UPDATED on Tuesday, November 3 at 10:40 p.m.
Grovetown, GA – We spoke with Jones tonight at he is excited and ready to get to work. The ex-police chief set out to run for mayor in order to focus on some of the public safety improvements he implemented in the past. He also wants to start doing town hall meetings and create a mayor’s citizen advisory board immediately. But first on his agenda are two important items.
“Probably traffic issues and having a forensic audit of all city finances,” Jones said.
James shared that establishing departments is one of the things he’s most proud of during his tenure.
“Our planner was really focused on our growth and was really able to take hold of that and plan for our future,” he said.
James added he will stick around to help Jones with the transition. And he’s got other jobs too in his retirement, such as working as a minister, but he’s still waiting on the next big thing.
***UPDATED at 8:40 P.M. on Tuesday, November 3rd***
Grovetown, GA (WJBF) – – With results unofficial, Gary Jones has claimed victory over incumbent mayor George James.
Our Renetta DuBose is working to get a live interview with Jones for our late evening newscasts.
We will provide more information as it becomes available.
***POSTED at 5:28 P.M. on Tuesday, November 3rd***
Grovetown, GA (WJBF) – The incumbent mayor of Grovetown wants to stay in office and he’s being challenged by his former police chief.
We tracked down George James and Gary Jones on the campaign trail to see what they are telling voters in a growing city.
The two men have plans for one of the biggest ways Grovetown is being shaped by its growth. Traffic.
It all comes down to two options for Grovetown voters when they look at the mayor’s office. Elect their former police chief or keep the mayor they’ve had for a third term.
Gary Jones, with his law enforcement experience, and George James who has home court advantage, set out this Election Day to let the voters know they want the job.
James said, “Been out beforehand telling everybody what we had accomplished and what we plan on doing in the future.”
“You know I came at this thing to win and that’s what I hope to do,” Jones described of the campaign.
Though let go by the City of Grovetown from his serve and protect duties, Jones’ plan for the people of the city dubbed “a community that cares” is keep people safe.
“I want to address some issues with the police chief about getting officers back out to direct traffic at peak times at various intersections. That did prove to be worthy when I was the police chief,” Jones recalled.
Jones does have a plan for the growth. As he sees it, Robinson Avenue and Wrightsboro Road need more traffic improvements.
“It might have some pretty trees and landscaping, but it’s not going to resolve traffic gridlock or congestion. So, I’m going to propose that we look at putting three lanes in. That way we can have two lanes going in the morning into post and then two lanes in the afternoon coming out,” he said.
James tells us he brought a city planner and accountant on board to tackle growth. In addition to reaching out to the county to build a bypass, he has another plan to address how growth has impacted traffic.
“Most the local people do know it and they take advantage, we have other avenues to get out of town, not just down Robinson Avenue. So, I think if we help educate our people a little bit more on other ways of getting out of town I think that’s important. It’s just the flow of traffic,” James explained of his plan to address increased traffic.
The incumbent, who spent time on the city council too, said he also wants improvements to benefit the city’s younger population.
“Every neighborhood we ought to have a park there where the kids can walk down the block, shoot some hoops safely not out in the road, throw a Frisbee, play in the sandbox, swing on a swing,” James said.
James, an ordained minister who is retired from Kellogg and Jones, who is too a church going, husband and father both said they’re the best choice as the next mayor of Grovetown.