By Tia Lynn Lecorchick
The Rutledge City Council convened on Dec. 16 to swear in three newly-elected city officials, honor two departing council members and to vote on three submitted requests. Judge Charles Merritt swore in two new city council members, Tim Smith and Bruce Altznauer, and the incoming Mayor of Rutledge, James Bratcher. “We are proud to have him as our new mayor,” said Brenda Thompson, a city council member. Retiring council member Bill Spann was awarded with a commemorative plaque for his eight years of service on the city council. “We give you our thanks to you for being such a loyal servant to the people of Rutledge. We appreciate you so much for all you have done,” said Thompson. Outgoing Mayor, Spencer Knight, was also honored with a plague for his eight years of service. “You always have the best interest of this city at heart and we know you love this place as much as we do,” said Thompson as she presented Knight with the plaque. Knight’s time as mayor has come to an end, but he will be filling a new role for the city of Rutledge. The city council unanimously voted Knight to become the new Planning Commission member. “He is a homebuilder with excellent experience in homebuilding and zoning,” said Thompson. The board also approved a few submitted requests at this month’s meeting. The council voted unanimously to approve Whitfield County to “construct and maintain a Georgia Civil War Heritage Trail Marker” to be placed in the city park. The sign will display information about the Civil War. “This is a marker sign they are putting up all over Georgia about the civil war, it will be a wheelchair accessible sign/marker for a Georgia trail sign in the Rutledge city park, totally maintained by Whitfield for the next 20 years. It is nothing on us, but they need our permission to put it up,” explained Knight. The board also unanimously voted to adopt a resolution of a bill granting Homestead Exemption, a property tax exemption, for senior citizens. “We had lawyers draw this up, if we approve it, it will go on the November 2014 ballot for the citizens to vote on and enacted in 2015,” said Knight.