Vice Chairman Chuck Moates is the only member of Greenwood County Council who has opposition on the ballot.
The District 4 Republican is facing petition candidate Kay Self.
“I am running because the council has embarked on a number of major capital projects,” Moates said.
Moates, 76, said one project that he wants to see started and completed is the development of the former Civic Center into a state-of-the-art athletic complex.
“I think that is going to be a significant improvement to the parks and recreational opportunities in Greenwood County,” Moates said. “I want to see that project completed.”
Self, 52, said her creativity, passion for collaboration and experience in economic and community development are assets she would bring to council.
“I feel like I can bring a new fresh perspective to county council,” Self said.
She said it was an honor to have friends and family members in the district urge her to run for public office.
“I do feel that I can make a difference,” Self said. “I want the opportunity to be the change for Greenwood.”
Self has called Greenwood home for more than 22 years. She is the executive director of the Foundation for a Greater Greenwood County, the 501©(3) charitable arm of the now-dissolved Greenwood Partnership Alliance where she served as director of investor relations and community development for nine years.
A graduate of Clemson University with a degree in language and international trade, Self previously served as executive director of the SC Festival of Flowers through her involvement with the Greenwood SC Chamber of Commerce.
Self and her husband, Furman, have been married for 27 years and have two children, Coleman and Elizabeth.
Self is no stranger to politics. She ran her husband’s campaign for state House District 13 in 2002, narrowly losing to Gene Pinson in the Republican primary runoff. Pinson went on to win the general election.
Moates came to Greenwood in the late 1970s when he accepted a position as minister of education and administration at First Baptist Church of Greenwood.
“Really, that’s when I fell in love with Greenwood,” Moates said in an interview in September.
Moates served for 10 years in Greenwood before accepting a position as the executive minister at Smoke Rise Baptist in Stone Mountain, Georgia. He and his wife, Alice-Ann, returned to Greenwood when he retired in 2006. The couple has two children, David and Laura Lee.
Moates has obtained several degrees: a bachelor’s degree in English from Florida State University, a master’s degree in religious education from Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, a second master’s degree in education and counseling from the University of West Georgia, and a Master of Divinity and Doctor of Ministry from Erskine Theological Seminary.
Moates decided to run for council when District 4 incumbent Dee Compton ran for state senate in 2008. Moates won a four-way primary and defeated the Democratic candidate, Chuck McDevitt, in the general election.
“Greenwood County has a lot to offer,” Moates said. “We have a very business-friendly community.”
As previously reported, Greenwood County and the Chamber along with the City of Greenwood, Uptown Greenwood and Discover Greenwood will work together as a consortium to address the facets of economic development.
“I think you are putting a lot of different players on the field,” Moates said.
He added the Chamber should have always been a key player in economic development.
“My vision for Greenwood is to have economic prosperity for all,” Self said.
Self said her vision includes elements such as increased average wages, workforce housing, a vibrant Uptown, working on crime and litter and having a cooperative vision.
“It’s a community effort,” Self said. “It’s a partnership amongst us all.”
She said working on workforce development with Piedmont Technical College and Lander University is critical.
“I want to see Greenwood win,” Self said.
COVID-19 and mask ordinances
“Masks are effective,” Moates said. “This COVID thing is dangerous.”
Moates, a supporter of the mask ordinance that failed to receive enough votes in July to pass, said he listened to the medical community and the hospital in making his determination to support masks.
“I rely upon science,” Moates said.
Moates said the health and safety of county residents is a core responsibility of government.
“I’m proud of Greenwood for how we have stepped up as a community and embraced wearing a mask to protect ourselves and others,” Self said.
For any future mask ordinances, Self said she would have to assess the situation.
“I have to evaluate it,” Self said.
While she wears a mask, she said it’s a personal decision.
Protests of Confederate monuments have led to some calling for the repeal or modification of the South Carolina Heritage Act, a compromise from 2000 that brought down the Confederate flag from the Statehouse dome and requires a supermajority in the Legislature to sign off on removing any war-related monument on public property.
Some of the proposals would have counties make the decision to keep or remove monuments.
“The state Legislature has to make a decision on the Heritage Act,” Moates said.
Until the authority resides with the counties, it would be premature to speculate on what a future council would do, Moates said.
“We really won’t have that situation until the state changes their position on the Heritage Act,” Self said.
Self said she would carefully review the issue if it comes up.
Capital Project Sales Tax in 2024?
The Capital Project Sales Tax, a 2016 initiative that increased the sales tax rate of Greenwood County by 1% to pay for 27 different capital projects, will sunset during the next term for District 4.
“I think we need to evaluate that,” Self said.
She said the county will need to look at the status of projects.
“I’m not for taxes but we have done a lot of great things for our community through the Capital Project Sales Tax,” Self said.
Moates said he wasn’t aware of any potential projects on the horizon for another installment of capital projects but thinks the CPST is a good tool.
