Two running for Sharpsburg City Council seat
by Wes Mayer
In the upcoming Coweta County municipal elections, one city council seat is being challenged in Sharpsburg.
Polly Garlington, a resident of Sharpsburg for 16 years, will be challenging incumbent Councilman Keith Rhodes for post four on the Sharpsburg City Council. Rhodes has served in his position for six years and has lived in the city for more than 10 years.
Garlington, a retired Coweta County school teacher of 22 years who has also worked in real estate, said the main reason she is running for council is the lack of communication with residents. She also wants to improve the consistency of the city council meetings and focus on development inside the city limits rather than expanding the city into new areas.
“There are a lot of things going well, many positive things,” Garlington said. “But these things are very serious.”
Garlington said she has closely watched the city council since retiring and moved to Sharpsburg. Living on Main Street only a block away from downtown, Garlington has attended almost every city council meeting, she said. On the side, she writes newsletters about the city on her personal site, www.sharpsburgga.net.
Garlington said residents rarely attend the meetings, and sometimes the meetings are canceled or postponed due to absent council members. Mostly, she feels residents do not receive enough information about the meetings, and therefore do not become involved with the city.
“I believe we need to do something so residents won’t be in the dark,” Garlington said. “It is our responsibility. It’s not that residents can’t find out any information — it just shouldn’t be so hard.”
She proposed improving communications by setting up a website for Sharpsburg, or that the city start sending text messages to residents about the city council meetings. She also said city improvements should begin with the downtown area, which has “gone to the dogs,” she said.
Rhodes, an information technology specialist who has worked for companies like Delta and IBM since 1975, would like to continue the progress of the Shaprsburg council now.
“We have to manage our growth now so our citizens will appreciate the city and enjoy living here,” Rhodes said.
Rhodes said the city council has been making great progress on the management of Sharpsburg’s city parks and with the expansions of the city limits. Rhodes believes the residents of the city trust the city council, but because there is not much attendance in the meetings, he likes to personally visit his neighbors’ homes and let them know what is going on.
Rhodes first ran for city council in 2006, when Sharpsburg was “choked” by a Peachtree City development company, he said. The city reached a point where nothing could be built, and he ran with the platforms of helping clear the mess, he said.
Since being elected to his city council post, Rhodes said, he’s helped the city move out of its predicament, has set up regulations for outdoor watering and burning bans, and he has seen the construction of a new restaurant in downtown that sells beer.
During two of his years serving his council post, Rhodes was absent overseas in Iraq and Afghanistan. There, he helped set up communications as a defense contractor, answering questions about communications and radio uses for police forces there, he said.
During his time away, he said, he attended the city council meetings via Skype, but would not participate in any voting. When he returned home, he was asked to return to the city council and has enjoyed it ever since, he said.
“It is wonderful when we can sit down, talk and exchange ideas,” Rhodes said. “That is when it works great.”
Early voting for the Nov. 5 Coweta County municipal elections begins Monday.