With the untimely passing of County Council member Dan Rawls there is a special election for the District 26 seat. The Republican primary is on 29 April with four candidates: Todd W Frederick, Lynn W Ballard, Buddy Dyer, and Ed Poore.
Democrat Windell Rodgers who will face the Republican nominee on 10 June.
As the Greenville Spinners‘ Advocacy Chair, I received responses from all five candidates which are presented below for your consideration. If you are unsure of your Council district you can look at this map.
1. County Council has created the Roads Commission – and they will be presenting their findings in April. Do you support Council moving forward with a sales tax referendum for roads for the November 2014 ballot?
Todd W Frederick provided a lengthy response at his website. The first paragraph is also reprinted here:
Thank you for your interest in bicyclists’ safety in Greenville County. As far as my involvement in cycling, in my younger years, I did a lot of it. My wife and I had gotten in to cycling for exercise last year. We at first enjoyed the SRT but found that due to its over crowdedness at times, we (at times) would be practically ran over by some enthusiasts who were trying to set a new record in reaching TR from downtown. Even on days when it was less crowded, we had the concern of safety from possible muggers. I believe due to the depravity of society to which Gv (and other counties) have slouched down to, I had to make sure I had my 9mm on me when we went riding the SRT. (I have a CWP.)
Lynn Ballard: Yes, if that is what Council decides is the best method for funding road improvements. I firmly believe that any such tax increase should be as a result of a referendum voted on by the people who will be directly affected.
Windell Rodgers: I do support Council moving forward with a sales tax referendum for safer Greenville County roads. I support and believe that most citizens have watch our roads and bridges continue to deteriorate and sales tax is at least a way to make improvements tour roads.
Buddy Dyer: Generally speaking don’t favor additional taxes on our residents, but if we must raise much needed revenue, I do prefer carefully defined user tax of which the gas tax would be. If the surrounding communities and states have a similar tax then we should carefully consider this tax or we will pay for our neighbor’s improvements and they will have a better infrastructure. If the public rejects this tax then I hope we all realize that we will need to accept the infrastructure we have in place now.
Ed Poore: I understand the plight of the bicyclists and I am in sympathy with their desire to have safe passage on the streets and roads. I have not been privy to council’s discussion nor the commission’s study of recommended projects and how to finance them.
I will abide by the will of the people if the question concerning raising the sales tax for projects is placed on the ballot.
Your interest in my campaign is most appreciated.
2. We expect that the roads commission will recommend a number of sidewalk and bike lane projects, especially for safe routes to school. Do you support that the referendum, if it goes forward, include such projects?
Lynn Ballard: While the roads commission recommendations are still a work-in-progress I anticipate the recommended projects will be given a priority. If not, the Council or the commission will be charged with the task of assigning priorities to the recommended projects. Any sidewalk and bike lane project recommended should be addressed in accordance with its assigned priority.
Windell Rodgers: I can support the roads commission support in sidewalk and bike lanes for our schools. However these projects are not a priority for me at this time. I am concerned that these changes will only delay or even take away resources that are desperately needed for more pressing roads and bridge maintenance.
Buddy Dyer: Safer routes, if they will be used, are generally a good idea. I would support some implementation but not on a grand scale. Affective neighborhoods should have input on the value and utilization of these route infrastructures. I heard some residence say I will not let my child walk or bike to their school as society has become a too dangerous of a place to allow or youth to be exposed by the use of this mode of transportation. Many schools have been located further from denser populated areas and it seems somebody decided busing and car pools where better. I don’t necessary agree but that is the infrastructure we have established.
3. If the referendum does not go forward, or is defeated in the election, how would you propose funding safe routes to school projects?
Lynn Ballard: This question has me at somewhat of a disadvantage and my answer is based in part on my own assumptions. Evidently funds were not available to pay for any of the road projects within the existing County Budget. Should the referendum not go forward or be defeated, then this issue will have to be revisited by County Council as a whole and a new approach determined for funding safe routes to school projects.
Windell Rodgers: My support proposal for funding of safe routes to schools is an area that I need to be further (or even more) educated on. I do believe that things like sidewalks and bike lanes should have been included as a part of the funding when we built the new schools in Greenville County. As stated above as it relates to roads I believe that maintenance of our present roads condition deserves and needs priority without competing projects.
