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The city of Dalton is saving nearly $11,000 this year because no one wants to challenge the City Council and school board members up for re-election.

The city elections set for Tuesday won't happen because the two incumbents running for the City Council -- Dick Lowrey in Ward 2 and Charlie Bethel in Ward 4 -- and the two school board members up for re-election -- Mark Orr and Steve Williams -- were unchallenged.

"It's very unusual not to have any contested races, especially in a city as big as Dalton," Whitfield County Registrar Kay Staten said. "But Georgia law allows a city not to have to conduct an election if there is only one candidate for each office."

The city of Tunnel Hill also is forgoing Tuesday's election in North Georgia because there are no contested races, Ms. Staten said.

A city election in Dalton normally costs about $11,000 to conduct, so taxpayers will at least save on balloting expenses.

"I guess I won't have to stay up late Tuesday night, either," Mr. Bethel said.

Only half the seats on the four-member Dalton City Council and two of the five school board seats are up for re-election. The mayor's four-year term is only half over.

"I do believe we've done some things that have been well received in our community, and I think people are generally pleased with what we're trying to do," said Mr. Bethel, who will serve another four-year term.

"I don't think any of us would claim that people are 100 percent happy with what we do," he said. "But we have tried to reduce taxes and hold the line on spending during a difficult economic period."

MUNICIPAL ELECTIONS

North Georgia cities will hold municipal elections Tuesday. Polls are open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. For locations and other information, call your local city hall.

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