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Election 2009 qualifying starts today
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Municipal elections

Listed below are the municipal seats up for election in Hall and surrounding Northeast Georgia counties. Qualifying begins today and goes through Wednesday, except where noted otherwise.

Hall County

  • Gainesville: City council Ward 1, held by George Wangemann, and Ward 4, held by Danny Dunagan; board of education Ward 1, held by David Syfan, and Ward 4, held by Kelvin Simmons; and referendums on elected mayor and school board chair.
  • Lula: Mayor, held by Milton Turner; and city council District 2, held by Vicky Chambers, and District 3, held by Mordecai Wilson.
  • Gillsville: Mayor, held by Larry Poole; and city council Post 1, held by Roy Turpin, and Post 2, held by Tim House.
  • Flowery Branch (Qualifying through Friday): City council Post 3, held by Pat Zalewski, Post 4, held by Allen Bryans Sr., and Post 5, held by Mary Jones
  • Oakwood: Mayor, held by Lamar Scroggs; and two council seats, held by Ron McFarland and Sam Evans.
  • Clermont (Qualifying through Friday): Mayor, held by James Nix; and two council seats, held by Brad Weaver and Sonny Helton.

Banks County

  • Countywide (Qualifying through Friday): Special election to fill two newly created county commission seats. Last year, voters approved going from a three-person commission to a five-person commission.
  • Homer: Mayor, held by Douglas Cheek; and entire city council, held by Sandra Garrison, Betty Borders, Jerry Payne, Chris Tucker, Kevin Cate.

Habersham County

  • Alto: City council Post 1, held by Cathy Armour, Post 3, held by Margaret Beaupre, and Post 5, held by Gary Terrell.
  • Demorest: Mayor, held by Malcolm Hunnicutt; two at-large city council seats, held by Paul Skelton and Perry Hendrix.
  • Mount Airy: Mayor, held by Gary E. Morris; two at-large city council seats, held by Bobby Ayers and William Ray McAllister.
  • Cornelia: City council Ward 1, held by Brenda Garcia, and Ward 3, held by Don Bagwell.

Dawson County

  • Dawsonville (Qualifying through Friday): Two city council seats, held by Linda Grant and Jonathan Cox.

Jackson County

  • Jefferson: Mayor, held by Jim Joiner; city council District 2, held by David S. Varnedoe Jr., and District 4, held by Randall "Bosie" Griffith; board of education chairman, held by Ron Hopkins; and two board of education seats, held by Derrell Crowe and Damon Wilbanks.
  • Commerce: Mayor pro tem; city council Ward 1 and Ward 2; board of education District 1, held by Arthur Pattman, and District 2, held by Mary Seabolt.
  • Braselton: Mayor, held by Pat Graham; town council District 2, held by Ralph Richardson Jr., and District 4, held by Dudley Ray.
  • Hoschton: Mayor, held by Bill Copenhaver; city council Post 1, held by Richard Green, Post 2, held by Jim Jester, and Post 3, held by John Schulte.
  • Nicholson: Mayor, held by Ronnie Maxwell; four city council seats.

Lumpkin County

  • Dahlonega (Qualifying through Friday): Mayor, held by Gary McCullough; city council Post 1, held by Ralph Prescott; city council Post 2, held by Johnny Ariemma; and city council Post 3, held by Gerald Lord.

White County

  • Cleveland (Qualifying through Friday): City council Ward 3, held by Edward Young, and Ward 4, held by Bradley Greene.
  • Helen: Three of five at-large city commission seats, held by Jack Champagne, David Greear and Helen Wilkins.

From staff reports

In recent months, the talk already has turned to the 2010 elections, but qualifying begins today for this November’s municipal elections to fill local government positions across Northeast Georgia and the state.

The qualifying period runs through Wednesday for most municipalities, but lasts until Friday in some areas.

Often called "off-year" elections because they are held in odd-numbered years, municipal elections fill seats such as mayor, city or town councils and school boards. Ballots in those election years rarely contain national or statewide — or even countywide — races.

The local government could look quite a bit different in Banks County after the Nov. 3 election, as the county will be electing new members of an expanded commission and one city will be electing an entire council.

Last year, Banks County voters approved expanding from a three-person commission to a five-person commission, so two new members will be elected to the board in November. In addition, Homer not only will be electing a mayor, but all five city council seats are up for election.

In November, voters in several municipalities around the region also will have ballot questions to consider, ranging from how officials are elected to sales taxes.

Gainesville residents will vote on a nonbinding referendum asking their opinion about whether the mayor and school board chairman should be elected by voters instead of appointed by members of each board. Earlier this year, the Georgia legislature approved putting the measure on the ballot. Gainesville’s city council and school board have expressed some disagreement with the measure.

White County voters will be asked whether to extend the current Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax for education facilities for a five-year period, from 2013-2018, for the purpose of building a new middle school and updating other building infrastructure. The current SPLOST was approved to run from 2008 to 2013 and has averaged collections of about $3 million a year.

Dawson County also is considering putting an education sales tax on the ballot, but the decision on that ballot question is expected to be made later this week.

Not all municipalities will be waiting until November to hold elections.

Commerce will be holding a special election in September to fill the unexpired term of J. Clark Hill III, who represented Ward 4. In November, Commerce also will be having the regular elections for Wards 1 and 2.

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