Friday, November 1, 2013
On Tuesday, residents in the Town of Andrews will go to the National Guard Armory to elect three members of Town Council.
Incumbents David Tisdale, Terrance Middleton and Thomas Alford are on the ballot, along with Sudha Patel and Eddie Lee.
The Georgetown Times submitted questions to the candidates last week. Here are those questions and the answers:
1) What are the three most important issues facing the Town of Andrews in the next four years?
ALFORD: A) The #1 priority in my opinion is to upgrade the Public Works Equipment. Try to secure funds to replace all of the old equipment to include the vehicles they are presently driving. Things like the old street sweeper, trench boxes, etc. I think the public's work department can work more efficiently and more safely when we can get them the proper tools to do their jobs.
Another important factor for the town in the next few years is to continue to work on employee evaluations and budget monitoring, to secure funds for salary increases, for all of our employees.
B) I think our #2 priority is the upgrading of our water and sewer infrastructure. I think by doing this we can stop most of the infiltration of rain water that’s getting into the system and costing the town a lot of money. The more we can cut down on infiltration, the more money we can save and put towards other water and sewer projects, like manhole covers, replacing old outdated sewer lines, etc.
C) I think the town’s #3 priority is to continue to work on the closing out of the consent order with DHEC on the lagoon. We are presently working on this project but, because of the lack of funds its going to take a few more years to get it done. The closing out of this lagoon has been an on going problem, but I’m optimistic that we will get it done.
D) I think we need to consider looking into the possibility of securing a grant to buy another fire truck (ladder truck). In light of the Georgetown front street fire, we need to consider long term solutions for possible future problems.
LEE: You need to gain access to the leaders in municipalities that can show us how to bring business into town. We also need a facelift in the town and I would handle that situation with Sen. John Yancey McGill and Rep. Carl Anderson, making contact with them over the finances.
The money is there we just have to have a reason for wanting it and needing it.
We’ve got to let the people in the town know that you are for them. Especially around Christmas time, give them a present, let them know that you are about them and that you know they are important.
MIDDLETON: Improving the town’s infrastructure, regaining confidence and respect from our citizens, finding more water revenue and trying to raise the moral of our dedicated employees are some of the most important issues facing the town.
PATEL: Of course, we have more than three issues and the list keeps growing, but the question specifically asks for top three. I would say that over the years, poor leadership as well as governance set-up contributed to social, physical, and economics downfall for the town.
1.) Social: Lack of community pride, spirit and character for sure. Presently there is not a single community event marked on calendar to draw all members in the community and other places to come together and enjoy a common event. The young generation needs additional opportunities in town outside of sports recreation and school. The senior citizens also deserve more activities and opportunities than currently available.
2.) Physical infrastructure: Very minimal development occurring in the neighboring areas. New industrial growth and development in Andrews have been declining. Incompatible hodge-podge development taking place in the historic downtown area. There are many dilapidated, abandoned, and or empty buildings throughout townscape. The town’s character and presence has been overlooked.
3.) Economics: Lack of work opportunities especially new jobs for young people whether professionals or skilled workers. Improvement in existing and bringing new business and industrial growth are most positively needed.
TISDALE: A.) Maintaining fiscal responsibility and accountability to be able to provide services to our citizens.
B.) Keeping our aging and fragile water system operational, hopefully through some grant monies, since it is our largest source of revenue.
C.) Attract more businesses, both industrial and retail which translates into jobs.
2) What makes you the best choice for Town Council?
ALFORD: A) First of all, I think my eight years of experience has given me an edge over the other candidates. I came on Council with a mind and a desire to do my best for the Town of Andrews and that hasn’t changed. I came on to be a team player and to help make necessary positive changes for a better quality of life for all of the people in and around the Andrews community. I understand well the concept that there is no “I” in team work. Its about working together and making things happen.
Through Coastal Carolina University, (Small Business Assoc. Dept), I have initiated several small business workshops for the merchants and for those that may want to go into business in the town. I have connections throughout the county and with other municipal affiliates to see this town go to the next level.
