on tax dollars assessed either by taxes or fees paid by the citizens. As costs rise so do the expenses of supplying services to the community.
Every government has needs but the ability to work with surrounding authorities is essential. I wont be so concerned about re-election that it will cloud my judgment on issues that will benefit the entire community. I will have their best interests in mind with every decision I make.
3. I really see two pressing problems we are facing today. The first is the inadequacy of the older sewer system. As city councilman I will work for a faster resolution to this problem. I will also pursue answers to the lack of funding and equipment, which has plagued our city in the past.
The second is to ensure that we have enough qualified employees to handle our day to day operations and any emergencies that may arise. It is important for our citizens to understand the dedication and pride our employees have for their job. It will be hard to find and harder to keep good employees unless we can offer good pay and benefits. I understand the need for a balanced budget but not at the expense of good employees. Assessing the budget to see where the problem lies and where the money is going will be one of my first steps in office.
4. A lot of people dont realize that Fort Oglethorpe has such a rich history. There are a lot of nearby communities, Lookout Mountain and Chickamauga for example, that have successfully promoted their heritage with brochures, local and regional advertising, and road markers. We should look into doing those things, too.
Highway 27 leading into the park has been economically affected by the bypass. City government needs to take a more active role in supporting various citizen groups that are working on this problem.
Having the ball fields at sBarnhardt Circle moved has been considered. I support this action, as I would like to see the old polo fields preserved. We could also look into grants or low interest financing to restore and maintain the Circles historic homes.
5. Working as zoning administrator in Fort Oglethorpe gave me a first hand look at how our local government works, its function, and its effect on local citizens. Ive also worked for a private organization as a lobbyist, presenting fair housing issues to city and county governments across the state. With the contacts Ive made, Ive had an opportunity to see what a profound impact government can have on a community.
I chose to run for City Council because there is a leadership void on the council and a lack of confidence in the office I wish to hold.
Personal and professional experiences shape character. Good character and good government is based on respect and honesty. The voting public has a responsibility to elect the person who has experience and creditability to lead the city into the future.
I would like to thank The Catoosa County News for the opportunity to respond to these questions and to thank the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe for their support in my effort to serve the city.
Harold Silcox (Incumbent)
1. Because growth causes increased costs for all the services that the city provides, such as public safety, sewers, water and streets, I would personally want to see our commercial growth continue so that the tax base will continue to grow and take the tax burden off of the homeowners. The city growth pattern appears to be concentrated down Hwy. 2 towards the Interstate and will more than likely continue in that direction.
2. I would simply like to see the opportunity open up for more citizens of Fort Oglethorpe to serve on some of the County Commission appointed boards and committees. Fort Oglethorpe has a good working relationship with both entities. Sometimes we disagree but it has always been a reasonably good relationship among us. I am proud of the friendships I have gained through the years of working with the County Commission and Ringgolds mayor and council.
3. The elected officials must diligently look for ways to expand our public safety strength to match our intake in population and growth. I want to make sure that we always keep that in balance.
4. Fort Oglethorpe has a great group of talented people on our Historic Preservation Commission who are diligent in their efforts to improve the citys Historic District. Since the Preservation Commission was chartered I have seen so many good improvements to the District and have confidence the group will continue with the preservation and improvements.
5. For the past several years that I have served on the City Council I have earned the reputation for speaking on behalf of the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe. Experience and dedication to the city and the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe are very essential components of a good council member. As the city meets goals of the present time or makes plans and/or set goals for the future of Fort Oglethorpe, I feel my experience, dedication and sincerity makes me the best candidate. .
Ward 3 Louis Hamm
1. It would be good for other companies to come to Fort Oglethorpe, however, we must keep in mind our services will need to increase as our growth increases.
2. I will be willing to listen to the issues concerning both cities and the county, weighing out pros and cons, then making decisions based on the best for all concerned.
3. One of the pressing problems/needs is for an industrial park in order to attract manufacturing, filling a need for employment and a better tax base.
4. On LaFayette Road from Battlefield Parkway to the entrance to the Battlefield should be revitalized, beautified and preserved to have a more pleasant entrance to the historic Chickamauga Battlefield.
