Fairfield County Council candidates have their say

The Voice has provided space for each of the County Council candidates to talk about their candidacy, and here is what they had to say. These comments are unedited.

Jimmy Ray Douglas, District 2 Incumbent
Douglas

Serving on Fairfield County Council for the last four years has been one of the most rewarding times of my life. Maybe that’s because of how well this council cooperates and how much we have actually accomplished.

With the recent acquisition of Oldcastle APG, this council will have brought in 6 new industries, sold our spec building at a profit for $2.2 million, brought in almost $100 million in investment, 800 well-paying jobs and brought a longtime double-digit unemployment rate down to 3 percent last spring.

We have helped fund the Midlands Technical College Promise Program, and pursued federal funds to expand internet access to the rural parts of the county. We have renovated the city pool, turned the old stable on E. Washington Street into a thriving farmers’ market, renovated our rec center and Drawdy Park ball fields, negotiated for the renovation of the deteriorating Mt. Zion Institute into an attractive, efficient county administration building and much more.

In District 2, we are planning a new fire station to bring much needed fire, EMS and Sheriff’s services to Lake Wateree. It has been my duty and my pleasure, whenever my constituents in District 2 need assistance, to take their issues before administration and/or council to seek solutions.

A candidate for council who recently criticized the current council for having “out of control budget increases from $33.2 million in 2016-17 to $46.4 million in 2020-21,” apparently would not know how to run a county if elected. That $13,169.15 increase is only an average 8 percent annual increase over four years. That money was well spent, with over half going to our citizen’s public safety (16 %), emergency and non-emergency health care (14%), infrastructure (13.6%), critical services – veterans affairs, social services, road maintenance, solid waste, data processing and building maintenance (9%) and economic development (1%).

In spite of the failure of the two new nuclear units to materialize and the huge drain of COVID on the budget, the county has not had to raise property taxes or cut services. The county is, clearly, in fine financial condition.

I am so proud of the work this council has done, and I hope my constituents will see fit to return me to the District 2 council seat to continue that work for a second term.

I am asking for your vote for Jimmy Ray Douglas on or before Nov. 3.

Shirley Greene, District 2 Candidate
Greene

I’m Shirley Greene, your candidate for Fairfield County Council District 2, and I’m a child of Fairfield County, born and raised. While college and work took me away from the place I once called home, Fairfield County was always on my mind. So much so that after attending college, raising a family, and maintaining a career, I came home to make a difference. My volunteer work is but a taste of what I’d do as a council person.

As a community volunteer, I worked with government, not-for profit organizations, and state agencies and corporations on efforts that led to the fishing bridge and walkway near Dutchmans Creek Bridge at Lake Wateree and the recreational enhancements at Wateree Creek, Molly Creek, Colonels Creek and Taylors Creek.

May the work I’ve done speak for me.

As a volunteer member of the Fairfield County Disabilities and Special Needs Board, I led fundraising efforts that resulted in a new office building that administers programs and services for those with special needs.

May the work I’ve done speak for me.

As a volunteer with agencies across the county, I helped raise $1 million dollars for the Dutchman’s Creek Walkway, $1.5 million from Duke Energy for recreation amenities, and $1.5 million dollars for the Disabilities and Special Needs office.

May the work I’ve done speak for me.

My volunteer work, educational background, and professional experience prove that I understand money and accountability and can make it plain for Fairfield county citizens. A look at countywide spending shows a mismanagement of resources and a failure to use procurement policies appropriately. (These policies tell organizations how much they can spend on an item without authorization.) As a county council member, I would reinstate checks and balances and end wasteful spending and out-of-control budgets.

May the work I’ve done speak for me.

As a church volunteer who interacts with the citizens of Fairfield County, I understand the need for affordable housing, which will increase our tax base, stimulate the local economy, and stabilize our decreasing population.

May the work I’ve done speak for me.

If elected, I will collaborate with members of differing opinions to work with citizens on a comprehensive plan; give citizens back their voice by adding public speaking times; and increase transparency by printing hearing procedures on each County Council meeting agenda.

Your vote will make a difference.

Shirley Greene for Fairfield County Council District 2.


Bertha Goins, District 4 Incumbent
Goins

I so appreciate the opportunity I’ve had to serve District 4 and all of Fairfield County these last four years. During this time, this council has worked together to bring industry, jobs and many improvements to the county. Working with our economic development team has been a priority to bring good salaries and to lower the county’s unemployment rate from double digits where it has been for more than 20 years to a low, low 3 percent last spring. A dream come true for our working families.

