ROSWELL/ALPHARETTA, Ga. — Qualifying for municipal elections in Roswell and Alpharetta ended last week with a field of candidates entering races for municipal seats.

In Alpharetta, voters will have one contested City Council race and two referendums to decide in the 2019 General Election.  Three incumbents will return to office unchallenged while three candidates will vie for the Post 6 seat on the Alpharetta City Council, now held by Dan Merkel.

Merkel will face off against challengers Abu Bakkar Ngila Jalloh, a biomedical scientist, and retired IT manager Clifford Martin. Mayor Jim Gilvin and City Council members Jason Binder and John Hipes drew no challengers.

In addition, Alpharetta will feature two ballot questions related to the possible expansion of the city’s homestead property tax exemption.

Alpharetta’s residential taxpayers already enjoy the largest homestead exemption in Georgia at $40,000, which saves homeowners almost $5 million annually. Residents age 65 and older qualify for an additional $15,000 exemption, and seniors who meet certain income requirements can qualify for another $10,000 in savings.

During this year’s general election, Alpharetta voters will be asked if the basic homestead exemption should be increased to $45,000 and the income cap for seniors be removed so that all homeowners aged 65 and above can qualify for an additional $25,000 in savings.

For more information about Alpharetta elections, visit

Roswell residents will vote for four contested races.

Post 1, the liaison to the Administration and Finance Department, will see incumbent Marcelo Zapata face off against former Councilman Donald J. Horton.

Post 2 incumbent Mike Palermo will face off against mortgage banker and longtime resident Geoff Smith. The one who takes the post will serve as liaison to the Community Development Department.

Post 3, the liaison to the Transportation Department, is the most heavily contested race in Roswell this year. The seat was vacated earlier this month by Sean Groer after his family moved to Chattanooga, Tenn. Those who qualified for the seat are Keith Goeke, Christine Hall, Lisa Holland and Kay Howell. Holland is the former spokesperson for the Roswell Police Department.

The municipal judge seat is also contested this year. Incumbent Brian Hansford will face off against Philip Mansell.

For information about the Roswell elections and those who qualified, visit

The last day for citizens to register and be eligible to vote in the 2019 General Election is Oct. 7.  Early voting will run Oct. 15-Nov. 1, with weekend voting on Oct. 26. Election Day is Nov. 5, and runoff elections, if needed, will be held Dec. 3. 

Advanced voting locations are different this year because of some library closures. This year’s locations include:

• Alpharetta Library, 10 Park Plaza, Alpharetta

• East Roswell Library, 2301 Holcomb Bridge Road, Roswell

• Milton Library, 855 Mayfield Road, Milton

• Roswell City Hall, 38 Hill St., Room G-35, Roswell

Voters can check their registration status and polling location at

— Patrick Fox and Julia Grochowski

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