While one Grovetown City Council member is stepping down, three Grovetown men will step up in the Nov. 8 special and general election to vie for two council terms expiring at the end of this year.
Tony Arnold, who was elected in late 2003 to fill the 26 months remaining on a resigned member's term, will not be running for a second term.
"First of all, let me say that it has been a real honor and a privilege to serve the citizens of Grovetown and to work alongside the mayor and the other council members," Arnold said. "I have reached a point in my life that there are other interests that I wish to pursue, and some of them have themselves available at this point in my life and I want to pursue those."
Terms of two council members, Bruce Stoddard and Arnold, expire at the end of this year. Replacements will need to be voted on by residents at the election.
Incumbent Stoddard, 53, who is completing his first four-year term on the council, said he will run for the seat for another term.
"It has proven to be interesting," Stoddard said. "I have enjoyed having a say-so in the city. I feel like I am contributing to the city."
Stoddard said he believes in term limits, though none exist in the city. If he wins in the November election, it will be his last consecutive term on the city council, he said.
"There needs to be new ideas and new ways of doing things," Stoddard said.
Grovetown newcomer Fred Turner, 48, also has filed to run for a council seat. Turner, the pastor of City of Life Ministries Inc., has lived in Grovetown for only a year after moving from Hephzibah. He said he hopes to bring the fresh perspective of a newcomer to the council.
Former City Councilman George James spent 1988 through 1991 on the council and resigned two years into his third city term in late 2003 to run for the District 4 county commission seat won by Lee Anderson. James was replaced on the council by Arnold, but James would like to regain his seat.
"I've got a couple of things I really want to concentrate on. No. 1, keeping Grovetown a viable community," James said, referring to the talk of Columbia County pursuing a consolidation. "My other passion is I want to revitalize what I call old town Grovetown. I'm not necessarily talking about the downtown district. I'm talking about the old town community where we have a lot of homes in bad repair and some trailer parks that are staying more or less vacant most of the time.''
Only registered voters who are residents of the city of Grovetown are eligible to vote in the election. According to the Columbia County Board of Elections, as of Oct. 1, the city had 4,737 registered voters, but more registrations were being entered.
Because of recent changes in state law, each voter is required to show an approved form of picture identification to include a Georgia driver's license, passport, government issued photo identification or employee card; military photo identification card; or tribal photo identification card, according to Debbie Marshall, the executive director of the Columbia County Board of Elections.
Absentee voting begins Monday and will end Friday, Nov. 4. Absentee voting is for residents who are 75 or older, physically disabled, required to remain on duty for the protection of health, life and safety of the public or observe a religious holiday or will be out of the area on election day.
Advanced voting will span the week of Oct. 31 through Nov. 4. Absentee and advanced voting can be handled at the Columbia County Board of Elections office in the Evans Government Center Complex on Ronald Reagan Drive.
Grovetown voters also will be able to vote in a referendum seeking to legalize the Sunday sale of liquor by the drink in restaurants.
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