Calhoun Falls has an election Tuesday. More than a handful of people are seeking a post on Town Council - six, in fact, have filed for two open seats, including one incumbent.
Our focus, however, is on the race in which three candidates are seeking to take the mayor's gavel as current mayor Lee Garrett steps down. More precisely, our focus is on one candidate in particular who seems hell-bent on the town's demise.
Charlie Tillman, a sitting member of Town Council, is facing political newcomer Terry RIchey and former long-serving mayor Johnnie Waller in the bid for the mayor's post. For the sake of the town and any forward steps it has made and might yet make toward better economic health and well-being, Calhoun Falls voters should make a choice between Waller and Richey.
Quite frankly, we were disappointed to learn Garrett decided to leave the post and not seek re-election. While certainly not perfect as mayor, Garrett has been instrumental in spearheading an aggressive, yet doable, plan that could turn Calhoun Falls into a vacation and recreation destination point. The town would have benefited from his remaining on for another term.
The town's Strategic Economic Development Plan offers far greater hope for Calhoun Falls than the rantings of Charlie Tillman who once threatened to "burn this (expletive) town down" and has even gone so far as to not only oppose aspects of the strategic plan, but also sabotage it.
The Blue Hole Recreation Area takes advantage of the town being situated on Lake Russell. Developed properly - and the strategic plan certainly offers a viable course of action - Calhoun Falls stands to be a bustling community again as new jobs and opportunities would be created to provide products and services for vacationers, business people on retreats and those attending conferences that provide a good blend of work with fun and recreation.
Spinoff potential is also great under the plan, to include expanded housing opportunities for people who would choose to live along the lake and commute to work in Greenwood, Greenville, Georgia and other destinations.
The point here is not so much to promote a well-developed and thought out strategic plan that holds promise for Calhoun Falls, but rather to remind voters Tillman, while seeking the town's top leadership position, has sought every opportunity to scuttle efforts to develop and strengthen the plan.
In his monthly mayor's report last Tuesday, Garrett shared that Tillman, who has steadfastly cast "no" votes on the Blue Hole Recreation Area without offering his own plans for economic growth and prosperity, recently contacted the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the state Department of Commerce and attempted to discredit the town council's efforts to build a pavilion and a business case that was before Commerce.
Tillman had his say in the projects, and the majority vote did not follow his thinking on the matters. But to then contact those agencies and attempt to discredit the town and his fellow members of council was totally out of line and, as Garrett said, unethical.
If on Tuesday the voters elect Tillman as their next mayor, they are effectively thumbing their noses at their own futures and the future of their town.
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