Newly elected council members Sandy McGrew, Bill Grant and John Rust took their seats on the council after being sworn in by Mayor Gene Hobgood in front of a packed house at City Hall.
Hobgood stood before those in attendance and said he had high hopes for the city council with the new members, who came on to replace three retiring council members.
“This is the county seat of Cherokee County,” Hobgood said. “We have an obligation, I believe, to hold that distinction high and with honor. I am confident — I have no reservations at all — that this new council will make our citizens proud.”
The mayor said the voters in Canton spoke loudly in the Nov. 5 and Dec. 3 runoff elections that elected the new council members, sending the city several clear messages.
“Some of the message that we all should’ve heard would include, ‘Keep the taxes low, consider all options before making a decision and implement the most cost-effective approach to resolving an issue, the senior exemption stays, the garbage rate for seniors goes, we should not charge more for a utility than it takes to operate,’” Hobgood said.
Hobgood said he believed Canton also wanted the council to protect the city’s history and be a friend to business.
“Above all, I think the message we should have all heard from our most recent election is that we need to conduct city business in a civil, respectful and orderly manner,” the mayor added.
That is something the new council can do, Hobgood said.
“This council is ready to move forward,” the mayor said. “This council will not shy away from difficult decisions. You will see some bold yet necessary actions by this council in an effort to make our city better.”
Also during the meeting Thursday, the council:
• Voted unanimously to halt all voting during work sessions, in effect overturning a trend put into place by the last city council, which said votes could be taken anytime;
• Discussed a potential revision to city code to allow alcohol sales through growlers and to allow wine shops and ancillary tasting licenses in the downtown area; and
• Discussed a proposed rezoning to light industrial on Railroad Street for an existing business.