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City Council, Mayor hopefuls debate

  • Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Tommy Howard/Times Georgetown City Council candidate Jeanette Ard answers questions from the panel. The other Council candidates are, from left, Ed Kimbrough, Doris Simmons, Paige Sawyer, Brendon Barber and Carol Jayroe.

The Candidates

Mayor candidates

Richard Powers

I have deep roots in Georgetown. Son to Jackie and Ann Powers of Georgetown, I was born and raised here. I have two sisters, Jan Fort and Leigh Boan, and one brother, Jack Powers Jr. We all live in the area. I am a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a bachelor's degree in Business Administration and Marketing Information Systems.
My wife, Shelley, and I are raising three children in the town I love. In addition to owning two boat dealerships, I am a deacon in my church.
Georgetown is a unique city that has a lot to offer. I want to inspire us all to work together with new ideas and energy to make Georgetown an even more wonderful and prosperous town.
After spending 12 years in corporate sales and owning two small businesses for the past 12 years, I would use these skills and experiences to make it easier for current businesses to succeed and also to bring new businesses to Georgetown. Under my leadership as mayor, every department in the City of Georgetown would become "business friendly" with customer service as it's highest goal.
Every city employee should welcome new business here and work together as a team for the greater good of the city.    

Jack Scoville

Jack Scoville was born and raised in Columbia, S.C. Attended Davidson College and graduated from USC and the USC Law School. Practicing attorney in Georgetown since 1977.
He has served as Georgetown County attorney for 17 years. Has served on the City Architectural Review Board, the County Planning Commission, chaired the County Elections Commission, and served on the Board of the S.C. State Ports Authority.
He is also a member of the Georgetown Port Dredging Task Force. He served as a City Council member for four years and mayor for four years.
Scoville has been active in civic and political affairs since 1977 and a board member of the S.C. Municipal Association.
He is married to Lindsay Huggins of Columbia and is father to Miller, Sam, and Makemie. He is also grandfather to Miguel and Sophie.
He is an avid hunter, fisherman, and furniture builder, reader, and a Gamecock fan.

City Council
candidates

Jeanette Ard

Jeanette Ard is seeking reelection to city council.
Ard is a Georgetown native and graduated from Winyah High School in 1964. She worked at the family store in the Brown's Ferry area for years. She attended Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
She worked for the Georgetown County office of the S.C. Department of Social Services for 15 years.
She started her Floral Fascinations business in 1984. Five years later she bought Colonial Florists on Front Street.
She's involved with the Mitney Project, a collaborative effort to revitalize the West End of the city of Georgetown.
Ard is a single mother with two grown children and three grandchildren.
Running as a Democrat, Ard wants to get the city in a business-friendly mode.
She owned Colonial Floral Fascinations on Front Street, which was destroyed in the recent fire.
Ard believes it's important to use existing tools such as the city's 2003 strategic plan, update it and implement it as a planning document to guide the city.
In her volunteer activities, Ard serves on a regional education board. That group is working with the county school district, HGTC and Coastal Carolina University to develop a curriculum to help educate the workforce.
It's also important "to quit providing lip service to economic development, and become engaged with economic development on the county and state level," Ard said.
"We need to develop incentives for business and individuals to want to come here."
By doing that, she believes, it would make populated areas want to come into the city through annexation.
Also, she said, the city needs to work towards restoring the Port of Georgetown. And, we don't need to be harassing business.
Ard is a Georgetown native and graduated from Winyah High School in 1964. She worked at the family store in the Brown's Ferry area for years. She attended Horry-Georgetown Technical College.
She worked for the Georgetown County office of the S.C. Department of Social Services for 15 years.


Brendon Barber

I was born in Georgetown in 1954. I have served on City Council since 1998. I have served as Safe and Drug Free Schools Coordinator, Schools Safety Consultant, Head Basketball Coach, Assistant Football Coach and Guidance Counselor for the Georgetown County School District. 
I have also been involved with AMIKids Georgetown and AMIKids Inc., an 82 million dollar nonprofit cooperation, for the past 22 years. I served in numerous positions on the boards and provided guidance and leadership.
I assisted in helping AMIKids Georgetown host a very successful annual Golf Tournament that has raised large revenues for the rebuilding and relocation of AMIKids Georgetown.
I served as the chair of the National Executive Committee Board for AMIKids Inc. where in two years I rebranded the cooperation and placed it under one umbrella.
I also served as an Advisor to the South Carolina Center for Safe Schools, South Carolina Department of Education Youth Advisory Board in Columbia, SC.
I received my Bachelor of Arts and Master's Degree in Urban Development from Michigan State University in East Lansing, Mich. where I attended on a football scholarship.
My wife Pamela and I have four children, a daughter and three sons.
My reasons for running for City Council are many. First of all I have a deep love and appreciation for the well being of my hometown.
I want Georgetown to be a place where we and our children have opportunities for meaningful jobs, affordable housing, and a safe community.
I want to continue being a vital instrument for the advancement and beautification of Georgetown.
Government is for and by the people, this is what fuels my sustained diligence to make sure not one of our citizens are left out or ignored.
Georgetown has seen much growth and progress while maintaining its values and ethics. I want to make certain we stay on this path.

