Q&A with candidates
Three people are running for Arcadia Lakes Town Council; the top two vote-getters win four-year terms.
One vacant seat was held by Merrelle Harris, who recently passed away.
Those running for council include Tom Clark, incumbent Michael Smith and Mark Robertson.
Mayor Rick Thomas is unopposed in the town election, which is Nov. 3.
Profiles: Arcadia Lakes Town Council candidates
Education: General William Mitchell High School in Colorado Springs, Colo.; attended USC
Occupation: Handles marketing, incentives and grants for the S.C. Film Commission
Elected political experience: none
Among current community organizations: Board of Zoning Variances for town of Arcadia Lakes; Arcadia Lakes Vision Committee
Family: Wife, Tina
Neighborhood where you live: The Commons
Name something you've given up or done without during the recession: "I guess you could say we have cut back just about everywhere we could, 'given up' in small increments."
Education: College of William and Mary, bachelor's degree, 1974; University of Virginia, master's degree, 1982
Occupation: State director for The Nature Conservancy
Elected political experience: None
Among current community organizations: Arcadia Lakes Vision Committee; Cary Lake Homeowners Association
Family: Wife, Deborah; children Emily, 21, and Helen, 15
Neighborhood where you live: Arcadia Lakes
Name something you've given up or done without during the recession: "My family is fortunate in that my wife and I have not lost our jobs, but we have had cuts in pay and benefits. We have cut back on entertainment, meals at restaurants and home improvements."
Education: University of South Carolina, 1984, bachelor's degree in computer science
Occupation: Systems software specialist
Elected political experience: Elected three times to the Town of Arcadia Lakes Council, serving since January 2000
Among current community organizations: Board of directors, Midlands Foundation for Foster Children
Family: Married, one son
Neighborhood where you live: Arcadia Lakes
Name something you've given up or done without during the recession: "Vacation."
What is the most important local issue on voters' minds?
Tom Clark: Informal polling indicates to town council that the residents want to maintain the feel of a great small community within the city and hope to plan for a future that keeps it that way.
Mark Robertson: Decreasing property values and encroaching crime due to the declining economy.
Michael Smith: Providing for the safety of our residents, the beauty and the identity of the town of Arcadia Lakes without implementing any local taxes.
Richland County has a plan in place to revitalize Decker Boulevard, at the edge of Arcadia Lakes. What interest does the town have, if any, in the success of that plan?
Clark: I cannot speak for the mayor or town council, but I would suspect that the town is very interested in positive development and management of the lakes.
Robertson: Regrettably, there has no implementation of the county's plan. Arcadia Lakes has a significant interest in the plan's success because the condition of Decker Boulevard affects the town's quality of life and economic health. Because we are a small town, we must work with neighboring local governments on the issues that affect us.
Smith: The town of Arcadia Lakes has participated in the Decker Boulevard revitalization project for many years and continues to support this important project. Every year we work with the organizers to provide all the support the town of Arcadia Lakes can.
There's been an outcry about a developer planning to dredge the lily pond along Trenholm Road when he builds a 200-unit apartment complex there, but the controversy could have been averted if the town had annexed the property. What are your thoughts?
Clark: The Roper Pond project began as an upscale housing development on the border of Arcadia Lakes in Richland County. I suspect the changes to the project and the negative impact on wetlands and the Gills Creek system would have been the same whether annexed into Arcadia Lakes or not.
Robertson: Under state law, Arcadia Lakes cannot annex the property without the landowner's consent so the town has limited options. To protect our lakes, the town can make sure that the development fully complies with state and county laws protecting water quality and regulating run-off. The town council should maintain open communication with the developer to negotiate protections for the town's citizens and get as close as we can to a win-win outcome.
Smith: State law regulates all annexation by municipal governments. All the property around the lily pond property had been annexed a long time ago. Currently, there has not been a useable "doughnut hole" annexation law passed which would have allowed us to annex the lily pond property without the owner's consent. The current and all previous owners of the lily pond property were invited to be annexed in to the town of Arcadia Lakes, but they declined. It is a beautiful but fragile pond seen by thousands of motorists each day and would be a perfect addition to the "Seven Lakes One Town," Arcadia Lakes.
- Compiled by Dawn Hinshaw