CANTON— The four candidates so far to qualify to run for the Ward 3 seat on the Canton City Council won’t have to compete with sitting Councilman John Beresford in the Nov. 5 election.
Beresford said Thursday that he has been considering not seeking re-election for some time, but with Wednesday’s news that four candidates had signed on to vie for his seat, he is “comfortable” enough about the prospects and will bow out when his term ends Jan. 1.
Canton City Clerk Susan Stanton said Thursday afternoon that Tom Sanders, Farris Yawn, John Rust and Molly Lewis had all come forward during qualifying to run for Beresford’s seat. Qualifying ends in Canton at 4:30 p.m. today, Stanton said.
Beresford said he has several reasons — including medical issues in his family — for wanting to let those candidates compete among themselves.
But on the whole, holding office has been a frustrating experience for him at times, he said.
“When you turn around and you’re accused of stealing money, you’re accused of all sorts of craziness that people just don’t understand, it wears on you,” Beresford said of residents’ claims against the council. “The uneducated come before council and speak and don’t have a clue. I don’t have a problem with people coming and giving input, but I would like for them to be a little more educated.”
Beresford said he is also confident that some candidates in the Ward 3 race are committed to maintaining the city’s control of the fire department, which some have suggested turning over to Cherokee County.
“I wanted to make sure that at least there’s a couple of candidates that think enough of our fire department to take care of our fire department,” Beresford said. “That was my concern. I didn’t want to give it to the county.”
While other Cherokee County cities will go into the Nov. 5 election with only one candidate for some races, the Canton City Council has multiple candidates vying for each of the three seats coming open.
Beresford said he may know the reason for the well-populated playing field.
“Being that the council did vote to have compensation increase from $2,000 to $8,000 for council members, it seemed to help some people to (run),” he said of the recent wage increase which he sponsored for members of the council and the mayor. “I can’t prove it one way or the other. I think it created an interest.”
Although his time in office so far has sometimes been difficult, Beresford said he’s enjoyed it.
“I feel I’ve accomplished quite a few things that I wanted to be able to accomplish,” he said. “I’ve been working two years on the city park, the Etowah River Park. I’m the only councilman that’s really been following it through that period of time.”
He’s also confident in his actions as a council member.
“I feel that I did what I should do,” Beresford said. “I do not have one problem with the way I’ve voted for anything. And hopefully, I’ll leave the city in a little better condition than when I came into it.”