Carol Jayroe

Carol Jayroe, age 55, is a native of Georgetown and a local businesswoman.
She is the owner of Prince George Sotheby's International Realty.
Prior to starting her real estate career, Carol had an extensive career in banking.
With a career spanning 25 years, Carol had the opportunity to work in all aspects of banking and completed her career as a senior vice president.
A few of her many accomplishments in banking include being awarded the Young Banker of the Year  award for South Carolina and the Distinguished Service Award by the Bankers Association.
Jayroe has been involved in many of the area's most respected charitable organizations and served as past president of Georgetown County United Way.
Jayroe has volunteered for Tidelands Community Hospice for 30 years and has served in many capacities including president.
She currently serves on the allocations committee for the Frances Bunnelle Foundation and as a Georgetown County board representative for the Coastal Community Foundation.

Ed Kimbrough

I was born and raised in Georgetown and a graduate of Winyah High School and The University of South Carolina with a BS Degree in Business Administration and a major in Marketing.
I returned to Georgetown in 2003 after a career in corporate America obtaining the level of senior management and executive level positions.
I am currently serving as Broker In Charge for The Georgetown Real Estate Agency.
My wife Debbie, a school teacher, and I have a married daughter and a 2-year-old grandson living in Columbia, S.C.
Giving back to the community has always been important to me as a citizen.
I served as past president of the Georgetown Rotary Club; co-chairman of the Winyah Bay Heritage Festival; former member of the Winyah Auditorium Board of Directors; member of Winyah Indigo Society; member of Board of Realtors; and member of the Georgetown Historical Society and past board member.
My business experience in the private sector has prepared me well for what I see ahead in City government.

Paige Sawyer

Paige Sawyer is 65 years old and has been married to Susan McDaniel Sawyer for 39 years. They have two sons, Cary and Philip and a daughter in law, Emmie.
His education consists of high school, radio broadcasting school, photography school, various classes at Coastal Carolina and the South Carolina Municipal Elected Officials Institute of Government.
Sawyer and his wife have owned and operated Paige Sawyer Photography since 1974.
They're both active members of Duncan Memorial United Methodist Church.
Sawyer serves on the Committee for Judicial Selection Commission and International Paper Community Advisory Committee.
He is a member of American Legion Post 114, Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6444, Battery White Sons of Confederate Veterans, General William Moultrie Sons of the American Revolution, Gideons International, Georgetown Propeller Club, Georgetown Historical Society, Army Security Agency Alumni Association and Beach Music Association International.
He is the past president of the Winyah Indigo Society and past president of the South Carolina Professional Photographers Association.
Sawyer is a U.S. Army veteran and served 27 months in Viet Nam.
He was re-elected in November 2009 to a fourth term on Georgetown City Council.
His wife served on Georgetown County School Board from 1984-95 and presently serves as president of the Historic District Homeowners Association.

Doris Simmons

Simmons, 57, is a retired longshoreman.
She is a former delegate of Charleston Local 1422.
“I was a campaign manager for the last city campaign election, and I am currently a member of the longshoreman workers coalition. I am a widow with four boys, the youngest in college,” Simmons said.
Why she is running:
I should be elected as city council because I want to enhance and encourage the growth of our city.
I would like to see more affordable housing and employment.
I would also like to bring more prominent business to the city of Georgetown. E.G. Google, Boeing (satellite office).

Photos

The candidates running for the mayor's seat and three expiring city council positions in Georgetown got together to answer questions about issues facing the city Monday night.
The forum, sponsored by the Georgetown County Chamber of Commerce and the Georgetown Business Association, was free of heated exchanges which allowed the issues to be the main focus as voters decide who to elect on Nov. 5.
The debate was held in two parts. First Mayor Jack Scoville, a Democrat, and his Republican challenger – Richard Powers – took the stage to answer eight main questions prepared by Chamber and GBA members. Then the city council candidates answered the same questions.
The council candidates are Democrat incumbents Brendon Barber, Jeanette Ard and newcomer Doris Simmons. The Republicans are incumbent Paige Sawyer and newcomers Carol Jayroe and Ed Kimbrough.
Powers, the owner of two boat dealerships, said he wants to work to make Georgetown a place his children can return to after graduating from college.
“If they graduated today, there are no jobs for them to come home to. We have to look for ways to bring jobs here and that takes a team of people. True leadership knows that,” Powers said.
Scoville said because of the recent Front Street fire, there will be a lot of work for council in the upcoming months.
“You cannot have a complete novice running this city for the next four years. This fire presents a great challenge and opportunity,” Scoville said.

Civility in City Hall

 Making City Hall more user friendly was something both Powers and Kimbrough said they will strive to make happen if elected.
“We have to put more civility in City Hall. It doesn't matter who you are, everybody's issue is important,” said Powers. “If we are not business friendly people will not come here. If they see infighting, they will not come.”
Kimbrough said “civility in government is imperative. I hope tonight is the beginning of a unified group for change and progress.”
Scoville said City Hall was not business friendly when he was elected mayor but he has worked to make things better.