“I think it has been a good vehicle for us to fund the projects that we see going on around us now without having to raise people’s property taxes or if we didn’t do that we wouldn’t have the funds to do these projects,” Moates said.
Moates said he likes the provisions of the CPST because it has a time limit of 7 years.
He said 40% of the revenue generated comes from residents of other counties coming to Greenwood County and spending their money.
The general election is Nov. 3.
Retired West Side Baptist Church pastor Hal Lane received the Order of the Palmetto on Sunday.
“Pastors deserve our thanks,” said state Rep. John McCravy, who presented the award. “They are there at the worst times for us.”
McCravy described Lane as “a pastor of pastors.”
Lane, who was the pastor at West Side for 29 years, spent more than 40 years in the ministry.
“He led this church for 29 years,” McCravy said. “Brought it to a better location.”
Lane was vice president of the South Carolina Baptist Convention from 1999-2000 before serving as president of the association from 2003-2004. He served on the board for the Greenwood Crisis Pregnancy Center, now known as Crossroads Pregnancy Center, and served as president of the Abbeville Baptist Association, now known as the Lakelands Baptist Association.
“You’ve lived a long time, everything has changed names,” McCravy said jokingly.
Lane graduated with a bachelor’s degree in English from the University of South Carolina in 1974 and a Master of Theology from Dallas Theological Seminary in 1978.
“I’m honored today to present this award on behalf of the governor to Rev. Hal Lane,” McCravy said.
The attendees of the award presentation gave a standing ovation to Lane.
West Side Baptist Church’s lead pastor, Kyle Richter, said he talked to McCravy about honoring Lane over a round of golf last year. Richter said he went back to his office and wrote a letter to Gov. Henry McMaster.
“Kyle and I and some others recommend him for the Order of the Palmetto,” McCravy said.
The Order of the Palmetto is the highest civilian award for service in the state. McCravy said the process is strict and an independent nonpartisan board reviews the application. He said McMaster reviews the recommendations in detail.
Lane thanked a number of people for the award, including McMaster.
“I want to thank him for this award and for his leadership and his courageous stand on many issues,” Lane said.
Lane spoke about the separation of church and state. He said he believes the founding fathers didn’t intend for the church not to have an impact on the state but rather the state not have an effect on the church. He thanked McCravy for his representation in the statehouse.
Lane said he shares the honor with many people in attendance.
“I share this honor with you,” Lane said. “I could not have done it without you, thank you.”
The race for Abbeville mayor is one of the busiest races in the area, with Mayor Santana Delano Freeman facing three challengers: Trey Edwards, Joshua Baughman and Eric Delgado.
Freeman touts his 20 years of public service as an asset for the city.
Freeman said his focus during his first term as mayor was stability. The council lost half its members. Now, the city has all its positions filled, including a city manager.
During his tenure, he said the city has improved infrastructure through work on the water and sewer lines and improving customer service. Water projects include Mills Street, which is under construction, and McGowan Street, which is in the planning stage, he said. Work also is being done on the sewer plant. The city won’t stop on the water system work until everyone has new water lines.
He said one of the city’s accomplishments is establishing an economic development position devoted to creating opportunities in the city. The police department is fully staffed and the fire department has reached a good ISO rating, which is resulting in lower homeowner insurance rates for residents. A first responder program is in place which will let the fire department respond to all 911 calls.
Plans during a second term include improving communication with the city through a “town hall” schedule of meetings. The goal is to counter people getting information through secondhand sources or by assumption, he said. People will be able to ask questions and get answers.
One of his goals is increasing the quality of life.
“I want Abbeville to be a place millennials will want to come back to. To attract young people, Abbeville has to be a special place,” Freeman said.
An example is the renovation of the Opera House, he said, adding that he hopes the city can diversify entertainment while holding onto shows featured in the past.
“We had more going on with projects in the last 3½ years than in than last decade, with $5.4 million in grant funding,” Freeman said.
Progress is a result of city’s leadership as a whole, he said. It’s been a team effort.
“Our decisions affect over 5,000 citizens every day ... so we have to make good ones,” Freeman said.
He said he considers himself “a professional at all times.”
“Voters will get a 20-year incumbent and someone who cares about the city,” Freeman said.
Eric Delgado wants to be the mayor of Abbeville, but he doesn’t want to do the job alone.
He calls on people in the community to work to make things better. The government doesn’t have to do everything, he said.
“Basically, I want to empower the community,” Delgado said.
Sometimes people say, “Abbeville will never change.” That’s not true, he said. What’s true is that Abbeville can’t change if people don’t vote for change.
The Opera House is an issue Delgado is interested in. He thinks the city needs to form an official board like Newberry, which he said is when a board makes sense.
Should the city manager and administration lead arts and cultural events? Is that something they really understand?
“We need to stop flying by the seat of our pants and put the future of the Opera House in the hands of the key stakeholders that matter the most: our community,” he said. “We need checks and balances and for me the best way to do is to form an official city-sanctioned 501©(3) nonprofit organization that is overseen and composed of a board of community volunteers, the city manager and the mayor.”
