Thursday, November 21, 2013
Moncks Corner will swear in its latest edition of Town Council in January 2014.
This month’s election returned incumbents Tonia Aiken-Taylor and Johna Bilton, and added newcomer Charlotte Crumpenick. Now, council already faces some potentially huge changes in the coming 12 months.
In January, the town will be tasked with selecting a new Mayor Pro Tem with the retirement of three-term councilman David Kizer, who chose not to seek a fourth term on town council.
The election of the next Mayor Pro Tem could prove to be significant as Moncks Corner Mayor Bill Peagler, in the middle of his third term as mayor, is also running for Berkeley County Supervisor.
Should Peagler win the 2014 election next fall, come January 2015, the new Mayor Pro Tem will step in and temporarily serve as the town’s mayor until a new mayor is elected.
This special election would leave the mayor’s chair vacant for 120 days, according to the town.
For now, it’s business as usual for council as Kizer finishes out his third and last term, but change lurks on the horizon.
The mayor praised Kizer for his service to Moncks Corner.
“I would first like to thank Mayor Pro Tem David Kizer for his twelve years of service to the Town of Moncks Corner,” Peagler said. “I understand the time commitment that it takes to serve and Mayor Pro Tem Kizer had always come to town council meetings prepared to discuss the agenda items.”
Peagler also congratulated Cruppenink on her election and praised fourth-place finisher Jennifer Schlette for offering to serve.
In looking ahead to 2014, Peagler said this was an exciting time for Moncks Corner. The town recently improved its credit rating with Standard & Poor’s. The Regional Recreation Complex is nearing completion with Phase I of its design, and the town is working closely with SCDOT to improve the US 17-A and SC Highway 6 intersection (Live Oak Drive and Main Street).
“The plans for the project are complete and right-of-way acquisition is in process,” Peagler said. “As soon as the right of way is acquired, the project will be ready to bid.”
Members of town council saw the completion of the new recreation complex as its most pressing challenge in 2014. With Phase I of the project running more than six months behind, completion of the first phase has been slated tentatively for next fall.
“For me the recreation complex is the big thing,” said Councilman David Dennis. “We need to do what we to do but keep the spending under control. We need to get this rec complex up and running. We need to get that first phase finished and out of the way and decide where to go from there.”
Dennis listed the finalizing of the Foxbank fire station as the next major goal facing Moncks Corner and looks forward to working with the latest edition of town council.
“The town is in good shape and we want to keep it moving in the right direction,” he said.
Councilman Michael Lockliear said he looked forward to working with the new council, as well as the mayor and town administrator in 2014.
“We need to keep our taxes down and finish the recreation complex,” he said.
Lockliear also praised the departing Mayor Pro Tem.
“I appreciate all the hard work and dedication Councilman David Kizer has given to Moncks Corner over the years.”
Councilwoman Tonia Aiken-Taylor believes 2014 will be an interesting year for both town council and Berkeley County Council.
“Whether we move forward in new leadership or not, it is important that a new or returning leader bring fresh vision,” she said. “I am excited to be a part of this time of transition.”
Councilwoman Laura Perdue praised the town for being financially stable as was reflected with the improved credit rating.
“We have some projects coming up, one of those is the intersection on Main Street/Highway 6 and 17A, which will alleviate some of the traffic flow problems that we are experiencing,” Perdue said, “Plus there is also the fire station down at Foxbank that we need to finish soon.”
Cruppenick, who will be sworn-in before the first council meeting in January, agreed that the new recreation complex is the most pressing goal.
“Certainly, completing the new recreation facility is an ongoing issue considering the need to fully fund it remains,” she said, also mentioning increased police protection as a major concern.
“The town’s residents had a common concern that they want addressed … additional police protection,” she said. “They feel we don’t have enough officers on patrol on any given shift, and would like to see more patrols through neighborhoods, not just on the highways to produce revenue from speeding tickets.”