Week of Oct. 27, 2004
Williamston voters to decide on mayor
seeking commissioners seat
Dr. John Pruitt, Director of Secondary Education, presented information on the masters cohort program to the Board of Trustees for Anderson School District One at their regular meeting Tuesday.
The district-based program is designed to assist personnel in obtaining advanced degrees locally rather than traveling to Clemson University.
Using comparisons with programs on campus at the university, Pruitt estimated that the expense of completing a masters program along with travel expenses amounted to $18,480.
Through an agreement with Clemson University, the district-based program is purchased at a cost of $8,800 per course, Pruitt said.
Pruitt estimated that the cohort program represented a total savings of $14,256 for district personnel pursuing a masters degree.
Pruitt also emphasized the intrinsic benefits to the district of having personnel in classes interacting with colleagues and friends.
Time, expense, and inconvenience are being replaced with collegiality, economy and relevance, Pruitt said.
Pruitt also reminded the board that one of the criteria on the state report card relates to the number of personnel with advanced degrees. Currently the district has 50.4% of personnel with advanced degrees compared with the state median of 47.8%, Pruitt said.
In other business, Superintendent Dr. Wayne Fowler reported that about 20 per cent of revenue amounting to $12,672,687.91 had been received. Expenses have amounted to $15,708.03 or about 25 per cent, Fowler said. Fowler explained that the shortage would be taken care of with property tax revenue in December.
Associate Superintendent David Havird, reported expenses of $284,648 and revenue of $298,028 in the nutrition program creating a profit of $13,379 in September. Havird also reported that an additional 8,000 meals were served in September compared with last years total for the same time period.
Fowler reported that the district still hopes to meet the December 20 deadline for the Freshman Academy at Palmetto High School. The gym may not be fully completed, but the district plans to occupy the facility over the Christmas holidays, Fowler said.
The board also approved a request to use $216,397.32 in Childrens Endowment Funds and $2,329 in EIA Building Funds for the completion of the freshman academy project.
The board also approved an IHBEA policy which includes a district-wide plan for meeting the needs of students speaking a language other than English. The district currently has approximately 100 children with limited English proficiency, officials reported.
Board members unanimously approved two requests for leave of absence.
Cheryl Lanford, Powdersville Elementary, Grade 5, requested a five-week medical leave of absence from November 12 through December 17.
Susan Merritt, Powdersville Middle, Home Arts, requested a six-week medical leave of absence from November 8 through December 17.
The board also unanimously approved a recommendation for Andria Hancock to become the Director of Technology for the district.
Scores on the 2004 High School Assessment Program (HSAP) for Anderson School District One high schools far exceeded the state average and placed the district among the top five districts in the state.
In English Language Arts, 92% of district students met the standard compared to 85% statewide.
In Mathematics, 88% of Anderson One students met the standard compared to 80% of students statewide.
Students passing both the English and Math sections on their first attempt, a measure often used as a reference by the S.C. State Department of Education when comparing districts, found 86% of Anderson One students succeeding with both compared to 76% passing both across the state.
The HSAP is a battery of tests administered to all South Carolina high school students completing their second year in high school.
HSAP assesses the students academic achievement on high school standards in accordance with the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) of 2002 and fulfills the similar requirement of the South Carolina Education Accountability Act (EAA) of 1998 that each public school student pass an exit examination in order to receive a high school diploma.
A true focus on teaching the South Carolina academic standards has been the emphasis of most of our districts professional development over recent years, said Dr. John Pruitt, Director of Secondary Education for Anderson School District One.
Our high schools have built on the success of earlier grades and demonstrate that a culture of high expectations for student achievement leads to success. Credit for these outstanding results should go to the students, teachers, and administrators of our schools as scores of this quality are truly a team effort, Pruitt added.
These results are pleasing based on our understanding that this is truly a test of high, academically focused standards, stated Dr. Wayne Fowler, Superintendent of Anderson School District One.
The South Carolina academic standards, which became law in 1998 and are continuously updated, have been rated among the nations best. Success on this test is an accurate measure of students academic ability. Our students and their teachers are to be commended for the years of preparation and diligence that leads to these results, Fowler stated.
