GILMER COUNTY, Ga. – With his current term completing at the end of 2022, Gilmer’s current Board of Commissioners’ Chairman Charlie Paris has announced his candidacy in this year’s election for the chairman position.
However, it is a note in his message that some are focusing in. Along with his announcement for candidacy, it seems that Paris is also announcing far ahead of schedule that, if elected to this term, it will likely be his last. Paris stated, “I ask for your vote and support as I now announce for one final term as your chairman.”
When asked why he was already announcing it as the final term, Paris said that he wanted time left for himself after his service. Planning ahead to make this a final term will allow time for family and personal goals. While those plans include time with grandkids and family in Auburn, Alabama, Paris also noted, “Going fishing on a Wednesday instead of a Saturday.” A small goal it may seem, but Paris said its a major difference between the number of people on the lake.
With those plans to look forward to, Paris also said that one final term allows him to finish several projects before leaving office. Paris said, “I have spent seven years trying to bring Gilmer County to the point that we can start doing the things that we should have been doing all along.” Paris said the best example of this for him is the Road Department. With the equipment so old and rusted as it was when he took office, Paris said a lot of effort has gone into getting the road department the equipment they need to be to the point where they can accomplish the needs of the county.
Paris noted that with so much effort put into getting them to that point and being so close to that point, he now wants to switch from fixing issues and equipment needs to utilizing the department in actually accomplishing those needs. He noted that there is still more work to be done in the Road Department as well as others, and he wants to continue that, but he also wants t o see the fruits of that effort.
Additionally, plans in 2022 have already started on improving the county’s fire department to, as he said, a “mountain fire department.” Equipping the county with some advanced equipment will accomplish needs for citizens in situations such as high grade driveways for homes. Driveways that a full tanker fire truck may not be able to climb. Utilizing things like mini-pumpers that can get up these driveways, the department will be able to leave the truck at the bottom of a dangerous incline on a driveway and the mini pumper reaches the fire and allows the firemen to accomplish their jobs.
On top of finishing the pool project and fully completing the county’s lift station at the landfill, there are still projects to complete in the final term before a new chairman takes over. Paris said, “What I’d like to do with whoever succeeds me is… I’d like to be able to just hand them the key to the office and say, ‘Everything’s great. Now improve on what’s there.'”
Explaining further, he noted he didn’t want to leave anything half done or have a mindset of leaving a problem for the next person. Paris noted how far River Park has come in seven years. Cleaning the park, new playgrounds, putting up new bathrooms, and repaving and extending the walking paths are completed projects that he is very happy with. Looking ahead, there is more that can be done and is being done for the next journey. But he said the difference between the park now and seven years ago is huge.
Not quite done, but looking to the future, Chairman Charlie Paris announced his candidacy as a final term. He said, “I love what I do. I’ve enjoyed the first seven years of it. I hope I can have one more term.”
Yet, when asked about potential service after he finishes as Chairman, Paris admitted that he might still volunteer for something if he was asked to. He didn’t offer any specific areas of the county, but when asked about the Animal Shelter, he replied, “Animal Shelter, obviously, is one of my highest interests, but it could be anywhere I’m needed.”
Regardless of volunteer service or not, Paris made one thing clear when asked about his time after serving as Chairman, “I’m not leaving Gilmer. This is my home. I love it here.”