Oxford hosts forum prior to runoff vote

OXFORD - The two Oxford City Council Post 1 candidates in the runoff election will participate in a forum Tuesday night.

Frank Davis and incumbent City Councilwoman Amma Gaither will compete in the Oxford runoff election, to be held Dec. 4.

The NAACP is sponsoring the forum, which is moderated by Oxford resident Claude Sitton.

"A lot of people said they'd like to hear what the candidates think about certain issues," Sitton said.

He said the candidates will have five minutes to present an opening statement. After that, attending Oxford voters will have a chance to ask them questions.

"I think it's wonderful that we have two people who are willing to serve the city," Sitton said. "Working on the council truly is hard work. Each of the council members basically have management positions."

Davis said he plans to talk about owner-occupied homestead exemption, something Oxford doesn't have but Newton County does.

"They've been talking about it for a few years but never have anything been done about it," said Davis, former chairman of the Oxford Planning Commission. "I also want to talk about a sidewalk going north from Palmer Stone (Elementary School). That's something else they've been talking about for a while. The new mayor (Jerry Roseberry) is interested in seeing that, and I'm interested in helping him."

Gaither was not available for comment as of press time.

In the general election, held on Nov. 6, Davis received 112 votes, while Gaither received 64 votes.

Because a third candidate, Kelly Ellis Sr., received 56 votes, no candidate received the required 51 percent to win, necessitating a runoff election.

Davis encouraged all registered voters to vote in the runoff election.

"The turnout (of the general election) was rather disappointing," Davis said. "We have a lot of registered voters who are not voting."

Just under 27 percent of Oxford's registered voters - or 244 of 918 registered voters - cast votes Nov. 6 and in advanced and absentee voting.

Davis said he feels turnout for the runoff election might even be lower than that, but he's trying to prevent that by talking to several residents who didn't know about the election.

"This is a good time to come out and hear what the candidates have to offer to the city of Oxford," said Norma Johnson, president of the NAACP. "We would like as many of the citizens in the city limits who can attend to attend."

Michelle Floyd can be reached at michelle.floyd@newtoncitizen.com.

SideBar: If you go

· What: Oxford City Council Runoff Candidate Forum

· Who: Amma Gaither vs. Frank Davis

· When: 7:30 p.m. Tuesday

· Where: Oxford Community Building

· More Information: Oxford City Hall at 770-786-7004