HSAP replaces the Basic Skills Assessment Program (BSAP). Unlike BSAP, HSAP is fundamentally focused on required state curriculum standards and measures far beyond basic skills.
The HSAP is broken down into essentially two portions, English Language Arts and Mathematics.
The ELA portion assesses reading, writing, and research skills. The Mathematics portion assesses understanding of numbers and associated operations, algebra, measurement and geometry, data analysis and probability, and problem solving.
Students who do not pass one or both sections of the test have the opportunity to take another version of the test in succeeding years prior to their time of graduation.
Finances, infrastructure, downtown revitalization and working in harmony with council are priorities for Phillip Clardy if he is reelected mayor of Williamston.
His opponent, John C. Neel III, said he is running on a platform of information and his goal for the town if elected mayor, is to restore financial stability, integrity, and harmony and to make people proud to be a part of Williamston.
The race is expected to be a close one.
When voters elected 29-year-old Phillip Clardy mayor in November 2000, Clardy received 692 votes to incumbent Mayor Middletons 550 votes.
Town precinct results showed Middleton and Clardy each received 315 votes in the Town precinct with the mill precinct accounting for the difference. Mill precinct voters chose Clardy 377 to 235, clearly making Clardy their choice at the time.
There was one write in and 38 absentee ballots cast, according to poll officials. As of August 24, 2004, Anderson County Election Commission reported 2,103 registered voters in the Town of Williamston.
Since taking office, Clardy has faced criticism for his decisions including the firing of longtime police chief and his handling of the towns finances.
The fiscal condition of the town, which he said he has been working on during his four years as mayor, is his number one priority.
Clardy said the towns financial situation is affected by rising health insurance costs and declining revenues such as the automobile tax being phased out without replacement
Clardy also said that promotion and beautification of the town are also important.
Potted plants are not that expensive, Clardy said, referring to criticisms of the cost of providing flowers in the town.
Though he has faced criticism, Clardy said there are expenditures being made by the town that he said he doesnt think are frivolous or excessive.
Though he has said he will look at cuts, there were none offered in the six budget workshops held between July and October when Council was discussing borrowing up to $565,000 to catch up bills and get through the balance of the year.
We will cut everywhere we possibly can, Clardy said.
Another challenge facing the town is infrastructure. The town is in need of an upgrade for water and sewer services in the mill village and officials have applied for a $3 million grant to replace and upgrade those lines. Clardy said he hopes the federal funding will go through in the next year.
He said his attendance of Washington conferences, where he can sit down with congressmen, helps obtain grants, though the action has caused criticism from opponents who say he should not be spending money on trips to Washington when the town is in bad financial shape.
Clardy has supporters who believe he has improved the town and made good on campaign promises including open government. Critics say Clardy has not answered questions and put off responding to Freedom of Information requests.
If reelected, Clardy said he will recommit to setting politics aside in dealing with the business of the town.
Clardy said he promised to change the image of the town and the police department, deal with inappropriate behavior, work with all ethnic groups and toward providing activities for young people. And I will continue to do this for the next four years, he said.
Clardy said regardless of the outcome of the election he will be involved in the town.
At the beginning of his campaign, Neel that his campaign would be a positive venture based upon facts derived from Freedom of Information material requested from the town.
For the most part, Neel has steered clear of directly criticizing the mayor.
He did state that information was presented in plain view to the citizens of Williamston who are more than capable of interpreting the facts.
Neel said he wants to bring stability to the town.
Neel said that he decided to run for mayor after many citizens encouraged him to run. He said that if elected he plans to continue his teaching career and work as a part-time mayor.
The 58-year-old teacher has been in education for a total of 25 years and now teaches eighth grade at Palmetto Middle School.
Neel emphasizes that he will make all final decisions after collecting input and information on town issues.
If elected, Neel plans to eliminate the vehicle currently furnished to the mayor.
Neel would also stop the use of police vehicles for personal transportation and would put a freeze on hiring and study the present employee situation.
