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Leesburg officials call for special election

LEESBURG, Ga. -- The Leesburg City Council set the wheels in motion Tuesday night that will fill a vacant seat among its ranks.

The Council agreed unanimously at its monthly meeting to call for a special election to fill the seat of Steve Kitchens, who announced last week he had moved out of the Leesburg city limits for "personal reasons."

City Clerk Casey Moore said required paperwork would be filed with the state today and that she and Lee County Elections Supervisor Veronica Johnson would meet to determine dates for qualifying and the special election.

Johnson had previously indicated the most appropriate election date available might be Sept. 21 and that qualifying might be held in conjunction with nonpartisan qualifying June 28-July 2.

"I'll get with her tomorrow to come up with the actual dates," Moore said after the meeting.

Jeff Sexton, who had indicated last week he was interested in running for the seat vacated by Kitchens, confirmed Tuesday night that he would seek the position. The computer technician/political blogger ran unsuccessfully for a seat on the Council last year.

Council members also voted to extend an expiring moratorium on new business signs in the city until a countywide sign ordinance is passed.

Mayor Jim Quinn noted that a county corridor committee was meeting today to discuss a proposed sign ordinance.

"You can extend the moratorium 75 days, and if an ordinance is adopted it will repeal the moratorium," City Attorney Bert Gregory said.

Also at the meeting, the Council held a public hearing and then approved rezoning that would allow developer Lee Cheshire to move forward with his Magnolia Gardens project.

"So how soon will you start building?" Quinn asked Cheshire after the unanimous vote.

"I've got people ready to start tomorrow," the developer replied. "I still have some permits that I have to get, though."

In other action, the Council tentatively approved usage of property in the city by members of the Lee County 4-H Club to house and work with goats, adopted a 10-year extension of an existing lease for the Robert S. Boney Senior Center by the SOWEGA Council on Aging and OK'd a call to apply for available improvement grants.

The Council also gave Moore the go-ahead to advertise for an operator/lab analyst to manage the city's soon-to-be-completed wastewater treatment plant.