Priorities for Irmo
Budget and Taxation
As a small business owner, I successfully operated Mac’s on Main for 14 years. During that time I hired employees, met a payroll, provided quality products to the public, marketed my business and built relationships with the public. I spent many hours developing the business. I found ways to cut expenses and increase revenue. Thats the approach I have taken as a member of Council for the Town of Irmo. In 2005 I made a motion to completely eliminate the Town’s property tax. The proposal was adopted and today Irmo’s property tax rate is still zero.
Transparency and Accountability
Transparency and accountability are the key aspects of good government. I was an early advocate for the Town putting the Irmo checkbook ledger online. Irmo became one of the first municipalities in the state to do so. In 2012, I proposed the live streaming of Irmo Town Council meetings online. Live streaming has allowed the citizens to see how decisions are made within the Council and how issues and concerns are addressed. Storing the videos on YouTube enables the citizens to have immediate access and provides transparency for all Council meetings.
In 2019, I voted to establish an Irmo Police Department (IPD) promotion and retention program. Irmo has a small police department and I am proud of the work these officers do to protect the citizens of Irmo. Previously, there was very little growth potential within the Irmo Police Department and the Town was struggling and continues to struggle with retaining these officers. By establishing this retention program we give officers clear goals and direction for career growth and longevity within the IPD. Getting officers out of their cars, on bikes and foot patrols in the communities allows officers to meet citizens and develop personal relationships. By engaging with the public, the community becomes extended eyes and ears of the IPD. We need to continue to give the IPD tools and resources to protect the community. Replacing police cars on a regular rotation will make sure our officers are safe and can respond quickly.
Irmo Town Wide HOA
I have always been concerned about implementing Town ordinances based on aesthetics. The Town front lawn parking ordinance is flawed and needs to be amended. I believe the Town of Irmo should not force citizens to build extension parking pads on their property. This is an overreach of government and an invasion of rights as a property owner based on aesthetics instead of safety. I immediately amended the ordinance to exempt the disabled citizens and veterans. Most homes on corner lots that park on the side are exempt from the ordinance already but the confusing implementation has caused concern. If citizens want to live in a Home Owners Association (HOA) Community, we have plenty available in Irmo, however, I believe the government should not be an HOA enforcing laws, based on aesthetics rather than safety, with the IPD.
The Town needs to develop open conversations with citizens so that we can resolve issues at the local level. The Town is involved with a federal law suit for failure to accommodate a disabled elderly citizen with a car port. This could have been avoided but the majority of Town Council doesn’t respect the voices of the citizens. I listen to all citizens even if they don’t agree with me. I hold monthly coffee chats that allow citizens to converse with me. I will continue to do this and expand it in different parts of the Town. As Mayor, I will continue to respect the opinions of the citizens online and at the Council meetings.
911 Emergency Response
When a citizen calls 911 from their cell phone, they have to answer a number of questions to identify if they are in the County, the City or the Town. This slows down the response time. I believe we need to establish a 911 committee to develop a better response solution when calling in 911. This is very important since Irmo is split between Richland and Lexington counties. This will be one of my goals as Mayor.
Water and Sewer Rates
The Town Council does not have the authority to determine the rates for water and sewer but we do have the ability to advocate on behalf of the citizens and call the utilities to the table to discuss why rates are so high. I believe it doesn’t make sense to charge more for sewer volume than you use for water volume. We need to have this conversation with the utilities. We can get them to the negotiating table and this will be one of my priorities as your Mayor.
Amend Outdated Ordinances
We have several Town ordinances that need to be amended. One such ordinance is the concealed weapons ban. I have tried several times as a Council Member to remove this ban. It is in conflict with state law and in direct conflict with the 2nd amendment to the US Constitution. The Town peddling law should also be amended. The warning notices that have been issued to cut your grass, if not corrected can add up to $1087.00 in fines. I encouraged teenagers to go door-to-door and ask to cut lawns as a summer job. Our current peddling laws make this illegal. As your Mayor, I intend to amend outdated these ordinances.
Promote Smart Town Growth
I encourage smart growth but with consideration to the existing impact to the infrastructure. Residential dwellings in General Commercial zoned areas should be limited. I am in favor of establishing an “Impact Fee” to help pay for the increase on Town resources.