In response to criticism the current mayor has faced, Neel said that he will have the council approve major credit card purchases and provide them with monthly credit card statements,
He also said that he will have an open government with a staff to provide clear and honest answers to any questions citizens may have.
Neel emphasizes that there are several things he will not do as mayor including blaming predecessors whether previous mayors or councilmen for problems that may arise.
He also adds that he will not have an inaugural ball if elected and will not abuse the power of the office of mayor.
Neel said he has a strong love for the local community where he has lived virtually all his life. His family moved to Williamston when Neel was only three months old, and his father worked as a highway patrolman in the area.
Incumbent Ward 3 Councilman David Harvell is seeking his second full term on the Williamston Town Council.
Harvell sees the towns finances as the biggest issue in the current campaign.
The town has borrowed money over the years to be repaid before the fiscal year ends, Harvell explains. Because of the timing of the year end for the town, Harvell says that we have to pay back with incoming tax money and get on a merry-go-round of debt.
Harvell says that he has a realistic approach to town government and operations and understands the need for economic restraint. At the same time, he says that town services are important to taxpayers and that their needs should be given consideration before drastic budget moves are taken.
Harvell supports budget workshops to address the financial needs and to look at possible cuts. He also notes that insurance costs are affecting the budget adversely. During the workshops, Harvell says that the council will look at changing the towns fiscal year to coordinate with other communities and state government.
Harvell supports Mayor Phillip Clardy who is also running for re-election although he says they dont agree on every issue. According to Harvell, there is more openness about financial matters under the current administration than under the previous administration.
Were getting a more detailed view of the finances and where the money is spent, he says.
Harvell is also a supporter of beautification projects in Williamston and Brookdale Park and Mineral Spring park upkeep.
The 61-year-old is a Vietnam Navy veteran and retired from the National Guard with more than 25 years of service. He has also been a volunteer fireman for more than 30 years.
Wade Pepper is a lifelong resident of Williamston and went to Williamston schools.
He is a member of the local State National Guard, where he has served for more than 30 years. Pepper said he has made many friendships while in the guard unit.
He is retired from the Harper Corporation where he worked as treasurer.
He has four children.
He cites his experience on council and capital improvements made in the town while he has been on Council as reasons to return him to the seat.
During his terms as a councilman, the town has built waste water treatment facilities and provided citizens with an adequate water supply.
There has been a new fire station and the old Williamston High School Building renovated to be one of the most beautiful municipal centers in the State.
Pepper also points to sewer lines that have been installed in the town and ballfields as other improvements.
Numerous grants and revenue sharing monies have helped fund the improvements, he said.
He has expressed concerns about the financial situation in the Town of Williamston, especially during the past two years.
Pamela Owens, a life long resident of Williamston, is seeking the Williamston Town Council Ward 4 Seat.
Owens is a volunteer with the Williamston Area Historic Commission, currently holding the office of secretary. She is employed with School District One where she has been an activities bus driver for 13 years. She also worked as a teachers assistant for three years.
She also assists as needed at the Little Angel day care facility in Williamston.
She is the wife of David Owens, Sr. and the mother of two sons, David Owens Jr., and Robert. Her goals include community improvement and safety for all citizens of the town, being available to assist the mayor and council and being a voice for the citizens.
Owens has attended numerous Williamston Town Council meetings and other government-related meetings.
She worked with the mayor and council on the design and completion of a walking track and picnic area on Gray Drive. The track provides a safe place for the citizens of the Williamston Mill area and surrounding community to walk, she said.
Her hobbies include spending time with her family and grandchildren, involvement and support for volunteer organizations, involvement in the town government and being the voice for the citizens of Williamston.
Williamston resident Gary Bannister is challenging David Harvell for the Ward III council seat.
Bannister, 52, said he has Williamstons financial future in mind and will bring proven leadership and sound judgement to the Town Council.
Bannister is a 1970 graduate of Palmetto High School and graduated from Clemson in 1976 with a degree in civil engineering and building construction.
