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Early voting under way in Flowery Branch. Here’s what the 3 candidates have to say
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Flowery Branch City Hall at 5410 W. Pine St. is the South Hall city's government center, including the police department. - photo by Scott Rogers

A critical and busy time faces three political newcomers who face off June 18 for a short-term run on the Flowery Branch City Council.

Ed Asbridge, Missy Brooks and Chip McCallum are seeking the Post 2 seat vacated in December by Mary Jones, who died May 2.

The winner will serve out Jones’ term, which ends Dec. 31.

It may be a short stint, unless the new council member seeks the four-year term beginning Jan. 1 in the Nov. 5 election. But it shouldn’t be a slow one.

Special election

When: Early voting 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays May 28-June 14, election June 18

Where: Flowery Branch City Hall, 5410 W. Pine St.

More info: 770-967-6371

Growth is bearing down on the city, with housing and retail projects underway or about to get started throughout town.

And that’s a hot topic for Brooks, who lives downtown, and Asbridge and McCallum, who live in the massive Sterling on the Lake subdivision off Spout Springs Road.

“Growth is the most important thing, and I think we just need to look at every area we’re going to grow in and make sure it fits as far as our infrastructure, our roads, schools,” said Asbridge, known for his longtime work with the South Hall Republican Club.

The city should aim for “proper growth … that will sustain our tax base and not burden the infrastructure,” he said.

“I’m in full support of downtown redevelopment,” McCallum said. “I’ve seen the plans and think they’re very good. We, as a city, need to find ways to communicate with the entire city about what the plans are and what we hope to gain,” she said, adding that many of her neighbors in Sterling may have no idea about the plans.

Brooks said she believes the city needs to be mindful that growth touches so much other than what’s being built on a particular piece of property.

“You’ve got roadways, water, sewer, EMTs, police officers — you have to pay for all these to support this rapid growth,” she said. “I’m not opposed, necessarily to any increase of a penny on the dollar to keep … our community thriving and beautiful.”

Growth and development is what prompted Brooks to seek office.

“I don’t want to clear-cut trees, and see all our land destroyed, a bunch of buildings go up and developers moving in and out. It costs us in the end, financially,” she said.

McCallum said he believes he can bring some experience involving “civil site construction” to the council. His company helps make materials that resolve engineering issues, such as erosion and drainage control.

“I’ve consulted with geotechnical engineers and (roads) officials for 20 years about … how to make better roads,” he said. “Something every city deals with is deterioration of their infrastructure.”

Asbridge said he had considered an earlier bid for the council but delayed plans when his wife fell ill.

When the time came to reconsider a bid, “I prayed a lot … and (decided) I need to (run),” he said. “I’m in good health, and I think I’ve got a lot to contribute. I’m retired (from J.C. Penney) and can spend full time on it, and I plan to.”

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Ed Asbridge. Candidate for Flowery Branch City Council.

Ed Asbridge

Age: 76

Occupation: Retired J.C. Penney general manager

Political experience: First run for office

On the issues

Growth, development: “Growth is the most important thing, and I think we just need to look at every area we’re going to grow in and make sure it fits as far as our infrastructure, our roads, schools.”

Roads, traffic: “You’ve got a ton of traffic in the morning and evening (throughout the area). I think (fixing roads) fits in with strategic growth. (Traffic is) bad now and going to get worse until we get some roads widened.”

Water, sewer: “There’s an expansion plan with the sewer, and they’re going to add another water tower. That’s going to have to be done because one big development could (severely limit) the capacity that’s left.”

Downtown future: “I think our downtown historic district is the centerpiece of Flowery Branch. I would strive to unite the merchants so they can come up with better promotions and more reasons for people to come downtown.”

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Missy Brooks.

Missy Brooks

Age: 44

Occupation: Owner of Brooks Electrical Solutions

Political experience: First run for office

On the issues

Growth, development: “I don’t want to clear-cut trees, and see all our land destroyed, a bunch of buildings go up and developers moving in and out. It costs us in the end, financially.”

Roads, traffic: “With growth, comes volume. Financially, we don’t have the money to maintain the roads we have. You can’t have growth without the roads to accommodate traffic.”

Water, sewer: “If we don’t have the water supply and the sewer to provide for future developments, I don’t even know how we can even erect more buildings. We will be expanding (water and sewer), but we can’t hurry up and provide it.”

Downtown future: “Being able to revamp our downtown and bring in our locals, it would be nice to not have people to leave (town) and go north and south. That foot traffic would create good revenue for the city, as well.”

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Chip McCallum

Age: 56

Occupation: Commercial director with TenCate Geosynthetics

Political experience: First run for office

On the issues

Growth, development: “I don’t want developments that are going to detract from Flowery Branch. I’m not for any high-density projects. I like homeownership, townhomes and things that people own. Residents are more invested in the community if they own.”

Roads, traffic: “We’re behind in maintenance and asphalt rehabilitation. As far as traffic patterns, it will help when Spout Springs Road is (widened). Our city is active in that … but there’s a lot of work that needs to be done.”

Water, sewer: “The city has a good (expansion) plan in place. It won’t be ready for at least three years, so I don’t see the city approving any large developments … until we can handle the sewer capacity.”

Downtown future: “I’m in full support of downtown redevelopment. I’ve seen the plans and think they’re very good. We, as a city, need to find ways to communicate with the entire city about what the plans are and what we hope to gain.”

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