Former Peachtree City Council member Gretchen Caola is on her way to a new home on the west Florida Gulf Coast, and the Post 3 seat she held on council will be filled by special election on Nov. 8, the same day Georgia votes for its next governor and U.S. senator.
The reduced council — already with a new portrait on the city website that omits Caola — gathers in a special called meeting at 6:15 Tuesday, Aug. 30 at City Hall to declare the Post 3 seat open, to approve an agreement with Fayette County for the county to run the election, and to adopt a resolution to call for the one-item ballot to fill the vacancy on Post 3.
Caola, who served just under eight months, was the subject of a neighborhood campaign with “Save our paths” signs at nearly every home near the Caola’s residence. Neighbors and hundreds of others objected to the short connecting cart path that ran next to the Caola residence being considered for closure and for the installation of multiple speed bumps in that area of the path in April. The council backed away from any notion of closure and removed many of the new speed bumps.
The Caolas put their house up for sale and closed on it by the end of last week. They reportedly moved to the Florida Gulf Coast.
So far, the city has not announced whether the council member resigned or just left town.
Whichever she did, the seat is open and it will cost taxpayers $48,509 to hold a special city election to fill the vacancy, according to invoices provided to the city by Fayette County.
Qualifying with City Clerk opens 8:30 a.m., Wednesday, Sept. 14 and closes Friday, Sept. 16, at 4:30 p.m. It will cost you $432 to qualify to run for the post.
In a Facebook posting about a neighborhood meeting, “Councilwoman Caola spoke about the golf cart speed bump issue that led to the firestorm surrounding her private property.
“Caola stated there was no private communication outside of texts and emails already disclosed, and John [sic] Rory specifically asked her to recommend speed bump placement.
“She stated all of the issues surrounding Battery Park were suggested before her election. Councilwoman Caola also divulged she had no conversations with anyone about the golf cart path beside her home. Instead, that communication was handled by her husband.
“She further mentioned that the city did have a history of closing some paths. Guests reminded her that the paths are city easements and when purchasing property, homeowners legally agree to these easement terms.
“She stated that the city attorney asked her not to speak publicly about the issues surrounding her. She spoke freely at this meeting.”