Council's Fiscal Choices Focal Point of Meeting

An $8 million proposed bond will be discussed, as well as criticism of the recent spending on Christmas lights and the Canton Theatre renovations.

Both the Canton City Council and the concerned citizens who will fill City Hall Thursday are expected to have their minds on money, but for different reasons.

The Mayor and Council will be presenting a resolution to call for a bond referendum to be held on March 19, 2013, which will give the city $8 million that will go towards construction and outfitting of three new fire stations for the Canton Fire Department. 

If approved, the bond will be repaid over 20 years at an interest rate of 3.25 percent. The three new stations would be at Laurel Canyon, Canton Marketplace and the Bluffs. The Bluffs station will also contain a new training facility. The construction of the facilities is projected to cost $4.1 million.

The idea of a bond may not sit well with Canton residents already concerned about the city's allegedly frivolous spending during the economic recession. Criticisms of the council's approval of and $51,000 for renovations to the Canton Theatre have drawn the ire of residents who feel the City Council is not being a good steward of public funds.

Councilman Bill Bryan has responded to critics of the city's Christmas light spending on Canton-Sixes Patch, and has produced a written rebuttal to an opinion piece in the Cherokee Tribune that criticised the new lights as a symptom of the city's inability to spend money wisely.

Councilman John Beresford will introduce a set of guidelines he hopes will reduce the discord that can sometimes result between audience members and the Mayor and Council when controversial measures are discussed during meeting.

The "Public Meeting Participation Guidelines" include the protocol on how to sign up for public comment, what topics are allowed to be discussed, how to properly speak to the Mayor and Council, and actions that are off-limits for speakers.

Recent meetings have seen Beresford lament the "backbiting" between council members and the "inappropriate" behavior of audience members during meetings.

It should be noted that Beresford's comments in regards to council members was directed at Councilman Glen Cummins for his efforts to chastise Bryan for his feud with Mayor Gene Hobgood.

The agenda for the meeting, along with the bond referendum proposal and Beresford's public comment guidelines are available in this article.

The meeting will begin at 6:00 on the third floor of City Hall.

People are Crazy December 07, 2012 at 05:04 PM
Why are people complaining about a measly 30k on Christmas lights and the money spent on the theater to bring life into the City at night which will increase revenue for the businesses open in the evening? What happened to questioning the salaries of the Mayor's staff that exceeds both these items put together? Has anyone found out what the duties of these individuals are? If you are going to be"concerned citizens" about the City's budget then stop acting like petulant children complaining about anything and everything and stick to one complaint until it is resolved. Is the matter of the huge salaries of those employees been explained to everyone's satisfaction? If so, I missed that story.
Change For Canton December 07, 2012 at 06:57 PM
You do have to sign up to speak at any council meeting as it is now..Come to one and you will see. Also, our Charter has guidelines that are followed in regard to language, topic, etc...It is a moot point.
Change For Canton December 07, 2012 at 07:02 PM
Well, people are crazy...First of all, only one position is being eliminated and she does not make more than those items put together. They are not saving this money, they are simply moving it to other areas. The person being eliminated is very well qualified and she has been doing her job for a very long time. Her salary is very low in comparison to others. The other job you are speaking of it the job of the Main Street Director. She will maintain her position regardless and she is paid about 1/3 of what other Main Street Program Directors are paid. Therefore, these woman do not have "huge" salaries. But, very necessary positions. Also, the question has never been about their pay. It has been about who they report to. Please come to meetings and you will be informed.
Etowahwah December 07, 2012 at 07:09 PM
People, I would not describe either of the two employees that currently report to the Mayor's office as having "excessive" salaries. One is an administrative assistant that handles the day-to-day communications and functions between the citizens and the Mayor. Her position was approved by the entire Council years ago. The staff was only questioned in retaliation for the Mayor's stance on the Fire District. The Main Street Director actually answers to the Main Street Board, and she is seriously underpaid. The Main Street program is accredited by the Dept of Community Affairs and the National Trust, and they have very stringent guidelines. Ms. Garrard took the Main Street program from nothing to a respected program with documented results in under 3 years. If you want to question "excessive" salaries, how about that of the City Manager, Scott Wood, who makes well over $150,000 per year with a HUGE pension and a $1,000 a month car allowance for his two seat convertible. Meanwhile, continuing problems with the Water Dept, Police Dept and other areas that he manages persist. If you are really behind saving money, how about we find a qualified Manager for $75,000 a year and use the savings to hire an Economic Development manager? That sounds like a good deal to me and would not eliminate anyone's job.
Joe Gross January 08, 2013 at 12:39 AM
I have known and stayed in contact with John Beresford for the last 17 years. During that time i have never experienced him in telling a lie or using foul language in describing anyone. How rare. I do not live in the city of Canton but i think the citizens of that city are well served by John in his current role.


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