PORTERDALE, Ga. - In a fully contested city council race in Porterdale, all incumbents came out victorious in the Nov. 7 election.
Tim Savage, Mike Harper and Lowell Chambers each defeated their competitors Ryan Barrett, Marvin Moore and Rick Vaida respectively.
The Covington News reached out to all candidates in the election to offer the opportunity to communicate with the voters post-election.
The message is clear, Savage said regarding the reelection of all incumbent candidates.
“I think what the citizens were saying by reelecting the incumbents is clear,” he said. “I believe that the heart and hard work we all bring to the council shows in the improvements we have made in the city and the citizens see and approve. And, moreover, I think the voters are excited and hopeful that we, as a council and with direction from our people, continue to make strides to bring this city to level everyone believes it will be.”
Chambers said the reelection of the incumbents showed the citizens were satisfied with the work that is being done in the mill village.
“I think this reflects the fact that voters are generally happy with the overall progress and direction of our town,” he said. “People both inside and outside Porterdale recognize the value of our recreational facilities.
“We have a surprisingly rich offering of arts, music, and special events for a town our size. New residents are buying and restoring houses; they are becoming part of our community. Property values are increasing. People are optimistic about the future of Porterdale.”
Harper said he has seen a lot of progress during his time on the council and he hopes to continue to see growth.
“I think it means that they like what we’re doing and the things we’ve accomplished in Porterdale and we’ve come a long way in the last 16 years,” he said.
When asked, each councilmember said they would like to see Porterdale continue to be a great place to live over the next four years.
“I want to continue efforts to make Porterdale a great place to live, work, and enjoy,” Chambers said. “I want to complete current projects like the construction of the Scenic Overlook at the dam; construction of a stage cover, and the installation of lighting and sound equipment for the Historic Gym concert space; construction of public restrooms in the Yellow River Park; rebuilding the City’s sewer system; and fully implementing the scrap tire collection program.
“I want to continue to focus on historic preservation, fair and consistent enforcement of the housing and property maintenance codes, and continue to support downtown development.”
Savage said his goals are simple and obtainable.
“I plan to work with the team to continue to attract businesses to the city and grow the current businesses that are here,” he said. “As well as working with the film industry to make sure they continue to use Porterdale for filming locations.
“Another goal that is very important to me is the advancement of Porterdale as a recreational hub, so we will get the boat launch installed, complete the scenic overlook by the dam and work on adding a mountain bike component to the Yellow River Park. And we will keep working to address transportation concerns for our aging citizens and veterans.
“I expect plenty challenges ahead but I am confident with the current leadership and team we have here in the village, we will meet them head on and conquer them.”
Harper said his sights are set on developing the downtown. He hopes to continue to work with the other councilmembers and city employees to maintain a top-notch police department, code enforcement and historic preservation, as well as working with investors to help the town grow and stay strong.
“I would love to see another fire department in Porterdale, whether it’s paid or volunteer – just like it used to be with the Porterdale Volunteer Fire Department,” he said.
Each councilmember thanked the voters for their reelection and participation.
“Thank you very much for your trust in me, I will keep working very hard for all of y’all in the next four years just as I have in the last 16,” Harper said.
“Thank you for taking your time and making your voice heard, and Thank you for believing in me and my fellow council, Mayor and the whole team here at this amazing village,” Savage said.
“I want to say ‘Thank you!’” Chambers said. “As an outspoken advocate for historic preservation, downtown development, and investment in arts and recreation facilities, the wide margin of victory tells me that our citizens share these values. It reinforces my commitment to continue to focus on these issues.”
Barrett, who ran against Savage, thanked the voters for their support and encouraged his opponent to use this election as lesson.
“Kristin and I would like to thank all of the voters who took the time out of their busy schedules to have their voices heard,” he said. “While the turnout, nor the results were what we had hopes for, we are grateful for the opportunity to be heard.
“To my opponent, Tim Savage, I hope my campaign served as an eye opener for you as you continue to represent us. May you be accountable and dependable. I also hope that you do what is right and pay your taxes, as you and the council faithfully ask us to pay. We are all watching for Porterdale’s best days ahead as you have promised to provide.
“I look forward to continue being involved in Porterdale, including working with fellow residents to establish a non-profit free clinic for all Porterdale residents.”
When asked if he would like to respond to Barrett’s comments, Savage said he had nothing to add.
“Thank you so much. But I have nothing more, other than I wish Mr. Barrett and his family the very best,” he said. “And I look forward to him getting involved in the community and developing as a leader.”
Moore and Vaida did not respond to The Covington News’ request for comment.