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Troy mayor, council seats on Tuesday ballot

The mayor and two city council seats are on the ballot Tuesday in the Troy municipal election.

Incumbent Mayor Jason Reeves faces challenger Tyrone “Red” Moultry. District 1 incumbent Robert Jones faces Sharon Holland and District 4 incumbent Stephanie Baker faces challenger Caleb Dawson.

Virtual forums and door-to-door campaigning have provided candidates the opportunity to share their platforms with residents, including touching on several key issues in the election, such as education; economic development; and community growth.

In a recent virtual forum hosted by the Pike County Chamber of Commerce, Reeves talked about his 24 years of public service, including 16 on the city council and eight as mayor. Citing examples of growth and progress during his term, he talked about the drivers for economic and population growth in the community.

“We’re having good growth because of the tremendous success we’re having in economic development,” he said. “When we’re able to bring in good paying jobs, that provides competition for everything that’s here and attracts the quality of life type businesses … the more jobs we can bring in, the better we can do.”

And while Reeves has been instrumental in multiple major economic development projects during his time in government, he said that insuring the taxpayers’ investments are protected is vital. “As incentives become more important (in economic development) it’s very important to  have clawback provisions that protect the taxpayers and the community so that the money invested in spent the way it’s supposed to be spent.”

Moultry, who also is a Troy native, pastors a local church, said he believes the community has benefited from economic development that has always been prepared for the future. In addressing the county’s low unemployment rate, Moultry said the key is “making sure everyone has an opportunity and there is an opportunity for those who want to work.” He said growing training programs that help develop the workforce for existing industries is important.”

Baker, who is completing her first time representing District 4, said she truly has “a heart for this city. In reality, I have no hidden agenda or motives. And although I have nothing personal to gain (by serving) I do know that our city has everything to gain and everything to lose.”

Education has been a key issue in the municipal races, and Baker said while the Troy City Schools need more funding and more help, it should not be at the expense of the local homeowners. “We did a study (through the Chamber) and discovered that our local funding has not declined. What has declined is the enrollment, and that enrollment figure is what’s tied to state and federal funding,” Baker said.

Dawson, her opponent who is a small business owner and serves on the Troy Elementary PTO, said the question of tax increases to support the schools is “a pretty complicated question with pretty complicated answers.”

“What I support unequivocally is anything that is in our community’s financial best interest that also puts us on a trajectory to have a school system that earns a statewide or even broader reputation for excellence,” he said. “But there is more than one way to skin a cat.”

Jones, a Charles Henderson graduate and a former business owner, said it’s very important to get “all and any kind of funding we can to support our schools. If slight increase in property tax is the only way we can do that, I would support that.”

Jones said he also would not support legislative efforts to change the business privilege tax. “We have to support local businesses … if we starve those out due to heavy taxes it would be curtains to the community and the City of Troy.”

Holland, who is also a lifelong resident of Troy, said developing a strong public school system “would draw more people in and more businesses in. More families would want to stay here, more businesses would want to bring their clientele and their businesses here.

“A strong public school system is the answer to a lot of our problems.”

She said she also would support a tax to help fund the public schools. “Our children, our youth, they’re our future. If we’re not willing to invest in them pre-prison, pre-jail then we’re setting our city up for doom. We need to be able to sacrifice for our young people and our education program … so when they graduate from high school they will have an idea of where they want to go in life.

Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.on Tuesday.

For more coverage of candidates in both Troy and Brundidge, see www.troymessenger.com