GEORGETOWN — Ten candidates seeking seats on the city council introduced themselves and answered questions at a public forum this week.
The forum was sponsored by the Georgetown Ladies Community Club, and about 50 people attended to hear from the candidates.
Twelve candidates are seeking six positions in the Georgetown municipal election — one council seat in each of the city's four wards, as well as the clerk and mayoral seats.
Mayor Dennis Lucas is seeking re-election against write-in challenger and current Ward 3 Alderwoman Kay Sanders. Recent appointee Jeri Nale is seeking to retain her position as city clerk against challenger Tracy Isaacson.
Incumbent Gerald McPhillips is running unopposed for the Ward 1 seat. Incumbent Tom Seilhymer is running against challenger and former Alderman Carl Lee Johnson for the Ward 2 seat. Incumbent Wilma Wilming is running against challenger and former Alderman Keith Walker for the Ward 3 seat. Matt Goodrum is not seeking re-election to his Ward 4 seat, but three others are: former Alderman Kim Shrout and newcomers Robert "Mitch" Weaver and Tim Waterman.
Netiher Isaacson nor McPhillips were present at the forum.
Candidates answered prepared questions from former alderwoman and current county board member Cathy Jenkins, who served as facilitator for the forum.
There was consensus among the candidates about the importance of trying to raise city revenues and attract businesses, and of completing the city's planned sewer separation project and upgrading of the wastewater treatment plant.
Lucas said he hoped to try to bring the council together to complete the projects before it.
"I want to continue what we have started and keep the city moving forward," Lucas said. "We have come a long way, but there is still a ways to go."
Sanders said she would try to treat everyone with respect if elected.
"Votes for me will be appreciated and rewarded with hard work and dedication for the city of Georgetown," Sanders said.
Nale said she wanted to retain the job she was appointed to five months ago.
"I am so passionate about being clerk," Nale said. "I feel like I have learned a lot over the past five months, and I want to continue on that path."
Seilhymer said he wanted to see the current sewer projects through to completion.
"I like being on the council," he said. "I want to pursue the projects that we have begun."
Johnson said he would try to use his past 14 years of experience on the council to try to advance projects while keeping taxes and utility costs low.
"I am a homeowner and a taxpayer, and I am worried about the costs of living in this city," Johnson said..
Wilming said she was concerned about the city and especially about the local schools, the future of the American Legion in the city, utility rates for seniors and the lack of a pharmacy in the city.
"I have lived in Georgetown all my life and want to see things here improve," she said.
Walker said he has been disappointed at recent meetings he attended by council members who have declined to vote on issues because they said they were uninformed about them.
"I want to see these projects completed, and if I have questions, I will get them answered before the meetings," he said.
Shrout said he wanted to see the council avoid the power struggles he has witnessed recently and work together for the betterment of the city.
"A vote for me is a vote for proven experience," he said.
Waterman said his experiences as a local firefighter led him to an interest in public service.
"I have supported this community for the past 14 years, and I would be honored to have its support now," Waterman said.
Weaver said he would support the neighborhood watch program and children's activities in the city.
"The sewer project is important, and I have 26 years' experience in construction," Weaver said.
"But my primary focus would be getting kids off the streets and helping their education. Our kids are our future," he said.