Smyrna citizens’ input made what would have been an uneventful city council meeting newsworthy Tuesday night.
Three of the 2011 election candidates took the podium including Vic Yankouski, Ward 7 city council candidate.
“I’m looking to be a full-time council person; to be proactive and hold at least four town hall meetings during the year to have a flow going to-and-from the city to the citizens of Ward 7,” he said. “Also, of concern is some of the zoning issues to make sure the city’s zones and codes are enforced so we don’t have heavy industrial running into residential areas of the city. I also strongly support police and fire and want to make sure they have the tools that are necessary to work with to keep the high fire rating that Smyrna has that gives the citizens a break on their insurance.”
Yankouski said he plans to go to door-to-door to meet some of the constituents in Ward 7.
Another Ward 7 council candidate also took the podium. Ron Fennel outlined what he thought made him a good candidate for office, including his service on Team Georgia, a safe and sober driving coalition, and his time spent as the head of the Clean and Beautiful Program in his home county. Although he didn’t mention it at Tuesday’s meeting, Fennel also served in the Georgia House of Representatives representing his hometown of Brunswick from 1988 to 1992.
“I want to continue the work that makes our community better,” he said. “I’ve pledged as I’ve talked to people about this race that I will respond to you. I’m a constituent service person first. If you call, if you need some help, we’re going to try to help you. We’ll leverage what we can. Secondly, you’ve been great stewards of the taxpayers’ dollars. No more taxes. I don’t intend to vote for a millage increase. You’ve been very helpful charting a path for us and I want to continue that work.”
Yankouski and Fennel are running against Ziad Salameh and Garry Osborne for the Ward 7 seat that is being vacated by current city council member Pete Wood.
Mayoral candidate Alex Backry took the stand to hash out what he considers to be a violation of the city council members’ oath of office. Backry maintained that the council did not act in the citizens of Smyrna’s best interest when it authorized the 2008 purchase of the Smyrna Commons apartments and the 2010 purchase of the Hickory Lake apartments. He also said he was looking forward to debating fellow candidates Donna Short-Woodham and Mayor Max Bacon.
Citizen Al Graves echoed Backry’s concerns about Smyrna Commons, and said he was alarmed that he thought the city council made no effort to get input from citizens regarding the purchase of Smyrna Commons.
Another citizen, however, made it a point to thank the council for its role in the ongoing SPLOST improvements to Atlanta Road, including the multi-use trails and medians.
“I’d like to thank the council and mayor for your vision, not just for safe streets, but also for beautiful boulevards and opportunities for fitness and connection to other trails, resources and parks,” said Betty Lange. “This is a well-planned and attractive community. Things are a little slow now, but we are well poised to do beautifully as the economy improves.”