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Mayor Hobgood Wants Oversight On City Expenses

Gene Hobgood appointed a committee that would come up with a process to approve expenditures for the mayor, city council, city manager and city clerk.

Credit: Patch file.
Credit: Patch file.
Mayor Gene Hobgood wants Canton to get serious about overseeing expenses.

Hobgood on Thursday during the Canton City Council meeting established a committee made up of council members Bill Grant, Hooky Huffman and John Rust to tackle that plan.  

The committee would develop a program to establish an approval process for expenditures related to the mayor and council, city manager and city clerk position.

Hobgood, who stopped short of citing specific examples in the city that have given him some heartburn, said ideally every expenditure request from the aforementioned positions would have to get approval from the council as a whole.

The mayor alluded to the news of DeKalb County Commissioner Elaine Boyer, who allegedly misused her county debit card for thousands of dollars of personal expenses. 

"I would never dream anyone here would do anything that would be remotely similar or anything like that," he said, adding the city has no real process in place. "I just think we can promote public trust if we have something like this in place as opposed to having no oversight at all."

Hobgood also encouraged the council's Fire Services Committee, which meets at 10 a.m. April 10, to move forward on finding another site for its planned third fire station in the northwest corner of the city.

The current site, which sits inside Laurel Canyon, is unsuitable for the city, as it would take $300,000 to get the site ready for development, the mayor said. 

The perception out in the community is the city is dragging its feet on the issue of fire services, the mayor stated. With the new council, the city has gone back to the drawing board to figure out what it needs in the fire services arena.

Hobgood recommends the council direct interim City Manager Glen Cummins to work with Fire Chief Dean Floyd to find an "available" site in the northwest sector of the city. The information would be revealed in executive session, as it would be a real estate manner for the city to possibly pursue.

The mayor said he feels this could be done in 30 to 45 days and possibly by the May 15 meeting, the council could make a decision on whether to acquire the site. In the same timeframe, Hobgood said the city could begin the process of securing an architectural firm that would come up with a design for the new fire station, which he said would take between 60 and 90 days. 

Once the city selects a design firm, which Hobgood envisions could happen in July, the firm could take up to 120 days to perfect the design. That design could be approved by the first meeting in November, if all goes to plan. If the schedule holds together, the mayor envisions a groundbreaking for the third week in November for the new fire station. 

"There’s no reason that we can’t meet this schedule, in my opinion, if we go ahead and move," he said. "We need to move forward, but at the same time, we need to examine these alternatives."

Those alternatives would be, Hobgood said, consolidating with Cherokee County, a joint venture to operate the fire station or the city continuing to own and operate its fire facilities. 

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