Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood hosted the “Let’s Talk About Canton” town hall meeting, which allowed residents to ask questions about the lingering questions the council has to tackle.
Residents peppered Hobgood with questions on economic development, road and pedestrian improvements and architectural standards in the downtown area.
Along with addressing residents’ concerns, Hobgood and other citizens spent the bulk of the time discussing the newly created fire district, which will serve as a means to collect money to shore up the city’s fire services.
While the mayor did remind the audience that the council is not interested in pursuing talks with Cherokee County about consolidating fire services, he didn’t allow the meeting to end without expressing his feelings about the issue.
He noted he had “little doubt” that the district will end up costing residents more than what the county charges for its fire district.
“I feel there’s a certain emotional attachment to having our own fire department,” he said, there isn’t anything the city can’t already do that the fire district will do.
Resident Pat Gold, who characterized the district as a new tax, added she was disappointed that “no research had been done” on the benefits and drawbacks of consolidating with the county.
The fire district would raise revenue to pay for the construction of at least two additional fire stations in the city limits.
The city has land in the Laurel Canyon development, and has an agreement with Northside Hospital that would transfer about three acres along Commerce Boulevard once the company gets its first land disturbance permit, City Manager Scott Wood said.
Canton resident George Wiernek, who owns a business along Waleska Road, said he’d want the city to invest in possibly enhancing Highway 140 northwest of its intersection with Marietta Highway.
Resident John Rust said he also wanted to see the city encourage developers to stick to uniform standards when it comes to rehabilitating buildings in the downtown area.
Main Street Program Director Ginger Garrard noted the organization’s facade grant program allows property owners to be reimbursed for up to $2,500 for any improvements they make to the facade.