There is only one contested election in the three municipal elections, as voters in Guyton will choose between incumbent Michael Garvin and former city council member Jeff Lariscy for the mayor’s seat.
Garvin has been a Guyton resident for more than 37 years. A 1983 graduate of Effingham County High School, he served six years in the Marine Corps reserves. He has been Guyton mayor for 10 years and has attended several Georgia Municipal Association classes, including the University of Georgia Robert E. Knox Municipal Leadership Institute.
Garvin, the father of four, has worked at Georgia-Pacific for more than 26 years and Smalls Funeral Home for more than 33 years.
“As I have been mayor for the city of Guyton for 10 years, I have plenty of experience in this occupation, so I know how to run the city both efficiently and effectively,” Garvin said, “while always keeping my fellow citizens, as well as their desires and necessities, of the upmost importance. I know the do’s and don’ts of this job, and I can use this prior knowledge to run the city of Guyton in the best way I can.”
Garvin said his time in office gives him an advantage over Lariscy.
“I have accomplished many things and made a lot of progress for the city in the past decade,” he said. “For example, I took part in establishing a more proficient city government.”
Lariscy, a Hiltonia native, has a bachelor’s and master’s from Georgia Southern University and his education specialist from Nova Southeastern University. Currently the technology and media coordinator for the Effingham County School System, Lariscy has served on the hospital authority, the Guyton Planning and Zoning Commission and the Guyton City Council.
His wife Kelli is currently on the city council, having been appointed to serve out an existing term. She is not running for election. The Lariscys have four children.
Lariscy said there is discontent among Guyton citizens about how their city government is run.
“I feel that many citizens are disillusioned with the current administration, and I would like to provide greater transparency and restore confidence in the ethical administration of business at city hall,” he said.
Another issue the city faces is community involvement, Lariscy said.
“As I have campaigned door-to-door, I have discovered that many are not aware of what is going on,” he said. “In today’s ‘connected society,’ many are still disconnected. If elected, I feel that this type of face-to-face activity may be needed to raise awareness and participation in the community. I intend to keep regular ‘office hours’ each week for citizens who would like to discuss issues with anyone who may want to.”
Both men agree the city should build and operate its own wastewater treatment plant.
“We’ve had this project studied and compared to other options and building this plant was the most feasible,” Garvin said.
Said Lariscy: “The city explored many options prior to its decision to pursue its own plant. None of the other solutions proved to be cost effective for the city. Additionally, these other solutions required the city to be dependent upon other entities for this service; this has proven to be a source of issues for the city for our current agreement for these services.”
While each candidate didn’t endorse consolidating the city’s fire services with the county, they also did not dismiss the idea.
“While maintaining our own fire department would be the preferred outcome and the choice I would prefer,” Lariscy said, “consideration must always be given to other options. In the end, the best solution for the citizens of Guyton must be the solution embraced. I will work with both paid and volunteer personnel in the fire department and county fire officials to determine the best way forward. It is important to consider the passion of the volunteers who come to the department willing to serve the community in this capacity and provide an opportunity for them to express their concerns while making these decisions.”
Said Garvin: “Consolidating fire protection services with the county has been presented several times, and as a city we should study the pros and cons to see if it would be a viable plan.”r plus.