Approximately 36 people heard from the six candidates seeking to become Carthage Mayor or seeking one of two open seats on the Carthage Board of Education on Tuesday at the Carthage Water & Electric Plant Community Room.

Approximately 36 people heard from the six candidates seeking to become Carthage Mayor or seeking one of two open seats on the Carthage Board of Education on Tuesday at the Carthage Water & Electric Plant Community Room.
Mayor candidates Brad Cameron, Jason Shelfer and Dan Rife, and School Board candidates Bill Lasley, Lee Elliff Pound and Michael Goolsby spoke at the event hosted by the Carthage Chamber of Commerce, giving residents a chance to hear directly from the people who want to serve.
“You get a little different perspective hearing from someone in person than you do on their glossy brochure,” said Carthage resident and business owner Stan Schmidt. “I'm glad the Chamber hosted this event and I'm glad to see so many interested candidates running for office.”
Mark Elliff, Carthage Chamber President, hosted the event and he recognized Mayor Mike Harris for his eight years serving as mayor and several years before that serving on the Carthage City Council.
Lee Murphy, a Carthage resident, said she recently moved back to Carthage after living away for the past 44 years, and the candidate forum was very helpful for her.
“This is a good opportunity to hear directly from the candidates about what they believe,” Murphy said. “I don't like to vote for someone I don't know and this is a good chance to speak to them.”
After the candidates spoke, Elliff talked about the Carthage Chamber's endorsement of the quarter-cent Jasper County road and bridge sales tax, which voters in the city and county will also see on the ballot on Tuesday.
He said the county has 940 miles of rural county roads, of which, 549 miles are maintained by the Jasper County Road Department as part of the County Common Road District.
In addition the County Road Department maintains 242 bridges and all the road signs, including 911 street signs, in the county.
The road and bridge sales tax, which has been renewed four previous times by voters since it was first enacted in 1986, will sunset, or end, at the end of this year if voters don't say yes.
This time voters are being asked to renew it without a sunset clause.
Elliff said the tax provides $4.4 million annually of the county's $7.3 million road and bridge maintenance budget. Without that revenue, the county's ability to maintain rural roads will be seriously curtailed, Elliff said.
Also on the ballot in Carthage will be the candidates for the five seats on the City Council. Only one person filed in each Ward:
 Ward 1, incumbent Juan Topete.
• Ward 2, incumbent Tim Shields.
• Ward 3, incumbent Mike Daugherty.
• Ward 4, incumbent Darren Collier.
• Ward 5, Kirby Newport is running to replace Shelfer.