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11 candidates run for 3 Surfside Beach seats

Eleven candidates have filed for three seats in the Surfside Beach Town Council's nonpartisan April election.

The candidates include an incumbent, a former council member, concerned citizens and newcomers.

The candidates who filed by Friday's deadline are: Scott Anderson; Anna "Ann" F. Dodge; Rebecca Jean Hiatt; E. Shannon Kirk; Chad A. Perrino; Bill Rempfer; Marty Rhoades; Doug Samples; Jason R. Scully; Rod Smith; and Randle Stevens.

"I am very happy that we have 11 candidates who have decided to file," said incumbent Councilman Samples, 56. "It shows there is a lot of interest in service to the town."

Samples, a retired department director from the Waccamaw Regional Council of Governments, is serving his second term on council and is seeking to retain his seat.

With three seats up for election and only one incumbent running, it guarantees at least two new people will join the council. Sammy Truett and Joe Martin are not seeking re-election.

Among those hoping to be elected April 6, is Dodge, 73, who was the chairperson of Concerned Citizens for Surfside Beach. Dodge said she has resigned the post to run for office.

"There are seats open and I feel I may have something to contribute," Dodge said. "I have a lot of love for the town. I believe in open government as much as possible. I believe the government is responsible to the populace of this town."

She said in the past, information wasn't being shared with residents. But since the concerned citizens group was formed, the council and town have made some progress.

Dodge once served as the auditor for Snyder County in Pennsylvania.

Another candidate with experience in public service is Smith. He has been a member of the town's planning commission for the last three years and also served on the Horry County Solid Waste Authority.

Smith said he is running because he loves Surfside Beach and wants to serve the town's residents.

"[I am] a conservative that believes in clean, honest and sober government. [I] will work to keep the small town family friendly atmosphere in Surfside Beach," he said in a statement.

Anderson, 38, who owns and operates Atlantis Pools in Murrells Inlet, is a political newcomer.

"I've got some concerns about the direction Surfside is going," he said. "I want to do my part to make our community a better place."

He has lived in town for three years.

"At this point, one of my biggest concerns is that some of the laws are antiquated and need to be revised," he said. "I have three children and I want to make sure our community continues to be a good place to grow up in."

Another newcomer is Perrino, 41, regional director for Jacob Dean Mortgage Inc.

"I love Surfside. I think it's a great town," he said. "I think we need to be fiscally responsible during this time in the market. We need to take a double look at the money we spent with current and future projects."

He said money spent on special events should be scrutinized to see if it would be better served saving jobs. He was also concerned about how future property reassessments would affect town revenue. Property values were hit hard during the recession.

Scully, 33, a sales manager for East Coast Volkswagen, is concerned about economic development.

"The main reason I'm running is to help bring businesses back to Surfside [Beach]," he said. "We need to entice restaurants and businesses to come set up shop. Unfortunately, for the past few years we've had businesses leave Surfside and not enough coming in."

Voters will also see some familiar faces on the ballot.

Stevens, Hiatt and Rempfer have all run for council seats before, and Hiatt served on the council from 2004 to 2008.

Rempfer ran in 2008 and lost in a run-off election to Councilwoman Vicki Blair. Rempfer, 59, owns DeFalco's Automotive and Towing in Surfside Beach.

"My family and I love this town and are concerned with the direction it is heading," he said. "I have attended some of the council meetings in the past and it concerns me when I see current council persons talking down to residents of this town at a council meeting."

He is also concerned that some of the town's laws are tough on property owners.

"Some of the building codes are too strict, preventing property owners from making any small changes on their properties," he said. "I believe there should be ordinances to protect our town from certain changes but too much I feel is bad for a small town like Surfside. I want to see this town grow and prosper because I plan to spend the rest of my life here with my family."