5. I am the best candidate because I am a person with fresh ideas in city government with a new willingness to hear the people and to act on their cares and concerns, working together as a community for a better future.
Alan Marshall (Incumbent)
1. I am very proud of our city and the commercial growth we have experienced during my six years. Our city welcomes quality businesses. Success follows success. Retail/restaurants know we are a good friendly city with a first rate police and fire Service; along with quality planning and building standards. As a council member, I will continue to support our quality growth, on Battlefield Parkway and in our downtown area. I will also seek to find properties for an industrial park.
2. I agree that the cities and Catoosa County government need better cooperation. As councilman, Im elected to make sure Fort Oglethorpe is included and fairly represented wherever the county commissioners act.
3. I see problems as opportunities as a councilman. My challenge is to continue our quality growth; increasing our commercial tax base; and to continue to work as a councilman to insure our city is a good place to live, to work, and to enjoy all our recreational opportunities we provide for our residents.
4. As the councilman directly involved with the Downtown Development Association, I have worked with our State Senator Mullis and our State Representatives Neal and Scott, in securing state funding for our downtown. I believe my experience and good working relations with our state elected officials serves our city well.
5. Im seeking re-election based on my accomplishments. I know how city council works; I am experienced and trained in municipal government and involved in the Downtown Development Association and City Recreation programs. I am very proud of all the city has accomplished during the past six years. As your councilman, I will continue to help guide the city forward. If you like all that the city has accomplished these six years, I will appreciate your vote again.
Ward 5 Gerald Steve Brandon
1. Each individualized area of growth will have to be dealt with on an individual basis depending on their needs as to what type of growth it is; commercial, industrial, or residential. I dont want to concentrate in any one area. I want all of Fort Oglethorpe to grow and prosper.
2. I can work well with the people throughout the two cities and the county for the better of all the citizens involved. I have a good relationship with the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe, Ringgold and in the county.
3. The most pressing problem and needs I see are sewers and annexation. I will try to work with the people that want to be annexed as well as those who do not. I need to work toward the West Chickamauga Creek Interceptor, because it is vital to our growth.
4. To work with the Preservation Society and Historical Society as a team to bring back more businesses to go along with the businesses already in place and to change the appearance of Hwy. 27 and work to preserve and maintain Barnhardt Circle.
5. I believe with the years of leadership, experience in operating my own business, since 1976, working with employees, working with the public, and working with the government on local, state, and federal levels, I have a lot of experience to offer the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe.
Ronnie Cobb (Incumbent)
1. With the quality growth that has taken place in the last 10 years on Battlefield Parkway while there have been some growing pains the city has experienced quality responsible growth. We must continue to recruit good businesses for Fort Oglethorpe, but we should also continue to skillfully manage some of the growth problems, i.e. storm water, upgrading sewers, and maintaining our superior fire protection and police presence. With management and responsible leadership, we will continue to experience smart growth.
2. I agree relationships should be improved. I assure you that I too would like the cities and county elected officials to be more open in all dealings. We must do better.
3. The one major problem, not just in Fort Oglethorpe but also for Ringgold and the county is that we are faced with funding cuts from both the state and federal government. We are going to have to manage smarter and be more conservative in order to meet our needs. As your councilman, I can assure you the city will be financially responsible. This can be done by making sure that you vote with your heart and have elected men and women that are knowledgeable about all facets of government.
4. We are working on this area at this time but this is something that will take time. I will be a continuing project that will be handed down to the people involved in the historical district as well as your future elected officials. This project is vital to the downtown and each must do their part while they are in office. We hope to be selected for a Transportation Enhancement Grant TEA on this years request and it will allow $500,000 to $600,000 to use in this area. I firmly support the downtown revitalization.
5. Because I have done what I said I would do, Be a voice for the people. I feel that my experience and proven record the last 10 years have proven that I can make a difference. My belief is to be honest with myself as well as the citizens of Fort Oglethorpe. My pledge is the same as it was in 1996 and 2001. I will do whats right instead of whats popular all the time. I would appreciate continued support as your councilman.
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