A 501©(3) run by community volunteers would save the city money (the city wouldn’t have to pay salaries), provide transparency, and protect the Opera House’s integrity by placing it in the hands of the people that best understand it.
Openness also is an issue for Delgado. He said development of a city dashboard to make information more available to residents is one of his priorities. He also expressed concern about the use of executive sessions at council meetings.
Some members of council don’t have contact information available. “I want to make all information as transparent as much as is legally possible,” Delgado said.
“I’m not anyone’s close friend. I’m a military guy, I’m a straight-shooter. I don’t have any special interests, except the welfare of the city,” Delgado said.
Trey Edwards is not shy about working hard and taking the initiative. He has ideas for Abbeville and is ready to implement them if elected mayor.
Edwards ran for mayor four years ago and then ran for and won the District 3 Council seat. He has served for 2 1/2 years.
Improving the city’s appearance is a concern for Edwards, who expressed a desire to develop an ordinance to hold building owners and landlords responsible for the condition of their properties.
One example involved Edwards taking the initiative to cut overgrown grass at an apartment complex with his own equipment. Edwards said the next day, the owner of the complex called to thank him for his effort. The next day, workers were on site fixing the grounds.
“We, the mayor and the council, should be ashamed that we allowed it to get that way,” Edwards said.
An unsafe environment is not appealing to outsiders or anyone considering relocation, he said.
About 22 buildings around Court Square are vacant, he said, adding that he wants to pursue grants for building improvements, such as building facades. He lauded the work that has been done on properties on the Square.
Regarding economic development, everybody is waiting on a “Hail Mary” play for jobs, he said. The city has lost CSX and textile operations. As a result, a lot of people are going to Greenwood. Edwards said he wants to bring in small industries. He also wants to work with all local business owners to promote and develop their businesses, not just the ones on Court Square.
Edwards touted experience of nearly 28 years in construction as qualifications. In his work, he has traveled up and down the Eastern Seaboard and spent 2 1/2 years in Mexico working on a project.
“I see what works and I’ve seen what people tried and didn’t work,” he said.
“I talk, I listen and I follow up to make sure everything gets done,” Edwards said. “I grew up here, my heart is in it (Abbeville) and I want to see it succeed.”
Infrastructure is a big issue in Abbeville and Josh Baughman wants to take it on if he is elected mayor.
Experience in public service arose from serving from 2012-17 on the Abbeville County Council and since 2017 on the Greater Abbeville Chamber of Commerce as president of the board of directors.
Baughman said he was 25 when he was elected to the council. “I had a different perspective on how our form of government works. You don’t anticipate how slow it actually works.”
Training from the Municipal Association of South Carolina taught him how government works, such as budgeting and the role of elected officials.
His first two years on the council were an eye-opener, he said. Changes included working on per diems and payments made to council in lieu of insurance. The payments were canceled, he said.
Sometimes, there is a lack of communication about the council’s operations that results in information not getting to citizens in a timely manner, he said. During his term on the council, social media was not used. These days, information moves much more quickly. Baughman vowed to use all the platforms he can to make sure information gets to citizens and to boost transparency.
One example of getting information was the council’s work on the use of roll carts. Baughman said he mailed 350 letters to District 7 residents on the issue and requested input. He received about 180 responses, 74 in support of the plan and 30 against it.
One of Baughman’s goals is development of the city’s parks. There is a lot of green space in Abbeville, but only three parks have playground equipment. “That equipment is something I played on,” Baughman said. “It’s got to be at least 30 years old.”
He has videos of various parks in Abbeville. They show metal equipment. Some, he said, have sharp edges. In one video, a tree seems to be growing directory in front of a park bench.
Baughman said he recalled playing at some of the parks, adding that he hates to see that these kids don’t have that opportunity. The parks should be safe, welcoming and have new equipment.
Repairing city parks could be done with funds from the city’s hospitality tax, he said. It was created to develop parks and tourism.
“Youths and children deserve that support. As a parent and every parent I’ve talked to have said they would love to see updates to the parks,” he said.
He recalled reading a study that indicated that updated parks can raise the quality of life. “If we want to attract more homeowners into our town, then we have to start increasing the quality of life for all residents,” Baughman said.
Infrastructure updates involve developing a master plan for the city. Abbeville has an aging infrastructure. Waterlines are made of iron, are 100 years old and are still in use, he said. The city has 82 miles of waterlines. City residents occasionally have to deal with brown water, especially after times when lines are flushed when rust and particulates break off from the pipes.
Baughman’s goal for a master plan calls for hitting critical areas at a rate of 5% a year for the next 20 years. He admitted he is unsure if the cost for such a project has been determined.
Funds for work on water systems are available from community development block grants to low-interest loans, he said.
“I’ve lived here all of my life; I’m invested here and our business is here,” Baughman said. “My family is here and I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.”