MACON COUNTY, AL (WSFA) - Macon County residents will head to the polls on Election Day with two options to lead the county commission.
This year marks the eighth year on the job for current Commission Chairman Louis Maxwell. Maxwell, running as a democrat, won the race in 2008, and he was re-elected in 2012 without an opponent.
This year, Maxwell will be challenged for his seat by Frank Dillman. Dillman is running as an independent. He moved to Macon County in 1990, and he credits himself for a number of local initiatives including the county's employee recognition program.
Both candidates said their main focus is on the community. However, they have very different ideas for what their community needs and how to go about meeting those needs.
Maxwell said his focus has been, and will continue to be, bringing the community together and providing them with resources to stay connected, happy and healthy.
"Our job is to be a voice for the people of Macon County," Maxwell said. "I want people to be there to connect with so they feel comfortable in their government."
If he were to be re-elected, Maxwell said his main focuses would be building, expanding and renovating facilities in the counties to provide residents with safe common places. He said he wants to make the existing community recreation centers more accessible to senior citizens and handicapped citizens. He also wants to add more storm shelters to the area.
According to Dillman, what Macon County residents need is more transparency and answers when it comes to the county's fiscal decision making.
"There isn't even a website for the county," Dillman said. "I would like to see a website and give our community the ability to stream the meetings we have at home so they can see what's going on."
Dillman said he doesn't think the county currently operates in a way that allows for residents to be in the loop of what's going on or that provides substantial economic growth. He said he is concerned about the number of people who leave the county because of the lack of industry and growth.
"We need a pull," Dillman said. "We need something to pull people in. Without the pull, people leave. Macon County is expected to lose more of its population by 2040 than any other county in Alabama. We need to talk about what needs to change. If we don't talk about it, nothing will change."
Dillman said this is the only thing he has yet to do to serve this community.
"There's nothing more than I can do for transparency and fiscal stewardship in our county," Dillman said.
Maxwell said he is confident in the work he has already done in his position, and he trusts the voters to make the right decision.
"The citizens know me; they know my record," Maxwell said. "If they choose to select me as their chairman, I'm satisfied with that. If not, I'm comfortable with that too because I did the best I can. If they elect me again, I'm going to continue to do what we started over the past eight years, and that's bring the people together."
Residents will have the opportunity to make their selection on Nov. 8.