Tallassee Mayoral Candidates Face off in Final Debate Before Election Day

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By Tamika Bickham

The race for Tallassee mayor could be a close one. Tonight, the candidates held their final debate before voters go to the polls a week from today.

There was not one empty seat in the house at Tallassee City Hall. The candidates for mayor debated the issues for over one hour. Their focus was education and retail growth.

Question after question was asked of each candidate for Tallassee mayor and they were mainly focused on growth within the city. Former mayor, Bobby Payne, says the key to growth in the school system is annexation.

"To sit down and talk with the property owners in that area, those that live there and have children that are going to school and explain to them what it would do for our schools, I believe that we could work that out," said Payne.

Local radio station owner, Fred Randall Hughey, says annexation is the most important issue in the community since more than half of their students live outside of the city limits. Hughey criticized where the school system has spent money in the past.

"Our school board decided we needed a new stadium first and if we could've avoided that investment, I think we could've had a new high school," he said, "We've got to grow. We've got to annex those outlying areas and increase our population and increase our tax base."

Current mayor, George McCain, was also in agreement about annexing more people into the city limits, because he says it will be key in attracting more business.

"I think that retail is the key for success and that is where the bulk of our money comes from is retail. The retail sales tax is what drives the city and pays the bills," said McCain.

Some say they are ready for a change.

"I think we need a new mayor," said Tallassee resident, Jack Mitchell.

Others are satisfied with the current leadership.

"I think in the last four years we've made more progress than we've made in the past 20 years," said McCain's campaign chairman, Randal Herring.

Voters will head to the polls one week from today on August 28th.

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