He completed the required credit hours for a masters degree in business in 1979.
Bannister is a retired officer of the U. S. Military and a retired jumbo jet Captain with a major airline, flying all over the world.
He also worked with Daniel Construction and Duke Power Construction Department as a nuclear power plant engineer.
Bannister said in the business arena, he has been entrusted with millions of dollars in both liquid and non-liquid assets.
In his announcement, Bannister said he will attempt to run a professional, clean, campaign.
Bannister has criticized the current mayor for not answering questions and freedom of information requests he has made.
Win or lose, I will always have Williamstons best interest in mind.
If elected, Bannister said he will try to lead Williamston into the future and help get our town out of the huge financial debt it is in.
Completing her first term as Anderson County Auditor, Anna Marie Brock seeks to continue in that position.
Brock who describes herself as a bookkeeper, not a politician has worked in the auditors office for 26 years and feels that she has a lot of experience and knowledge to offer to the citizens of Anderson County.
She explains that she has taken advantage of much training offered by the state but also has much knowledge you dont learn out of textbooks.
Brock feels that reassessment and the current election have created much confusion about the duties of the auditor.
She explains that the job of the auditor is to know, follow, and implement the laws of the state of South Carolina. This is a statutory, clerical office and doesnt involve any policy making, she says.
The auditor can do nothing with the county budget or the tax levy, Brock says.
A Supreme Court ruling in the 1980s clearly defined the role of the auditor - to certify the tax levy but with no authority to change the levy, Brock explains.
Only the bond levy and the watershed levy are determined by the auditor, Brock explains.
Taxpayers need to understand that there are no real issues just facts and laws in the auditors job, Brock says.
Jackie Hunter, 58, is seeking the Anderson County auditors job.
Hunter said he wants to work to reduce the tax burden on property owners through correct assessments and will work with state legislators to make changes in reassessment and to address other ways to fund local government.
Hunter is a real estate broker with Mell Gerrard Realty. He holds a bachelors of Business Administration degree in Accounting from the University of Georgia and a Masters in Accounting degree from Clemson University.
He and his wife Janis have a daughter Traci; son Jonathan and daughter-in-law Kate.
Hunter said if elected he will work to make sure millage rates for all taxing entities in Anderson County are correct.
Before Tax bills are prepared, I will review all levies to make sure they are correct, he said.
He also said his accounting experience will be put to use examining all financial reports submitted to the Auditors office.
According to Hunter, customer service needs to be improved. I will be in my office daily and will be available to assist citizens in a friendly manner.
Hunter said he will work closely with the County treasurers office to ensure that taxpayers using the county office in Powdersville are served promptly.
Hunter said he will maintain a professional and experienced staff and provide hands-on supervision if elected to the office.
Hunter worked 10 years as the Anderson County Finance Director. During that time he worked with the County Auditor in setting the millage rates. He said he has the expertise to review budgets and audits to ensure accurate millage rates for funds budgeted by local government.
He was the first Anderson County employee to become a S. C. Certified Government Finance Officer. he also served as Anderson County Elections Commission Director.
Hunter said he has 14 years of experience in government and business accounting.
He is a former member of the Government Finance Officers Association of South Carolina and the South Carolina Association of Finance and Data Processing Professionals where he served two terms as president.
He is a treasurer and elder at Central Presbyterian Church; on the Hammond Water Company Board of Directors and Vice-chairman of the Pelzer Rescue Squad Board of Directors.
He is also secretary for the Anderson County Cattlemens Association where he also served as president and vice-president.
Hunter is a member of the Anderson Lions Club and a U. S. Army veteran. He served in Vietnam.
Hunter promises to enjoy public service and to consider the taxpayer to be his employer.
I will work for you making sure tha your tax bills are correct, he said.
Hunter said his office will be friendly and helpful to any taxpayer who needs assistance and promises to be a voice for taxpayers in the Anderson County Courthouse.
Williamston Town Council Ward 4 candidate Otis Scott said if elected, priorities for him are working with the mayor and council to stay within budget without raising taxes and working to reduce spending and still have a quality town.
