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Porterdale replaces one councilman, sets election to replace another
Porterdale Mill
Porterdale Mill - photo by Tom Spigolon

PORTERDALE, Ga. — Porterdale City Council voted Monday, Jan. 11, to fill one of its open seats and scheduled a special election to fill another in the wake of two of its five council members’ resignations.

The remaining council members voted to accept the immediate resignations of Post 3 Councilman Tim Savage and Post 1 Councilwoman Niki Wescott.

They then voted to appoint city zoning commission chairman Michael Patterson to serve the remainder of Savage's term this year.

Savage, who was serving his third term, told council members he was resigning to devote more attention to his wife who is seriously ill.

His term was to end on Dec. 31 of this year.  The Post 3 seat was up for election in the city’s Nov. 2 election.

By law, council members could appoint someone to serve the remainder of an unexpired term if that term expired within 12 months. 

After the meeting, Savage said he believed Porterdale needed a “full and focused council.”

"I have spoken to all my fellow members and the mayor, and I feel this is the best for my family and this little town that I love," he said.

"This has been a difficult decision to make. It has been such an honor and a pleasure serving this community and I look forward to continuing to help where and when I can," Savage said. 

Wescott was forced to resign her seat because she was moving to Florida, council members said Monday.

The council voted to set a March 16 date for a special election to fill Wescott's vacant seat, with qualifying set for February.

By law, they were required to call a special election to fill the Post 1 seat because its term of office ended in more than 12 months. Wescott was elected in November 2019 and her term was to expire in December 2023.

Deadline for qualifying as a candidate for the Post 1 seat is set for Feb. 19, which is 25 days before the election. 

The two resignations left only three voting members — the minimum number required for the five-member board to conduct business during a meeting. Mayor Arline Chapman only votes in case of a tie vote by the council.

One member, Mike Harper, was forced to attend Monday’s meeting virtually because he and his wife were recovering after testing positive for COVID-19.

"It's no joke," Harper told council members. "This is rough stuff."

In a related action Monday, the council voted to set the qualifying fee for the city’s Nov. 2 election for Post 3, 4 and 5 council seats at $72.

Also Monday, the council decided not to consider a proposal to waive its occupational tax on businesses for 2021 after hearing it will cost the city $5,500 in revenue.

Councilman Chambers said he would not stand in the way if other council members wanted to implement it. However, he said he did not believe the loss of the revenue would be worth the small benefit $100 would give individual business owners.

“I would not lie down in the road and prevent this,” he said. “(But) I really don’t think it will make a difference.”

Porterdale City Council also Monday:

• Asked audience members for names of at least two nominees for vacant positions on the city zoning commission, both to fill a vacancy and to replace Patterson, who was the chairman.

• Heard from City Manager Frank Etheridge who said a new municipal court clerk is being trained to replace Martha Cain, whose last day in the position is Friday.

He added that the police department should be fully staffed soon when two new officers complete their training.

• Appointed Councilman Lowell Chambers as mayor pro-tem. The position chairs meetings in the absence of the mayor, among other duties.