Surfside candidates debate hot-button issues ahead of election

Surfside candidates debate hot-button issues ahead of election

SURFSIDE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - The election will be held on Tuesday, April 5 to decide between ten candidates for town council and two mayoral candidates. The debate Sunday focused on key issues that the town is facing and how each person would combat them.

Each candidate gave opening remarks on why they are the best fit for the job, giving their qualifications and vision for the family beach. Each candidate was given one minute to answer questions that covered several topics, including high-rise zoning restrictions, beach renourishment, and storm water drainage. One hot-button issue involved the recent strain between the town and some locally-owned businesses.

"I think we have some residents and some businesses that don't think we're very business and residential-friendly, and so I think it's important to them to try and reach an understanding as to why they believe that." said town council candidate Vicki Blair.

However, some candidates voiced different concerns.

"Are we residential and business friendly? Sure we are. But we can improve on that. One of my top peeves is that we don't have enough events and activities for our youth." said town council candidate Mark Johnson.

The candidates were asked several times to give specific reasons why voters should pick them. Doug Samples, who is running for re-election as Mayor, says his track record speaks for itself.

"I think the improvements and progress are self-evident driving through the town. We are in good financial condition, which we weren't," Samples said.

The debate actually ended early as each candidate stayed on topic and within their time limits. Several voters after the meeting voiced opinions on how they thought the meeting went, and their thoughts on the slate of candidates.

"I thought it was very well orchestrated. Most of the candidates seem well-prepared, but some of them obviously being newbies, need to do some research and homework." said Judy Kidd, a Surfside Beach voter.

There will also be a special election on the April 5 for an unexpired seat on the council, and several of the candidates will be featured on both ballots.

The candidates running in Tuesday's elections are:

Mayor: Bob Childs (a current Town Council member) and current Mayor Doug Samples are running

For the three council seats open in the General Election: Vicki W. Blair, Mark Johnson (a current Town Council member), Mary Beth Mabry (a current Town Council member) , Ron Ott, Wanda Spannuth, Randle Stevens (a current Town Council member), Holly Ann Watson, and Stanley J. Wrobel.

The following candidates are running to fill the Town Council seat with the unexpired term: Vicki W. Blair, Tim Courtney, Steve Shore, and Stanley J. Wrobel. If one of these candidates also wins the General Election seat they were running for, they will choose which one they want, and there will be another election in August for the vacant seat.

According to the public notice, the polling locations for Tuesday's elections are: Surfside #1: Dick M. Johnson Civic Center, 829 N Pine Drive, Surfside Beach. Surfside #2 and Surfside #4: Surfside United Methodist Church, 800 13th Avenue N, Surfside Beach.

A runoff election, if necessary, will be held on April 19, 2016.

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