February 18, 2013 9:59:24 AM
Jeff Clark - [email protected]
The deadline for candidates to qualify for the 2013 Columbus Municipal Elections is rapidly approaching.
Prospective candidates have two weeks to submit a letter of intent to qualify. The deadline is 5 p.m. on March 8. The primary election will be held May 7. A run-off, if necessary, will held May 21. The general election is June 14.
The election will be the first for the city since the 2012 redistricting.
While there was no change in wards 1 and 2, in Ward 3, everything south of Hemlock Street and everything west of McCrary Street move into Ward 4. The Ward 6 area south of Waverly Road, and a block of Sixth Street North, is now part of Ward 5.
City Administrator David Armstrong said voters affected by the change will be given notification by the Lowndes County Circuit Clerk's office to alert them as to where they will vote.
Mayor Robert Smith has qualified for re-election and is currently running unopposed. Smith earns $78,797.47 per year according to the 2012 Municipal Salaries and Benefits Survey released by the Stennis Institute at Mississippi State University. He also receives health insurance and a state retirement plan.
Columbus councilmen receive $17,500 per year as well as a full benefits package including health insurance and state retirement.
Also running unopposed to date are Ward 1 Councilman Gene Taylor and Ward 3 Councilman Charlie Box.
In Ward 2, incumbent Democrat Joseph Mickens is being challenged by Republican Susan Mackay. Mickens defeated Mackay in 2009 by 36 votes.
Longtime Ward 4 Councilman Fred Stewart faces challengers Marty Turner and Maurice Webber.
Incumbent Ward 5 Councilman Kabir Karriem will face challenger Kenneth McFarland.
Columbus-Lowndes Convention and Visitors Bureau board member Whirllie Byrd will challenge incumbent Bill Gavin in Ward 6. Both are running as Republicans.
All elected officials will be sworn in on July 1.