Both attended a two-day orientation session earlier this month with City Manager Scott Wood and said they are excited about their future on the Council.
“I feel very honored to be able to come and work with the city,” Huffman said.
On Nov. 8, Huffman defeated Ward 1 incumbent Pat Tanner, who was seeking a third, four-year term. Cummins ousted Ward 3 Council member Amelia Rose, who was seeking a fifth, four-year term on the council.
Once he’s sworn in, Cummins said he wants to tackle the $28 million debt the city has in relation to building the Hickory Log Creek Reservoir and dam.
The $100 million reservoir was built through a partnership with the Cobb County-Marietta Water Authority.
The Cobb authority is paying three-fourths of the tab, with the city responsible for the remainder — with the same split for sharing the drinking water supply created by the reservoir.
The city has conducted informal discussions with the authority about it assuming the city’s debt as well as taking over its 25 percent stake in the reservoir.
Cummins said he wants to see all angles of the issue examined.
“We need to do a thorough, detailed analysis,” he said.
For his part, Huffman said he is eager to work with the council to resolve the lingering water bill crisis.
In August, the city learned a software glitch and meter reading problems resulted in hundreds of its residents receiving inaccurate water bills.
The city converted to a new software system in April that did not catch data errors during the conversion and some of its meter readings did not accurately convert to number of gallons a customer used, resulting in residents being either over or under billed for water usage.
The city also began billing customers for actual usage rather than the former method of truncating customer usage, which, along with the city’s increased water and sewer rates, also caused confusion.
The conversion also affected some of the billing cycle dates, causing some residents to not get monthly statements in the mail.
“We’ve seen the light at the end of the tunnel, but here’s still some work that needs to be done,” Huffman said.
Along with tackling the reservoir debt, Huffman said he wants the council to start getting the necessary permits for residents to use the reservoir for passive, recreational purposes. He also wants to continue searching for a site for a proposed third fire station and work with Cherokee County to utilize Canton’s share of parks bond revenue to develop parks in the city.
Canton Mayor Gene Hobgood said he’s been impressed with both Huffman and Cummins’ enthusiasm for learning about issues affecting Canton.
“I’ve talked to both, of course, and I feel real positive about their attitude and their interest in the issues the city is facing,” he said. “I think they will be a real asset.”
Huffman, 69, is retired from sales with 3M and lives in Great Sky with his wife, Anne. They have two children and six grandchildren.
Cummins, 70, is retired from management and lives in River Green with his wife, Judith. They have three sons and four grandchildren.
Cummins said he will stick to his promise to only serve one term and hopes to accomplish his objectives by the end of his tenure.
“Everything I do is going to be done with their best interest at heart,” he said of Canton residents. “Everything I do is for the citizens of Canton.”
While it will be an adjustment from the corporate atmosphere, Huffman said he is nonetheless excited to add “City Council member” to his list of responsibilities.
He also said he’s eager to work with the City Council as a team in addressing the city’s issues.
“I learn by listening and there’s not a day go by that I don’t learn something,” he said. “I want to listen to everybody.”.”