He said he would also like to see improvements on town streets and job growth in the area.
If elected he will treat the responsibilities of the office different than it has been in the past.
Scott said he will be out in the neighborhood talking with citizens about their concerns and will bring any problems back before council.
Now they have to call, he said. I will go out and check first hand to see if they have problems.
Scott said he would like to see more done for the senior citizens and young people and especially would like to see programs for the youth in the area.
On town finances Scott said, There has to be some tightening of the budget. We will have to look to see if there are places cuts can be made. Even if you have to go without something, he said. You have to stick to the budget.
If you dont stick to the budget, you have no money to pay your bills. You cant borrow your way out of debt, he said.
Scott also said he would like to see more cooperation on council.
I would like to see the mayor and council work more in harmony and put differences aside, he said. They need to make the interests of Williamston a priority and stop bickering back and forth with each other.
Scott said he would like to see more growth and something done with the empty buildings in the town.
He suggested giving a tax break or incentive to get new businesses started, so they wouldnt have to pay high taxes at the start.
We have to do something to get people to come in, he said.
He also encourages the people of Williamston to support local businesses.
I believe in supporting your hometown economy first, he said. If you can buy it in Williamston, you ought to buy it in Williamston.
Scott, 65, is a lifelong resident of Williamston and attends Big Creek Baptist Church. He is married to the former Gail Morgan and has one daughter, Tonya.
At 16 he went to work at Poores Feed and Seed store where he worked for more than 9 years. I learned the importance of hard work and determination, he said.
He worked with two brothers for several contractors in the area and then with South general Construction for 9 years. He worked with Keaton Construction as shop foreman ans sales manager until he retired.
Scott has also been a volunteer for Meals on Wheels and at the Ellenburg Nursing Center.
Jay West is seeking the State Senate District 4 seat currently held by incumbent Billy ODell.
West, 39, is a resident of Donalds, but has ties to the Williamston end of the Senate District.
He is the son of Susan Poore (Lacy) who is a 1962 graduate of Palmetto High School, and the grandson of the late Ed Poore, former supervisor of Anderson County and Dr. John Barr of Piedmont.
His wife Jenni is a public shool teacher at Cherokee Trail K-7 in Donalds.
The Wests have three boys, Jack 13, Brice 10, and Gray 7.
He is an ordained teaching elder in the ARP church.
West is a graduate of Erskine College where he has a Bachelor of Science degree.
He returned to Erskine for his masters and doctorate in seminary, and currently is the vice president of Institutional Relations at Erskine College.
West is the former chairman of the Abbeville Development Board; a member of the Abbeville Memorial Hospital Foundation Board, Founder of the Drummond Center for Statesmanship, a recipient of the 2002 Rotary International Community Service Award, the 2002 Governors Leadership Award for Rural Development and 2002 S. C. Ambassador for Economic Development for Abbeville.
West said jobs being lost and education are top priorities for him if he is elected to serve the citizens of Senate District 4.
Public Education has not been completely funded by the state even though it is under state law.
According to the Education Finance Act which determines the formulas for per pupil cost, state funding is at $382 less per student that the state law requires, he said.
Education is one of the things we can give our children, which cant be taken away, he said.
West said he will propose a group of 15 to 20 teachers to study four states and work with the department of education to compare and make recommendations to legislators on ways to save money.
He said he would support the initiative over three or four years to make sure it works.
West said jobs and job security are also priorities.
Our municipalities have lost too many jobs, he said.
He said he will recruit jobs down I-85 and Hwy. 25 South toward the municipalities in the Senate district.
He said he will target ICAR related support industries in his recruiting.
He said he also wants to begin a made in South Carolina campaign for products made in the state.
No one in South Carolina should be buying Kodak film, he said, when we have a Fuji film plant in the area.
West said he wants products made in the state to have a label indicating they are made in South Carolina.
He said he wants to create revenue for the state by increasing the gross state product by 10 percent.
He said by focusing on State products the economy will create revenues for the state, which in turn creates job security and demand, with revenues going up.