Buddy Dyer: If the funding measure fails then we will have to look at alternate sources such as having the affected community raise monies. I would pursue matching funds for such community efforts. Obviously we will have to more slowly and we will need to be very selective in establishing safer route.
4. After residents organized to find funding for sidewalks at Monarch Elementary School, Council members arranged that a Five Forks Rd improvement project including bike lanes and sidewalks be added to the GPATS project list. We recently learned that lack of funding means this project will be built in 2050! What can be done to accelerate funding for needed projects?
Lynn Ballard: According to the website, the GPATS Pedestrian and Bicycle Plan is in its final draft stage. Attempting to propose a solution to a problem that has not been clearly defined is premature. The final plan when completed and submitted will have to be reviewed and analyzed after which proposals for funding of various projects can be addressed.
Windell Rodgers: In all honesty I am not certain of how we can expedite or accelerate funding for sidewalks at Monarch Elementary. I believe that as our economy continues to grow and more revenue is generated through taxes or other sources that 2050 is more unrealistic than realistic. That’s thirty-six (36) years from now. I would advocate for not only Monarch but other schools as well as Greenville County grows to ensure that road projects are built from the beginning to accommodate roads and sidewalks that are safe for our citizens
Buddy Dyer: My answer number to number three would be my reply. We have to prove needs to be aggressive in acquiring funding from existing budgets and alternate sources.
5. Do you support county funding to expand the Swamp Rabbit Trail? If so, where will finding come from? If not, why not?
Lynn Ballard: At this point I cannot give you an adequate answer to this question. I have not yet studied the County Budget or fund allocations within the Budget. I support the Swamp Rabbit Trail and think it has added a great deal to making Greenville County an attractive destination to visit and live. As Greenville County grows I support the expansion of the Swamp Rabbit Trail and as each expansion takes place the funding issue will be addressed at that time.
Windell Rodgers: I “can” support county funding for the Swamp Rabbit Trail. However, I am concerned as I am above in just the idea of funding the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I have to ask questions and know the usage of the trail as it relates to usage and of course safety. The trail as we have learned does not always function as intended. It has been good for the economy is “some” areas and has created traffic. However I am certain that some parts are barely used. When we consider underused portions we have to consider the potential for incidences of crime and crime prevention. These concerns will again create additional costs that at this time are nor a priority for me.
Buddy Dyer: I think we all should all be proud of the efforts to build the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I do not cycle or walk the trail but I certainly recognize the importance of having these recreational sites for our residents. Realize also that the trail is more convenient to the northern part of the county and the southern end of the county, as far as I know; District 26 area doesn’t have the adequate right of ways to build a good trail. As far as expanding the trail we should move forward but we have to consider how important adequate and safe roads and bridges are to our commuters, businesses therefore jobs and economic development.
6. Do you ride a bicycle on the Greenville County roads or trails? Do you ride for recreation, or transportation? Please share any comments you have about your experience cycling in our county.
Windell Rodgers: I do ride (an old Panasonic DX 2000). I ride on Greenville County roads and on rare occasions the Swamp Rabbit Trail. I ride for recreation and I believe that the roads are adequate for cyclists. This belief is based upon the idea that motorists and cyclist have the right to the same roads and should exercise caution and use courtesy along with the always “safe practices.”
Buddy Dyer: I do not cycle except for using a recumbent bike in my home. I really enjoyed cycling as a youth for recreation, transportation and running my newspaper route, so I do realize the pleasure and health benefits of cycling. I do have some family, friends and associates who keep me informed of the cycling community needs and wishes.
I would be happy to meet with the cycling community and discuss in more detail my views. I can be reached @ 918 5030. Thanks you for considering my candidacy Buddy Dyer, Candidate for County Council District 26
Lynn Ballard: I do not ride a bicycle.
Email contacts for the candidates are:
Windell Rogers firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn W Ballard email@example.com
Buddy Dyer firstname.lastname@example.org
Todd W Frederick email@example.com
Ed Poore firstname.lastname@example.org