The Ball Ground City Council is set to be shaken up by the Nov. 2 general election, in which three seats are up for grabs. But before voters head to the polls, they will get the opportunity to talk face-to-face with many of the candidates vying for the council’s Post 3, Post 4 and Post 5 seats.
Spearheaded by residents, a meet and greet event with the candidates is scheduled Oct. 10 from 2 to 4 p.m. at City Park in downtown Ball Ground. Residents can meet with candidates to determine which align with their vision of the future of the city. Candidates will be on hand to chat with residents and field questions and concerns ahead of the Nov. 2 election.
The event was coordinated by residents of the Mountain Brooke North subdivision in Ball Ground. Organizer Mary Luchan said after a string of uncontested races in the city, the event will be vital in allowing residents to be better informed about which candidates are seeking each post and who they feel is the best candidate for each seat.
“You’ve got a lot of different personalities out there, and different people want different things,” Luchan said. “If they had an opportunity to talk to each candidate, they could see who will fit what they are looking for. Ball Ground has not had an election like this…in a long time. So people aren’t really sure about who is running for what post.”
Luchan aims to help residents answer those questions at the meet and greet event. She said each candidate will be on hand to chat with residents and set up a table and hand out any information on their campaign.
“People can actually go up and talk to each of the candidates,” Luchan said.
Three posts will be decided in the Nov. 2 election — Post 3, Post 4 and Post 5 — with a total of 10 candidates qualifying to fill the positions in August.
Post 3 has a field of five candidates: Vicki Benefield, Darrell McNeal, Mark Popham, Cory Cooper and Adam Humphreys.
They are running in a special election to fill the seat of former councilman Frank Homiller, who resigned his seat in July due to a work-related scheduling conflict he said barred him from fulfilling his duties on the council.
Three candidates — Charles Jenkins, Dennis Nelson and Ben Reilly — qualified for the Post 5 seat. They hope to replace Councilman Mickey O’Malley, who is not seeking re-election after over 10 years on the council.
Running for Post 4 are incumbent John Byrd and Kristine Rogers.
Luchan said all candidates were invited to participate, and six of the candidates had confirmed their attendance as of Thursday afternoon.
The contenders who have confirmed their attendance, Luchan said, include Post 3 hopefuls Benefield, McNeal and Popham, Post 4 candidate Rogers and Post 5 candidates Jenkins and Nelson.
Rick Roberts is set to continue his extensive term as Ball Ground mayor. Roberts was the only candidate to qualify for the seat. After serving as mayor from 1988 to 1993, Roberts was re-elected as mayor in 1996 and has held the seat since.
Ball Ground councilmembers are elected at large by residents. Council terms are four years.
City Park is adjacent to the railway in downtown and accessible from Old Dawsonville Road. Additional parking will be available at Gilmer Ferry Road and Valley Street.