Through seeking God for directions, I think I have a very clear picture of where this town can be and need to go in the next few years and more.
LEE: I am 60 years old and I’ve worked for 22 years in the police department, 11 years as a supervisor and 11 years as an investigator and I care about all the people in the town of Andrews.
In reference to the best choice, I don’t want anyone in the town to vote for me because they like me. Like doesn’t have nothing to do with it.
I want them to vote for me because they know I have the ability to get the job done. And I’m accountable and I’m responsible and if I say I’m going to do something, I’m going to do it. That includes people that don’t stay within the city limits, the ones that come inside the city limits, those that shop here, they are important too. If they come into town and they have a problem, and if I’m elected, I’ve got to do my best to fix that problem.
I’ve got to be truthful to all the citizens.
MIDDLETON: What makes me the best candidate is my knowledge of the towns policies and my 15 years of experience on dealing with our state and county reps.
PATEL: First, I want to reassure the citizens of Andrews that the seat I intend to successfully fill this coming November 2013 election belongs to the People; it’s the People’s Seat. My door will always be open to the public.
Second, I am a visionary, an architectural designer where I have been persistently working on creating a Master Plan, or blueprint for the future of forgotten community.
I have over 15 years of educational and professional training in architecture design, construction management and planning in addition to family business knowledge to bring to the table. With so much local support, I also believe my current active involvement in the community will strongly guide me in helping the town grow with especially addressing to the strong need in social, physical and economic health concerns.
TISDALE: I have had a leadership military career and also spent years owning my own retail business.
Since I am retired, I am not concerned with politics, only about standing up for what I believe to be right and that our citizens are Getting a fair shake from their government.
3) What will you do personally to help recruit new business or industry to the Town of Andrews and the immediate area?
ALFORD: A) I sit on several boards and commissions for the county. In doing so I have some understanding of who is coming to the area and what’s going on. I feel with my presences at the table I will speak volume for the Town of Andrews. I will keep in close contact with The Chamber of Commerce of which I am a member, and let them know that Andrews is still looking for new businesses.
As a member of the Georgetown County Airport Commission, I can make it known that Andrews is looking for new businesses when new potential customers come in looking for airplane space.
As a past member of the Georgetown County Economic Development Board or Alliance, I have a great communication line with them and can always called to see if there is any new potential businesses coming to the area. Being very familiar with the dredging of the Georgetown Port, I have the connections to see what new business might be coming to the area.
LEE: I will give you a prime example. I would probably go to North Charleston to see Keith Summey, the mayor over there who brought in industry. You have to go where the information is.
I would seek advice from going on to Facebook. To bring new business to the town, you have to care about the people and you have to give them some kind of incentive to place jobs here in the city limits. You have to care about the people in this community.
The definition of the town council member is to do the business of the people. Then again I’d like to reiterate I’d like to work with Sen. McGill and Rep. Anderson who have assets to the funds and they can appropriate the funds. My thing is a phone call isn’t going to do it, I’ve got to talk to them face to face. If it is going to benefit this community, I’m going to them. I will go to them not as an individual but representing the community.
MIDDLETON: I would put forth cost-saving policies for industries wanting to come to this area, such as tax incentives and negotiate on town services.
PATEL: I believe I have already started to pursue bringing in some new businesses and industrial growth to the Town of Andrews. Our annual meeting is coming up and will be held on Saturday, Nov. 23, 2013 as a follow-up to our first meeting that was held in October last year hosted by Historic Andrews and Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce.
The cornerstone of my platform is to develop a comprehensive long-term strategy or a Master Plan to promote and improve the physical, social, and economic health and growth for the Town of Andrews and to the immediate area. This can be best accomplished through use of resources and collaborative effort with the city, county, state, and federal officials as well as support from the local citizens and a variety of public or private groups and organizations that may come to the table and work closely together with creating a promising Master Plan. We must all in the community come together and set some future goals. Otherwise, future development in Andrews will continue to lag as history shows.
