Heitzler reflects on election, looks ahead

  • Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Stefan Rogenmoser/Gazette Mayor Michael Heitzler (left) speaks to voters near the end of the line on election day.

Goose Creek Mayor Michael Heitzler said he was not surprised but humbled by the mayoral election results. He called this a watershed election for the city in lower Berkeley County.

“I recognized most of the faces that came to the polls,” Heitzler said. “I had maybe 1,000 short conversations with people who came to the polls.

“I thought the turnout was expected. I was surprised that the line got so long and disappointed they had to wait so long. I had so many people come up to tell me they had to leave because they had to wait 25 minutes.

“So many folks turned around in the parking lot. A lot of people told me they had to leave.

“I was disappointed it got up to a 40 minute wait. There’s elderly people and they may not be able to stand 40 minutes. I was pleased to see so many people but didn’t want to see them wait.”

The city normally has a five percent voter turnout but this year’s was nearly 13 percent.

Heitzler added that the town meetings he hosts every two weeks where residents of specific neighborhoods are invited have about a five percent turnout.

He said he would continue to meet with different neighborhoods and continue to knit Goose Creek together.

“I think the people in Goose Creek realize this was a watershed moment in the city’s history and they wanted to make sure the turn was in the right direction,” Heitzler said. “They wanted to keep on the course. We’re going to persist with the strategic plan. There is nothing new.

“Sometimes folks try to portray ideas as new but everything is in our strategic plan. We want the small town character to be preserved in Goose Creek.

“We want meeting places and safe neighborhoods connected to each other and central places. We want people to be able to connect with their elected officials.

“There’s no big issues,” Heitzler said. “The most important issue on the immediate horizon is, I’m looking forward to swearing in the new council member and returning council members.”

Heitzler said Monday he met with the Berkeley, Charleston, Dorchester Council of Governments executive board, which he sits on. He said they coordinate federal and state money that comes into the area and added that Goose Creek is on the cusp of development in the next 10 years.

“It’s going to be a bigger challenge to control the development, not go out and get it,” Heitzler said. “I hope we can maintain a nice, steady three-percent growth rate. We’ll be communicating with our economic consultant.”

He said the city has an outstanding government that reaches into every subdivision and virtually every street.

This reach will be used to develop the strategic plan.

“I was really proud of the theme I ran with,” Heitzler said.

“I accepted no financial donations at all. Nobody has any expectations from me.

“It was very tempting to take donations but I did not.

“I accepted no donations from developers, or CEOs of the area or any kind of special interest groups.

“I feel quite liberated moving forward.

“I used all my own money. I have no obligations to anybody.”

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