He said he also wants to address the property tax situation in Anderson County.
He said the State is not paying for what they should.
He said he wants to look at a 1cent sales tax on all items except food, medicine and clothing and give a rebate back to counties to help lower property taxes.
West said he has a sense of obligation to the area because his grandparents lived here.
I will do everything I can for the Williamston area, he said.
State House District 9 incumbent Michael Thompson is seeking re-election to the seat he has held since being elected to serve in the house in 2000.
It has been an honor to serve for two terms, the representative said.
Thompson is a lifelong resident of Anderson and a graduate of T. L. Hanna High School.
He holds a degree in political science from the University of South Carolina and works in his familys trucking businesses, Am-Can Transport.
He is a member of Concord Baptist Church and is engaged to be married next June.
He is a member of the Anderson Rotary Club, the Salvation Army Advisory Board, Crisis Ministries board member and an ex officio member of the Anderson YMCA.
Thompson said he wants to continue to promote sound fiscal policy for the state and introduced and supported legislation including the Fiscal Discipline Act to ensure the state remains on solid financial footing.
Thompson has introduced other bills including one providing credit rating protection which helps ensure the States AAA credit rating and the longterm vision of fiscal responsibility.
He was a primary sponsor of house bill 4907, the Credit Protection Act; lead sponsor of bill 4048, which instituted Streamlined Management and Accountable Resources for Teaching (SMART).
He was the lead sponsor on bill 4979, the South Carolina Textile Communities Revitalization Act, which provided tax credits for restoring abandoned textile factories.
He sits on the Labor, Commerce and Industry Committee and the Business and Commerce subcommittee.
He was lead sponsor on bill 4271, a home owners protection bill to freeze property taxes for home owners.
Thompson said he believes in a Better, not bigger, government.
He was the lead sponsor on bill 3424, to set limits on government spending and sponsor of bill 3976, to empower South Carolina Grand Juries to investigate securities fraud.
Thompson said he has recently introduced a bill to protect the states interest in the Savannah River basin and is working with legislators along the basin on the Georgia side to protect the water rights of both areas. Thompson said the water rights will be a big issue in the future.
According to Thompson, education and healthcare will remain priorities for the state and for him.
Thompson said he is for smart funding for our schools which he said includes simplifying funding for education which in turn makes the process more efficient.
In support of education, Thompson was the lead sponsor on bill 5043, the Education Infrastructure Bank, which gave financing flexibility to school districts.
I have worked very hard to represent the interests of House District 9, he said. I have also been very honored to have the opportunity to be of service.
Political newcomer Sue Cheney is running for the S. C. House District 9 seat as a Democrat.
Not a polished politician, Cheney says she decided to run for the office because she feels that the legislature needs more women representatives. Only 12 of the 124 seats in the House of Representatives are currently held by women a poor representation compared to the states female population, Cheney says.
Cheney also felt that voters needed a choice in the election and when no other Democrat stepped forward, Cheney decided to take on the challenge.
Cheney admits that she became interested in politics through her husband Philip who has served on the Anderson City Council for eight years and is the Anderson County Democratic Party Chairman.
Feeling that experience counts, the 58-year-old Cheney explains that she is running for office on her 35 years of life experience as a parent, business owner, teacher and employee. She feels that she has a true understanding of the problems that many people face.
Cheney sees education as one of the primary campaign issues. She generally opposes vouchers and putting parents in charge of education because she feels that this would take away from public schools.
Cheney is also interested in equitable funding for education. Quality public education must be made available to everyone, Cheney says.
Cheney also supports reform for the tax system and would possibly support an increase in tax on cigarettes and sales tax on automobiles.
Tax reforms must be as fair to the poor as they are to the rich, Cheney contends.
Cheney opposes the governors plan to reduce income tax over the next five years and also opposes the cap that is planned on property taxes.
Cheney would like to see big money taken out of elections so that political action groups have less power in the election process while more power is given to the average voter.
Expressing a strong concern for all people, she emphasizes that all people count not just voters.
A native of Nebraska, Cheney has lived in Anderson for 16 years and works at the Montessori School in Anderson.