TISDALE: Businesses are about profits based on customer base and incomes. We need retail businesses in these empty stores such as department stores, sporting goods, just to name a couple.
I have been working on a perspective based on the 2010 census coupled with the attractiveness of Andrews that can be sent to potential businesses that I hope will cause them to consider Andrews.
I believe as Sen. McGill does that the deepening of the Georgetown Port will bring in more industrial type businesses to our area to serve an increased demand for services created by the port deepening.
4) What will you and Town Council do to make Andrews more attractive for young people to stay and raise their families?
ALFORD: A) The first thing I will do is try to keep the Downtown Revitalization on the forefront of our agenda so we can continue to seek grants to continue the work we have started. In doing this we can increase the quality of life for the people in and around our town.
B) I will try to have more events in the town so the families can come out and enjoy themselves.
C) I will work closely with the county to improve recreation for our town.
D) I will work hard to revamp the railroad bed park and make it more attractive for the families in our town and surrounding area.
LEE: #1 you have to have accountability, #2 you have to show a willingness to work with the people already in office which includes Mayor Giles and the rest of the Town Council members. You have to have a positive attitude and not a confrontational attitude. I think if you go in with a confrontational attitude you are wasting time for the people.
Like I said before, I think my presence on that Town Council includes reliability because I am a reliable man and accountable for what I do. And I care about everybody in this community. I’m talking not from my age but from my heart.
This is another thing. If you tell people you are going to do something, you do it. I’ve got signs up but signs don’t talk. You have to talk to the people and say what you mean and mean what you say. People around here take me at my word and they have respect for me. I am going to stand up for what’s right. And I’ve got aspirations for doing other things, like possibly running for the mayor.
School security - I know it takes money to do the things I’m telling you but you really have to have your schools where you can’t get in. If we can get the funds, I don’t want anything bad to happen to the kids, I’ve got grandkids.
One other thing we need equipment for public works, trucks and stuff.
You have to build a relationship of trust with other municipalities. You’ve got to have a relationship, you just can’t sit behind a desk, you have to get out there in the field. You have to get a relationship not just with the community but outside the community. You’d be surprised what you can get if you know the people.
You’re bond is your word. You tell people you’re going to do it, you do it.
If I am elected I’d like to get a conduct committee in reference to the complaints I hear about people having complaints and they’re not being responded too. We need to set up some kind of committee to respond to people’s complaints.
We need to respond to the community’s complaints, whether they are legitimate or not.
MIDDLETON: I would clean the town up and try to get good paying jobs in the area.
PATEL: First and foremost, a detailed section on economic health and growth must be included in the Master Plan. It is one of my key goals to see to that Andrews, S.C., will eventually turn into a healthy, self-sufficient working community in countless ways. It is vital to concentrate on building a stronger more resilient economy through most obvious measure, not only through new job creation, but also to employ young men and women with their current skills set as well as providing new and or additional training that will guarantee them success locally.
It is also essential to focus on the things people love the most about a small thriving town e.g. reintroduce community events for all age groups, multiple open spaces, public art, central park, outdoor dining, improve natural landmarks, new signage and preserve historic character. Also on top of the list, help existing places thrive by protecting current assets and future investments such as historic downtown, main streets, existing infrastructure improvements, and selective landmarks that are most valued in the community i.e. the Black River. Building new safe and dynamic neighborhoods and communities seem to attract the young people the most nowadays.
TISDALE: It takes good paying jobs to entice young people to stay home after high school or to return home after college. I would encourage young people to think about starting their own businesses. It is hard work that I can attest to having had my own business.
We need industrial jobs at home, both entry level and management positions to retain our young people. I think we have a good start with industries such as Agru-America, Saferack and Davis Aircraft. All have expansion plans and have hundreds of jobs in their future.
We should do our best to attract more like these.