Gautier candidates address election issues - WDAM-TV 7-News, Weather, Sports-Hattiesburg, MS

Gautier candidates address election issues

The municipal primary election in Gautier is Tuesday, May 2nd.  (Photo source: WLOX) The municipal primary election in Gautier is Tuesday, May 2nd.  (Photo source: WLOX)
GAUTIER, MS (WLOX) -

Developing the vacant Singing River Mall property, dealing with high water bills, and making the most of the popular community college. Those were the issues discussed Thursday by candidates for city office in Gautier.

The Jackson County Chamber of Commerce hosted the candidates' forum at Mississippi Gulf Coast Community College.

Tobey Bartee is a candidate for city council in Ward 2. "If elected, I pledge to keep the lines of communication open with the public to ensure that the concern and the voices of the people are always heard," he told the group.

"Bringing new visions to Gautier to get some more family activities, get the roads safer, get the roads paved, get some more economic development into the city," said Ward 1 candidate, Cameron George, as he listed his priorities if elected.

Anthony York says transparency in government is vital. "We've got to be transparent in Gautier. We've got to get this stuff right, up ahead, in order to help all citizens," said the Ward 2 candidate.

What to do with the vacant Singing River Mall property was a key question. The candidates acknowledged that the land is privately owned, but still offered thoughts and suggestions for economic development there.

"We as council would have very little to say as to what they bring in and what they develop. But we can work with them and encourage them," said at-large council candidate Pat Walters.

"We have been told, the very near future, we will see something going on, on the property right there. 'Cause it looks bad right now," said incumbent at-large council member Mary Martin.

Ward 4 candidate Billy Booth would like to see some new retail at the site. "I'm hoping that not only department stores, clothing stores, and specialty stores. But possibly also another grocery store, to give citizens a choice," he said.

At-large council candidate Eloise Fairley echoed those feelings. "I would like to see more shopping there. I would also like to see another movie theater there. And also another grocery store," she said.

Incumbent Mayor Gordon Gollott told the group, "What you need is a big anchor store out there. And that starts your second anchor store. It will happen. I know that in 2017, something is going to start out there."

Another issue: how best to build upon the success of the community college.

"That's the primary thing I had on here. What would it look like if we had a couple dormitories over here, for about 600 kids living here downtown," said mayoral candidate Phil Torjusen.

Troylynn Harvey favors expanding course offerings at MGCCC. "Go farther than an associate's degree, basically. You know, technical courses are fine. Culinary might offer some restaurant opportunities for some of the kids. They offer it and they might build restaurants here in this area," said the Ward 2 candidate.

The primary election in Gautier is Tuesday, May 2nd. 

Copyright 2017 WLOX. All rights reserved.

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