Douglas Taylor will represent the Libertarian party as a candidate for the S. C. State House of Representatives District 9.
Taylor is a lifelong resident of Williamston and graduated from Palmetto High School in 1975. He is employed by Loom Craft in Belton.
He is the chairman of the Upstate Libertarian Society, vice-chairman of the Anderson County Libertarian and past chairman of the Anderson County Libertarian Party. He is on the Board of Directors of the Gun Owners of South Carolina, an N. R. A. state affiliate.
Taylor said he supports the Stop Taxing Our Property (STOP) statewide group whose goal is a state constitutional amendment to repeal all property taxes, real and personal.
The group proposes the lost funds be replaced with a 3 percent sales tax, repealing all sales tax exemptions and disband all county assessors offices.
It is very important to remember that this is not a tax cut. It is a plan to reduce the size of government. Under the S. T. O. P. plan, the state will take in the same income as now. But we will save up to $300 million by disbanding assessor offices and reducing the number of employees needed to collect property taxes.
Same money, $300 million less spending, he said.
For more information about the Anderson County Libertarian party, go to their website at www.ACLP.US.
Piedmont businessman Dan Rawls is running for election to the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners.
Rawls, of 332 Driftwood Dr., Piedmont, is a former home builder who has held numerous positions on the state and local level.
He said the contacts he has made over the years and his executive leadership and public relations skills will be of benefit in getting things done for the Piedmont area.
He is a member of the Greenville County Multi-hazard mitigation steering committee; 2003-03 Chairman of the S. C. State Housing Finance and Development Authority; Past President of the S. C. Home Builders Association; National Association of Home Builders - Builder of the Year in 1997 and 2002; Member of the National Association of Home Builders; Research Center Board of Directors; Ronald McDonald House Chairman and Board of Directors; Piedmont Lions Club past president and Piedmont Lions Club Lion of the Year 1998-99.
Rawls is a member of Rehoboth Baptist Church and helps deliver meals with Meals on Wheels of Greenville County.
Priorities for Rawls if elected are to improve communications with the citizens of the District; implement professional planning for the future of the district; redevelopment and expansion of the sewer system; continued management of tax dollars in the special purpose district and continued safety of citizens in the Piedmont Fire District.
He said his contacts on the state and Federal level will allow him accessibility and the opportunity to gain support for projects needed in the Piedmont Public Service District.
Rawls said his contacts include state representatives and house members including Congressmen Jim DeMint, Lindsey Graham and Joe Wilson.
Sewer problems will be a priority, he said. Rawls said he hopes to use his contacts as an opportunity to resolve the sewer problems the district faces.
William M. Dickson, 16 Prospect St., Piedmont is seeking a seat on the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners.
Dickson, 51, is married to his wife of 33 years, Lynn (Cox) Dickson. They have one son, David and three grandchildren.
He served on the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners from 1986 to 1998.
He is active volunteer fireman, serving for eight years and a lifelong Piedmont resident.
Dickson said he strived to do things in the best interest of the District when he served and thanked Piedmont for letting him serve during the period.
I promise to do my best, Dickson said, if re-elected to the Board of Commissioners.
Frankie Garrett has lived in Piedmont all his life and wants Piedmont to continue to grow and will do what he can if elected to serve on the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Commissioners.
Garrett hopes to build on what has already been done and improve the sewer system in the community. He emphasizes that he would never vote to raise the millage rate since he feels that senior citizens cannot afford an increase.
Garrett, 67, has owned and operated Garrett Heating and Air Conditioning on Highway 20 for 37 years.
Garrett is a member of the International Order of Oddfellows and Rebekahs and has served as grand master, the highest office in the organization. He has also represented South Carolina for 12 years at the international meeting.
He has three children Terry, Eric, and Lesley Collins- and attends Covenant Presbyterian Church on Highway 86 in Piedmont.
Robert Higgins is seeking a seat on the Piedmont Public Service District Board of Directors.
Higgins is a lifetime resident of Piedmont and has 25 years of public service.
