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Posted: August 22, 2013 9:00 p.m.

Porterdale's Chambers running again

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Porterdale City Councilman Lowell Chambers is running for re-election to the Post 5 seat to continue work on revitalizing downtown, including increasing river recreation opportunities.

Chambers, 57, was initially elected in early 2009 to fill the unexpired term of Kay Piper and was elected again in November 2009. He said he believes the council has made a lot of progress in creating a more professional and successful city.

"Four years ago, I was encouraged to run by citizens who were tired of political bickering and controversy and who wanted to see Porterdale reach its potential. Since then, Porterdale has made huge strides — the city budget is financially sound and the millage rate has been lowered, the police and all departments are operating full time, and housing codes are being enforced," Chambers said in an email to The News.

"A new attitude of optimism and cooperation is evident on the council. Long-term debt has been refinanced with lower interest rates and lower payments, and the savings are being invested in the reconstruction of the city’s sewer system. Parks have been constructed, trees have been planted, a new Main Street director has been hired, and the historic gymnasium is being historically preserved and repurposed as an event space. I have been instrumental in all these accomplishments. I want to see this progress continue," Chamber said.

Chambers said his focus will continue to be on downtown development, historic preservation and continued improvement in residents’ quality of life, including pursuing a multi-faceted park along the Yellow River. He also has some smaller goals he wants to check off, like computerizing the city’s code, so it can be placed online.

Four years ago, Chambers said he wanted to bring stability to city leadership, promote more open government and create a better environment for employees, and he believes he’s helped to accomplish those goals. For his full responses to each of those previous campaign goals, visit CovNews.com to see Chamber’s completed election questionnaire.

A licensed engineer, Chambers is currently the watershed director for the City of Atlanta and reviews all building permits in Atlanta that involve "earth-disturbing activities, drainage, storm-water management, sanitary sewer, flood plains, stream buffers or wetlands." He previously served as chief engineer of Atlanta’s public works department and has been with the city for 24 years.

"I have been responsible for numerous major projects, including large diameter wastewater tunnels and a $500 million evaluation and rehabilitation of the Atlanta sewer system," Chambers said.

Born in Demorest, Ga., Chambers lived in several towns as the son of a United Methodist pastor. He has lived in Porterdale since 2000 "because it is reminiscent of the small towns" in which he and his wife grew up.

He earned a bachelor’s degree in music education in 1978 and a bachelor’s degree in agricultural engineering in 1982 from the University of Georgia. He earned a master’s degree in city planning from Georgia Tech in 1987.

Chambers is a founding member of The Friends of Porterdale nonprofit and has served as chairman of the Porterdale Planning and Zoning Commission. He currently serves on the Porterdale Historic Preservation Commission and Yellow River Water Trail group and is on the board of directors for Smart Growth Newton County, Newton Trails and the Newton County Water and Sewerage Authority.

He and his wife, Melanie Sheets, have two sons, Wesley and Zachary, and attend Covington First United Methodist Church. Sheets is a fourth-grade teacher at Heard-Mixon Elementary School.

Chambers can be reached by email at chamberssheets@charter.net, by phone at 770-784-5894 and by mail at P.O. Box 877, Porterdale, GA 30070.

When asked, Chambers said he had no criminal background, no financial issues and was current on all financial disclosure and campaign contribution reports required for elected officials.

He does not have any ownership stake in any businesses.

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