Ford challenger for mayor post
by Clay Neely
A challenger in the race for mayor of Moreland is Richard “Dick” Ford — a longtime resident of Coweta County and town alderman for Moreland, along with being a mayor pro-tem.
“I believe I can bring a lot of management experience to the town,” said Ford. “I’ve been a manager all of my life. Honestly, I think our mayor’s office has lacked proper management and I want to improve communications between the alderman's office and the mayor and also to the county offices.”
Ford expressed his fond interest in the current revitalization of the Moreland Mill building.
“We want to make that into an event center to defray the cost of maintaining the mill. It is an expensive venture and [we want to] promote it as our tourism package with the Grizzard museum residing in the mill and using the GDOT (Georgia Department of Transportation) grant to beautify the square,” said Ford.
“We want to give people a reason to visit Moreland. It’s a great community and we’re proud of it,” said Ford.
Ford also has plans that derive from the Blueprints done for Moreland by the Georgia Conservancy.
“I really want to promote and market the mill for weddings and things like that. A few years ago, under the previous city council, we voted in alcohol to serve at the mill. In 2012, we went from two events per year to 13.”
However, the newly-elected council recently voted out alcohol, he said. Once that occurred, three of the scheduled events immediately canceled.
“Ducks Unlimited said they can’t come back without it an alcohol ordinance. As a result, we’ve had only two events this year,” said Ford.
“I told them that it doesn’t matter if you personally drink or not. This is strictly a business matter. We had 13 events and never experienced a single noise complaint or clean-up matter.”
“The council isn’t representing the interests of the town’s citizens. You can’t run a business like that,” said Ford.
Ford believes there is room for improvement.
“The budgets aren’t as good as they could be. A town should be run like a business. I can add management and communications”
In short, Ford believes that the council simply wants Moreland to stay the same. Ford, however, is looking at the long-term picture. He believes that growth is inevitable.
Ford believes that when big business is involved, it’s absolutely paramount that you work with them or they’ll inevitably run the show.
“I want the town to move forward with controlled growth. It’s coming and it’s up to us to work with the growth,” says Ford.
Ford also sees that commercial activity is currently limited and would like to see some growth. “Possibly a bank or a restaurant,” said Ford.
Ford wants to see the town take a more proactive role in the future with the tools it has available.
Citing the Moreland’s first Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax fund in 1997, “They just don’t spend it,” said Ford.
“The original engineering on the mill was done in 1994 and it was laid out explicitly what was needed to stabilize it, but nothing was done. They didn’t want to spend the money.”
Ford believes “the council sees the the town money as their money.”
“When we say Moreland, we mean the Moreland community. This money comes from the whole county, not just the 400 people who live in the town. We’re taxing everyone in the county, so they should all be represented. We should strive to make it a thriving community for everyone,” said Ford.