Higgins volunteered and worked with the Piedmont Fire Department and retired with the rank of captain.
Higgins is a volunteer with the Greenville County Sheriffs Department reserve deputy program and is a volunteer with the Greenville County haz-mat response team.
Higgins attended Wren High School and is a member of New Life Foursquare Church in Easley.
The son of Denver Higgins, he is married and has two daughters and two granddaughters.
Marsha Rogers has served on the Piedmont Board of Commissioners for 12 years and has served as chairperson for eight years.
Rogers feels that improving salaries and benefits for the firemen as well as improvements to the fire station and living quarters for the firemen are major accomplishments for the Board of Commissioners during her years of service.
Rogers also feels that moving to a computer system has greatly improved the efficiency and record keeping at the fire department.
Rogers is also proud of the part the board has played in the remodeling of the Piedmont Community Building and the continuing improvements to Pack Park.
So many good things are going on, Rogers says and emphasizes that she hopes to continue to work on improvements for Piedmont.
The long, drawn-out process of redevelopment and expansion of the sewer system is the biggest challenge facing the commissioners in the future, Rogers says.
Rogers graduated from Woodmont High School and has lived in Piedmont all her life. She has three children and four grandchildren who all live in Piedmont. She is currently active in the Booster Club at Wren High School and is a member of Piedmont United Methodist Church.
Michelle Anderson says that she frequently hears residents ask, Why dont we have more in Piedmont?
If we want more in Piedmont, we have to have commissioners that are willing to work and take their seat seriously, Anderson says.
Anderson says that she will push for the service district to take a more active role in Piedmont and utilize the resources available to the community.
Anderson says that she is running for a seat on the Board of Commissioners because she knows that Piedmont has so much potential.
I have met a lot of people in the community that are not satisfied with how things are, and this is the only opportunity we have as residents of Piedmont to make a difference, Anderson says.
Piedmont needs someone who is willing to work for Piedmont and someone who cares about Piedmont and the people who live here. You will not find anyone more committed to trying to put life back into this beautiful community than myself, Anderson says.
Anderson emphasizes that she is not interested in a career in politics and does not intend to run for any other political office. I am interested in the community where I live, she says.
Anderson challenges voters to consider what each candidate has done for Piedmont and to vote for someone who will make a difference.
Regardless of election results, Anderson says that she will continue to work for improvements in Piedmont.
Voters will have the opportunity to decide on two South Carolina Constitutional Amendment questions in the general election next Tuesday.
The amendments address alcoholic minibottles and number of shareholders allowed on agricultural property to keep a four percent assessment ratio.
Question number one - Must Section 1, Article VIII-A of the constitution of this State, relating to the powers of the General Assembly pertaining to alcoholic liquors and beverages, be amended so as to authorize the General Assembly to determine the size of containers in which alcoholic liquors or beverages are sold and to delete the provision requiring the sale of alcoholic liquors for consumption on the premises only in sealed containers of two ounces or less?
Explanation - This proposed amendement authorizes the General Assembly to establish the size of containers in which alcoholic liquors and beverages may be sold in this State and deletes the requirement that alcoholic liquors and beverages sold by licensed establishments for on premises consumption must be in sealed containers of two ounces or less (minibottles). Under this proposal the General Assembly may provide by law for size of containers from which restaurants and other licensed establishments may sell alcoholic liquors and beverages for on premises consumption.
Question number two - Must Section 1, Article X of the Constitution of this State relating to the classification of property and applicable assessment ratios for purposes of property tax be amended so as to delete the specific limit of ten shareholders as the most shareholders a corporation may have for it to be eligible for a four percent assessment ratio on its agricultural real property and provide that the General Assembly shall provide by law the maximum number of shareholders a corporation may have to be eligible for the four percent assessment ratio?
Explanation - The state constitution currently allows a four-percent property tax assessment ratio for agricultural land owned by a corporation with ten or fewer shareholders. A yes vote will allow the General Assembly to set a shareholder limit by law. A no vote will keep the current limit of ten or fewer shareholders.