FORT VALLEY, GA.-- - Early voting starts Monday in city races across Central Georgia.
That includes Fort Valley where there is a four-way mayor's race.
We spoke to each of the four candidates about many different topics and about what they hope to do if elected.
The current Mayor, Barbara Williams, has been in office for four years now. The candidates running against her are Ralph Davis II, Jo Ann Dankel and Jamie Johnson.
We asked each candidate what they would change if they were elected.
"One of the first things I did was turn Main Street back into a 2 way. To renovate our Festival Park. We got a Chip Grant awarded to us where we've been working on the repairs and refurbishing of people's houses. We're going to do a 3-star hotel and conference center out there,” says Williams.
"Their way of issuing business licenses is out dated and illegal actually. I'm surprised they haven't been sued yet. I want to bring recycling to the city. We were only able to balance our budget this year by getting $350,000 from the Utility Commission,” explains Davis II.
"The way the Mayor and Council work together. There's been some acrimony in the last few months. We definitely need to revitalize downtown. We need to learn to live within our means. I also have some ideas about how we can save some significant money,” says Dankel.
"I want to create a level of comradery with all of our agencies. I want to see if we can expand our growth. We've seen limited amounts of growth over the time and the years,” says Johnson.
We also asked each candidate how they would improve job growth and crime in Fort Valley.
"We have a problem with the younger people coming to school here and as soon as their done going somewhere else because there's nothing to hold them here. We want to develop some things to hold them here. We have a great retirement community because of our public safety and all that kind of stuff,” explains Williams.
"Crime isn't actually that bad here. Fort Valley just has a bad reputation and needs some new PR. I want to partner with the university in developing a new curriculum to where we'll train them and you hire them. Work where you live. We have a lot of people who work for the city and don't live here. So that's tax dollars leaving the community,” says Davis II.
"More than anything we have a perception problem in Fort Valley. People think we have a high crime rate but we don't. We have crime as done every community. We need jobs here that can support families. We must take better care of our small businesses. Our utility rates are too high for them,” says Dankel.
"We want to make sure that the growth is still moving in the same direction. One of our biggest issues I've had to look at are our burglaries. A lot of time the burglaries aren't just from the people who live here but people passing through our community,” explains Johnson.
There will also be a political forum Thursday night at the Peach County Courthouse at 7 p.m. All four candidates will take questions.
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