Alcohol on the Harborwalk

One of the questions was whether the candidates would support allowing alcoholic beverages on the Harborwalk in the same manner they are allowed on the Marshwalk in Murrells Inlet.
Every candidate said they have no problem with allowing drinks on the boardwalk but, they added, there need to be some stipulations.
“Alcohol can be a problem for some people and can lead to bad things. But I believe people should have a choice. I don't want to see beer cans walking down the street but having a beer cup, I am OK with it,” Powers said.
Scoville said restaurants are already allowed to serve alcohol at the tables on the sidewalks outside their businesses. He said he supports people having drinks on the boardwalk “as long as they behave themselves.”
Ard added there would need to be police presence to keep people from destroying property.
Kimbrough said a law change “is way past due” because it would make it easier for patrons to get from one restaurant and bar to the other.
Sawyer said he is OK with the idea as long as “the wishes and concerns” of the residents who live in the apartments are taken into consideration.

Attracting new business

The candidates were asked to explain how they plan to attract new businesses to Georgetown.
Scoville said that was one of the main reasons he pushed for the recent hiring of Tee Miller as the city's Economic Development Director. He said Miller talks with business owners and tries to convince them to locate in Georgetown.
He also said the city continues to work with Richmond Realty to try to annex the wooded property next to Tractor Supply. He said that could be the future site of a Lowe's or Home Depot.
Powers said the city needs to change its mentality if it wants to be a business attraction. He said city leaders need to go to business shows and offer things to bring them in. He said there are a lot of retired CEOs in the area that could offer great advice and expertise.
Kimbrough said not only does the city need to go after new businesses but programs need to be put in place to help existing businesses expand.
Simmons said, if elected, she plans to talk with business owners and employees to get ideas about how to improve the commercial environment. She said council needs to find out why so many stores are vacant.
Sawyer said Georgetown County is well known for its union labor.
“We have to rid ourselves of the union labor title so more people see us as business friendly,” Sawyer said.
Barber said “we need to reinvest our energy and interest” into the dredging of the Port of Georgetown.
“There is no reason that could not be a great satellite port,” Barber said. “The key point is education. Let's work effectively with our school district so that we can have a workforce that is ready when the businesses do come.”
Jayroe said all cities are competing for the same jobs and businesses. She said even though Georgetown “is a $30 million business” there is no marketing in place to attract businesses or tourists.”
She said the city needs a marketing budget and a marketing firm to work hand-in-hand with Miller.
Ard said she has worked with a committee that has put together an RFP for marketing the city. She said the city's website will be upgraded because that “is the most useful tool a city can have to bring in people.”

Business License

One of the questions described the business license in Georgetown as “a progressive tax based on revenue instead of a flat rate.” The candidates were asked if they agree with the current setup or if they prefer an alternative.
“It is a tax. It is not a fee. It drives me crazy when they call it that,” Powers said. He said the city needs to make it easier to do business suggesting the possibility of a freeze on some of the fees “for a couple of years.”
He said maybe business owners could use that money to hire more workers.
Scoville said if the fees were frozen there would need to be a tax increase for residents or more cuts in order to recoup the loss.
He said he would like the county to create a business license program because right now the county has a competitive advantage over the city.
Barber said he has no problem letting experts study the issue to see if there is a viable alternative “so we are not taking a hit in the general fund budget.”
Jayroe said the current system punishes people for being successful since the amount charged for the license is based on profits earned.
“It needs to be equitable,” she said.
Ard and Kimbrough both said they support a flat business license fee while Simmons said “we all need to get together and talk about the pros and cons and decide what's best for the city.”
Sawyer said he supports studying the flat fee but added the city needs to look at all of its non-taxable property such as the hospital, schools, churches, cemeteries and the Sheriff's Office.

Helping the Front Street fire victims

Each of the candidates said “no” when asked if the city should provide financial help for the victims of the fire if their insurance does not cover all the costs.
Scoville said the city is working at trying to obtain grants to help with making any changes that are required because of the flood zone laws. He said city funds cannot be used to help rebuild private property.
Powers said if the city were to help with the private property costs it would open Pandora's Box.
“If you help one person you would have to help others,” Powers said.
Jayroe said she would not be given public funds to help rebuild if her house burned down.
Ard, whose business and apartment were destroyed by the fire, agreed.
“The city should not build my building back,” she said.

Odds and ends

There was a lightning round of questions where the candidates were allowed to answer only yes or no.
• All the candidates, except Scoville, answered “yes” when asked if they would consider a budget in the neighborhood of $400,000 for marketing the city.
• Every candidate, except Barber, said they would support a change to non-partisan elections.
• All said they do support an RFP process to solicit bids from private sector companies for electrical and water service and trash collection. “Yes, but see me after the debate,” was Barber's response.
• Only Kimbrough and Jayroe said they support making Broad Street the main entrance to the Downtown area and Historic District.

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