Wednesday, April 2, 2014
Four of five Goose Creek City Council candidates vying for three at-large council seats gathered at a forum Monday night to introduce themselves and answer citizens’ questions.
Incumbents Kimo Esarey and Mark Phillips attended along with newcomers Debra Green-Fletcher and Gerald Stinson. Victoria Morrell could not attend because of an unavoidable medical appointment. An introductory statement was read on her behalf.
The Goose Creek 9-12 Project organized the meeting at the Berkeley Electric Co-op building off Springhall Drive.
One attendee asked what could be done to expand recreation, adding she felt the traveling soccer team was not supported enough.
“We have expanded soccer fields near the reservoir,” Esarey said. “We don’t support a lot of traveling teams. They have to raise their own funds.”
“We probably extended the life of the Casey Center for five years,” Phillips said. “Council has not sat down and made a commitment to anything.”
“There’s a big need for a swimming facility,” Green-Fletcher said. “That is something I would like to see. The other goal of mine is a playground for persons of all disabilities. I know there are federal grants.”
“Our golf course is a good example,” Stinson said. “We need to let people know we own a pool and tennis courts. It’s a shame my son has to go to Mt. Pleasant for a prom.”
Stinson added the golf course needs a reception facility.
Another citizen asked what will candidates do to attract new businesses.
Green-Fletcher said it would be nice to have a roundtable discussions with bankers, real estate agents, and Berkeley County representatives.
Esarey said they need to get their face in front of people so they know where Goose Creek is. The city doesn’t have the sites to bring in a lot of industry because it has Alcoa on one side and the Navy base on the other. The city is not a destination, but Esarey added if it had a mall it might be.
Phillips said the city isn’t quite there yet to draw in restaurants. The role of government is to create the environment where people want to come. Having more fire stations will help businesses have lower insurance rates.
Stinson said the city has to be proactive and partner with people. He said they have to be about doing something to recruit small businesses. He added the city needs to make sure it is an easy process to bring in small businesses and there needs to be a group to work with them to make them successful in their first year.
Another citizen asked how long it had been since they read the U.S. Constitution and where they stood on the city generating revenue as opposed to private enterprise.
Green-Fletcher said she had not read the Constitution in a while, and everyone would like to have an event building but those are difficult to run and would require a full-time staff member.
Esarey said he last read the complete Constitution in eighth grade. He said there is a fine line between government and private enterprise, but not a lot of private companies would build and maintain a hiker/biker trail.
Phillips said he has a copy of the Constitution on his dresser and read it a few years ago, adding it is difficult reading. He said the government should stay as small as it can and there is a fine line.
Stinson said he had not read the Constitution in a long time but took an oath to defend it. He said the city needs to be proactive to bring small businesses and needs to brainstorm. Government should not be intrusive and needs to be kept as small as possible. Government needs to protect the people but needs money to do things.
Morrell’s phrase “building a better Goose Creek together” means taking permanent action and keeping revenue, growth and jobs within the city, she wrote. She wants to balance economic development in the city, according to her statement read by a supporter at Monday’s event.