Friday, May 23, 2014
Berkeley County Supervisor incumbent Dan Davis sat down with the Gazette and voters May 21 for coffee and a discussion of his candidacy during the second Coffee with the Candidates at the Corner Cafť in Moncks Corner.
Davis is seeking his third term as county supervisor. He is one of three candidates vying for the Republican nomination during the June 10 primary.
His fellow Republican candidates are a part of the Coffee with the Candidates series. Moncks Corner Mayor Bill Peagler took part in the series May 14, and businessman Jerry Beckley will participate in the final installment of the series 6:30 p.m. May 28 at the Corner Cafť.
The following questions came from Gazette reporter Lindsay Street and the audience.
Why are you seeking a third term as supervisor?
I thoroughly enjoyed the first and second terms. Itís taken some time to get some of my priorities going, though. We are just getting started with the one-cent sales tax transportation projects. We need to renew that referendum this coming fall. We also have several economic development projects in the works. There is still a lot of to be done.
Your first race was a three-way race, where you ended up in a runoff and won by just 2,000 votes. Youíre up against two opponents this election cycle. How will you get out the vote?
I hope the successes weíve had will earn me more votes. People feel like weíre moving in the right direction.
What is the first thing youíd like to accomplish in your third term?
Despite the fact weíve had success with economic development, Iím disappointed we havenít been able to provide jobs into the rural areas. We continue to work on sites in the rural areas, like in St. Stephen. We just havenít been able to bring that home yet.
What is the big hindrance to rural jobs?
Itís sometimes infrastructure, but sometimes itís workforce. Some of itís distance from the port. Large industries worry a lot about having an adequate workforce in a rural either. A better educated workforce is needed, but in some cases itís just shear numbers. Hiring 600 employees in an area like St. Stephen would be difficult.
Whatís the best way to deal with the Goose Creek intersection of Highway 52 and Redbank Road?
We need an overpass like what they did with Highway 17 and Coleman Boulevard in Mount Pleasant. Thatís the only way to deal with a busy intersection like that. Itís the third or fourth worst intersection in the state. But DOT funds are so small it can take many, many years for it to be fixed. Thatís why we need to transportation tax referendum renewed. We will have a list of projects on the ballot and this will be included.
Legislators have proposed giving counties state roads and then restoring the local government fund. What are your thoughts?
I donít like it. The local government fund was enacted by law, and lawmakers eliminated that when times got tough. I worry that if they give us the state roads, they might later revoke the local government fund again. There are a lot of things the county is responsible for handling. Weíre operating with $3 million of our money kept at the state level. We donít know if weíll ever get that back. Our legislature has a bad reputation when it comes to the local government fund.
There is an undeniable split on council, and the majority does not favor you. Can it be fixed?
I donít know if it will stay that way. The split is due to politics, not decisions that are in the best interest of the county. One thing that still bothers me is the failed purchase of the nursery on Highway 52 for economic development. We think weíre making good recommendations in the interest of the county. I got to believe the public gets tired of those putting personal animosity over whatís best for the county. When I first won this seat, I made some enemies when I ran against them and won.
Can Berkeley County handle another explosion in growth seen prior to the recession?
Right now, Berkeley County is the fastest growing county in the state, 35th fastest in the nation. The biggest issues with growth is transportation, water, and sewer. We have transportation under control with the penny sales tax. For sewer, we just opened more sewer capacity at the landfill and other plants still have capacity. For water, we have a project underway to expand our water needs. We have the ability to grow. We will not be overwhelmed. Everything we have now anticipates growth.
Should Berkeley County reopen the Goose Creek office?
Our online services work well. The only problem is the credit card service fee, and the solution to that is putting the check in an envelope and mailing it for 43 cents. The Goose Creek satellite office did not work well. For that type of office to succeed it has to be full-service, and at multiple locations throughout the county, not just Goose Creek. And now youíre talking about growing government.
In that same vein, should the county rotate meetings in different locations like Dorchester County does between Summerville and St. George?
The county used to do that, but now we have an expensive camera system thatís not portable. We kind of solved moving meetings around and increasing transparency by having the meetings stream live online.
What is your greatest weakness?
When I look around the county, I see prosperity in the southern part of it, but in other parts of the county not so much. There, pockets of poverty still exist because they donít have jobs to get. It bothers me that we arenít able to be more prosperous. But weíre going to continue working on that.
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