Archived Story

Saluda candidates for council answer Bulletin questions

Published 10:57pm Thursday, October 24, 2013

Hobart “Sunny” Pace:

1. Do you feel there are ways the city could be run more efficiently, if so, what would you do differently if elected commissioner?

There is almost always a more efficient way of doing things, although sometimes the obvious is not it. I would listen to any suggestion and take a hard look at anything we are doing. I believe our employees are good. I do not have a personal or political agenda, so I am not on a crusade to straighten out a particular thing or person. I will always consider those of us that have limited funds and try to get their money’s worth to the ones paying the bills.

2. What are your plans to fund and improve infrastructure, specifically water and sewer lines?

We now own a new tank and share ownership in a new water line, so grants and financing are possibilities, but be careful when increasing debt. I would continue the facilities improvement fund, adding to it as we can. More customers and even an additional water source would help.

3. What do you believe is appropriate growth for Saluda? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?

I would not try to force growth on our town. It will come as good opportunities appear to motivated individuals. The tax base will grow slowly with time. I would be wary of annexation, using it only when clearly in the best interest of our tax payers.

4. What is your vision for Saluda and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

I see a Saluda where we get along with each other like the summer folks and the locals did when I was a kid. Where old and new, young and old, and even rich and poor get along with mutual respect and neighborly good will.

We seem to have developed a “us against them” attitude that drags us all down. An extra dose of honesty might help.

Saluda covers more area outside town than in and we need to be kind to these neighbors, we are all community. I remember Saluda.

Ellen Rogers:

1. Do you feel there are ways the city could be run more efficiently, if so, what would you do differently if elected commissioner?

Yes, any system needs regular consideration of its effectiveness and efficiency; including an examination of whether current policies, procedures, productivity, staffing, ordinances, fees structures, etc. are appropriate moving forward. However, a constant review, or a restructuring with each new Board of Commissioners and mayor, and the micromanaging of the city staff by our elected officials can also hinder efficiency.

Each newly elected (or re-elected) official should be required to attend the training provided by the League of Municipalities, but also should be required to review the current systems and structures (including, but not limited to: City ordinances, policies and procedures, list of city employees and job descriptions, policies and procedures, permits required and associated fees, annual budget, businesses operating in Saluda, water/sewer rates).

Every newly elected official should make it a point to have a face to face conversations with every city employee, with more focused, information gathering conversations with the city clerk, the city administrator and the city finance officer.

A review of changes and updates, in the last 20 years, to all of the above, as well as a familiarization with past (and current) surveys, grant applications, and program initiatives should be conducted by each commissioner and mayor.

“Work smarter, not harder.”

2. What are your plans to fund and improve infrastructure, specifically water and sewer lines?

a) The process of review and learning described above is the first step. Surveys, project development, collaborative initiatives, and grant funding opportunities (to name a few) have been conducted numerous times in the past. The “ground work has already been laid” and we should look to those who have lived and led before us before proposing new plans to (potentially) improve.

b) While the water/sewer system is certainly a concern for our community to consider and one in need of a sustainable, long-term solution, I again encourage us to look to those who have lived and led before. I don’t necessarily have the answers, but I feel confident that we – as a collaborative effort between the City and the people of Saluda – can develop and/or maintain sound solutions.

3. What do you believe is appropriate growth for Saluda? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?

Smart growth – taking careful consideration of Saluda’s dynamic history, small town character and quality, natural resources, and the input and well being of our varied and – increasingly – diverse populations and businesses.

b) How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?

The city must honestly and continually collaborate with the Saluda Business Association about this issue and the potential for growth and increasing our tax base. That organization and its members can and should provide much of the guidance on this question.

4. What is your vision for Saluda and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

I want Saluda to remain a vibrant, small town while embracing and protecting our history and our assets/resources (people, place, and/or space).

I believe that I have a strong relationship and respect with and for our rich history, our amazing and diverse community members, and our unique environment. In my opinion, a strong leader must be a strong, passionate, inclusive, and neighborly community member. I am.

George Sweet:

1. Do you feel there are ways the city could be run more efficiently and if so, what would you do differently if elected commissioner?

I believe the primary purpose of our city administration and Board of Commissioners is to provide necessary services for the citizens of Saluda. In my opinion, quality of service is the priority and efficiency is a secondary issue.

With this in mind, I feel that Saluda conducts its business as efficiently as practical and appropriate. Our current employees are loyal, well-trained, work hard, work well together and are responsive to the needs of our citizens. I would not do anything differently if elected.

2. What are your plans to fund and improve infrastructure, specifically water and sewer lines?

The current Commission has, for the first time in several years, budgeted funds to repave a portion of the city streets each year and to improve the water and sewer system. It is expected that this will continue for the next five years. We plan each year to replace segments of both water and sewer systems with new and larger lines, which will improve water pressure and minimize leakage.

3. What do you believe is appropriate growth for Saluda? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?

There is not a great deal of property available within the city limits of Saluda for new construction. Commercial development is primarily limited to Ozone Drive and Hwy. 176. However, as we continue to keep Saluda a wonderful place to live, growth will occur.

The most helpful thing would be to locate a small industry in or near Saluda which would create jobs.

The current commission, through the Small Town Main Street Program, has created an economic development effort to increase job opportunities.

4. What is your vision for Saluda and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

Saluda is a wonderful place to live, and we should endeavor to keep it that way. As a candidate I offer four years of experience as a City Commissioner, many years of executive and volunteer experience, and offer, I think, a reasonable perspective and good judgment.

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