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2018 primaries: Get to know your Horry County Council candidates

Horry County council.
Horry County council. jlee@thesunnews.com

Along with primary elections for gubernatorial and congressional candidates, there are races for party nominations for Horry County Council chair, District 2 and District 7. There are also several elections for Horry County's school board. The party primary election day is June 12.

While there are many issues being debated in the election, this voter guide serves to introduce you to candidates in contested primary elections. The responses were submitted via email by each candidate and edited for grammar, content and size.

Council chair Republican primary

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Mark Lazarus (incumbent) - lazarusforchair.com

Age: 57

Profession: Business owner and operator, Broadway Grand Prix, Myrtle Waves & Wild Water & Wheels

Lived in Horry County: 42 years

On Growth: There’s no doubt Horry County is growing. I believe the key to success is planned growth, which is something we stress on council. Moving forward, I’m going to continue working to enhance our storm water drainage system, and I will also continue working to find ways to hire more public safety personnel. I’m proud of the additional 40 million in new investment the county has experienced over the last four years, and I’ll continue working to those ends.

Unique skills and insights: Over the years, I’ve worked extremely hard to build my business here in Horry County and provide a quality experience to all my customers. That didn’t happen overnight and it wasn’t easy; it took leadership, perseverance, innovative thinking and the ability to problem solve. My experience in business has taught me a great deal and has helped me to more effectively work through the demands of being chairman.

Situation when a tax raise might be necessary: My approach to the issue of taxes is to always look first within the existing budget. Let’s first see if we can’t find the revenue we need – maybe there’s a better way to perform an operation or maybe there’s an area we can cut. After those avenues are exhausted, it could be necessary in some rare cases to look at other options. With that said, as our population continues to grow, I think it’s reasonable to expect revenue to grow as well, and I believe with careful budgeting and management we can help offset the need for tax increases.

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Johnny Gardner - johnnycanhelp.com

Age: 55

Profession: Lawyer and self-employed

Lived in Horry County: I was born and raised in Horry County and have lived here my entire life except for when away at USC Law School and away in the Army – 82nd Airborne Division.

On growth: It is not as simple as whether growth is good or bad. Growth increases the tax base, but also places new demands for government goods and services. What is not good is continually expecting the taxpayers in Garden City or Carolina Forest, for example, to pay for the infrastructure and services needed for new developments on Hwy 90, Hwy 905 or other currently undeveloped areas. We must insist that the developers pay their fair share of the costs of new roads, storm water infrastructure, police and fire stations, recreation facilities and libraries needed to support the new residences they build and profit from.

Unique skills and insights: I am an attorney, which means I understand that negotiation and compromise are often needed to arrive at a fair solution for all parties in an issue. I have been an Infantry platoon leader, company executive officer, and General’s Staff officer in the 82nd Airborne Division and I understand the true meaning of leadership and how to create a team atmosphere to accomplish goals. If elected to county council, I will lead by the motto I learned in the Army, “Mission First, Troops Always”, which means you concentrate on accomplishing your mission while always looking out for the welfare of the people who work for you such as our first responders and other county employees.

Situation when a tax raise might be necessary: As a conservative, I believe taxes are only a consideration when every other option has been explored and eliminated for one reason or another. I have said “Public Safety, Priority One, Day One.” What I mean by that is that sufficient staffing with competitive salaries of our police, fire and EMS personnel should be the first priority of council when every budget is considered.

District 2 Republican Primary

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Bill Howard (incumbent) - www.votebillhoward.com

Age: 67

Profession: Business owner - built and operated multiple restaurants, founder of a bank, co-owner of Alabama Theatre, owned 2 ocean front hotels, land developer. Self- employed since 17.

Lived in Horry County: 51 years

On Growth: It would be a very good thing if Infrastructure and public safety was where they needed to be. Residential needs to slow down until we can catch up with these important issues.

Unique skills and insights: The experience that I have gained from the past four years on Horry County Council is definitely a plus, all the experience that I have from the past 51 years of building my own businesses helps me understand the needs of the people and the county.

Situation when a tax raise might be necessary: We would possibly have to increase taxes if growth stopped keeping up with increases in expenses. We have not raised taxes in the past three years because of the rapid growth of population in our county. We were still able to give raises and to add positions to our public safety. In addition, all county employees received raises for the past three years. State-mandated increase in retirement contributions and increases in insurance costs could force an increase in taxes if growth falls or flattens. Human resource costs are approximately 70 percent of our expenses so increases there have a major impact.

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Dean Pappas - www.facebook.com/Pappas-For-Council-734997676705141/

Age: 64

Profession: Retired NYC Firefighter.

Employer: Retired

Lived in Horry County: 13 years

On growth: Growth is always a good thing, but we need to strike a better balance between new construction and infrastructure. We also can’t leave our public safety departments behind. As the population grows the number of police officers, firefighters and EMS personnel must grow proportionately.

Unique skills or insights: A lifetime in public safety as well as having success in small business has prepared me for this moment. When I am elected I will approach this new challenge enthusiastically while always keeping the needs of the residents of District 2 in the highest regard. This position is all about public service and I’ve been in the public service business my whole life.

Situation when a tax raise might be necessary: Before any tax increase the council needs to identify and stop all wasteful spending. Trim the fat! Then, and only then, if needed a minimal increase for public safety. We must take better care of our public safety employees.

District 7 Democrat Primary

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Harold Phillips (incumbent)

Age: 70

Profession: Electrical Contractor, Horry County Councilman

In Horry County: Resident for 70 years

On growth: Horry County is indeed growing and development through the county is good, not just the western part.

Unique skills and insights: Twenty-six years of military service, having served on county boards and being able to deal with situations and make decision that impact people lives.

Situation when a tax raise might be necessary: Tax increase comes with growth. Our schools has to grow by building new schools, the county has to add new roads, building and storm-water construction, and sometimes we have to make a decision to increase taxes.

Lee Sherman did not respond

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