Election 2012

Three vie for Georgetown County Council District 5 seat

akelley@thesunnews.comOctober 9, 2012 

  • Austin Beard Age | 62 Address | 603 S. Farr Avenue, Andrews Occupation | Bank manager Previous elected office | County Council, one term Civic Organizations | Georgetown County Planning Commission, Georgetown County Habitat for Humanity, Georgetown County Alcohol and Drug Abuse Commission Military | none Family | wife Susan, son Wade Email | abeard2@sc.rr.com C.C. “Bubba” Grimes III Age | 59 Address | 298 Glass Avenue, Andrews Occupation | Real estate broker, property manager Previous elected office | none Civic organizations | Board of Realtors, Bethel United Methodist Church Military | none Family | divorced, one daughter Email or website | bubbaforcouncil@bubbagrimes.com Ben Dunn Age | 73 Address | 101 South Farr Avenue, Andrews Occupation | Retired, operator of Dunn’s Variety Store with his family Previous Elected office | none Civic Organizations | none Family | Wife Beverly, sons Benjie, Brian and Brad Email | bdunn002@sc.rr.com

Two petition candidates are running against the one-term incumbent for the District 5 seat on the Georgetown County Council.

District 5 covers most of the northwest sector of Georgetown County, including part of the town of Andrews and some of the Pleasant Hill community.

The race includes Republicans Austin Beard and C.C. “Bubba” Grimes and Democrat Ben Dunn. All three live in the Andrews area.

Beard was seated on council four years ago and is most proud of the construction of Eight Oaks Park, one of several new parks included in the county’s capital projects plan. If elected for a second term, that plan is one Beard said the county should complete. It includes more parks, libraries and facilities, like an expanded detention center.

Grimes, however, said construction of parks should be halted because there are too many already.

Dunn said continuation of that plan will likely go hand in hand with the capital projects sales tax. He declined comment on whether he favors the plan or the proposed tax and said he’ll leave that to the people.

“It’s on the ballot,” he said. “[No matter] how the people feel about it, I can accept it.”

Grimes, who has not held a political office before, is opposed to the tax and any other new taxes. His campaign is centered on the impact fee that was imposed three years ago on new construction. The fee goes toward the capital projects plan and pays for costs that increase because of new developments.

A real estate broker for Century 21, Grimes said the impact fee, which is $3,844 for a single family home, is too expensive and especially hard on longtime residents who want to build a house on family property.

Beard said he supports the proposed sales tax option, saying taxes haven’t been raised and the county is struggling to provide services requested by residents. As a council member supported the impact fee.

He said he “struggled with the idea,” but eventually supported it as a way to balance the burden new construction has on existing infrastructure.

“I just felt like the people of my area would be paying for that growth, but not seeing a benefit of it,” he said.

Dunn, like Grimes, is new to the political arena as a candidate, but served in Georgetown County for 34 years including 14 with the coroner’s office and 20 years as a magistrate judge.

Jobs are the center of his platform.

“I would like to be known as one of the main councilmen to have brought new jobs in and to upgrade the living of the families in Georgetown County,” Dunn said. “Progress is what I’m looking for.”

All three candidates agree that businesses need to be brought to Georgetown County and incentives could help market the area.

Dunn suggested a tax relief for a period of years, and said the western part of the county can sustain industrial businesses.

Zane Wilson contributed to this report.

Contact AMANDA KELLEY at 626-0381.

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