There are so many things throughout the county that council has worked together on to bring to fruition – from renovating the town swimming pool to upgrading our government departments and bringing in a community development director. And we have more planned – to finish the farmer’s market, improve code enforcement throughout the county, build a long overdue wastewater treatment plant and extend the sewer lines we need throughout the county to accommodate new industry and nice residential neighborhoods that have not been possible for lack of infrastructure.

One of our council’s greatest accomplishments is that we have finally, and I hope forever, buried the hatchet with the Town of Winnsboro. For the first time for as long as I can remember, county council and the Town of Winnsboro have a smooth, cooperative relationship that will greatly benefit the town and the county. Praise the Lord.

While I love working with the other districts for the overall good of the county, I have a special passion to bring good things to District 4.

We are currently working with the Palmetto Trail Foundation to bring a wonderful park/camping experience with improved fishing and boating access, kayaking and other enhanced water recreation to western Fairfield.

We have continued to improve our fire station facilities. We are working to better program activities at the recreation center. We are cleaning up eyesores along Lake Monticello and have plans drawn up to clear and prepare that property for commercial development, something the west side of the county has desperately needed for years.

These projects take time, but they are coming to fruition. Our county is better off today than it has been in years. You can help us continue this progress with your vote. I ask for your vote on or before Nov. 3 to allow me to continue my work for District 4 and for the county. Thank you and God Bless Fairfield County!

Timothy Roseborough, District 4 Candidate
Roseborough

Hello to all the citizens of Fairfield County. My name is Timothy Roseborough, a lifelong resident, husband, and father of Fairfield County. Throughout the years, I have been able to witness first-hand accounts of the county’s pinnacles, pitfalls, and areas needed for positive growth. It is always beneficial for any county whether BIG or SMALL to have individuals placed into leadership positions as a means to grow their county in all applicable aspects.

As a father of 3 college graduates, all of whom have graduated from Fairfield Central High School, it is my goal to ensure that your children as well are able to benefit from the plans, programs, and opportunities that I hope to implement within our community. It is imperative that we all seek to instill great moral and ethical values to our youth as an avenue to ensure that our county will continue to thrive in the future years to come.

In order for this change to occur, it is requisite that the community has a role in the decision making process. How can this be achieved? By simply placing an individual such as myself on County Council seat of District 4 and letting your voices be heard. I stand on the foundational attributes of integrity, commitment, and character. No matter the circumstances or oppositions, I will continue to stand firm and solid.

On November 3, 2020, casting your vote for Timothy Roseborough will be the key to unlocking the success of both our community and county as a whole. Be the change for tomorrow and let your voice be heard, because together we can!

Cynthia Parnell-Rivers, District 4 Candidate
Parnell-Rivers

My name is Cynthia Parnell-Rivers and, I am running for County Council District 4.  I attended Fairfield County Schools and I am a member of St. Mathews First Baptist Church.   My children and grandchildren were educated in the Fairfield County school system.  I have an MBA and have worked in management positions for over 30 years.

My education and business background equips me with an understanding of working as a team, developing and reading budgets, generating reports, communicating with business shareholders, and forecasting future projects. I understand how to manage business conflict and make sound decisions that will benefit our communities.

I have lived in the Greenbrier area most of my life and during this time there have been minimal tax dollars utilized for the improvement of District #4: Greenbrier, Jenkinsville, Blair, Monticello, and Dawkins. I am running for District #4 County Council to ensure that we have a voice at the table to bring results and positive changes to our area.

In response to current county council plans to build a new waste treatment facility: I am all for improving the infrastructure that is projected as the life blood for recruiting new industries and bringing more jobs to Fairfield County, however, my concern is that the waste treatment project requires raising taxes and spending millions of dollars from the budget on infrastructure development.  The fact is that there are no plans in place for rural area development before or after this project is complete. Additionally, I am concerned about the timing of a tax increase during a pandemic when citizens are struggling to survive.  With the loss of jobs, homes, and essential needs citizens would be better served with programs to support immediate necessities instead of a tax increase.

I believe that new insight is necessary for decision-making on projects that are both financially sound and beneficial for the citizens and the development of Fairfield County.

Vote for me on November 3rd, vote for change, and welcome a voice for the people.


Neil Robinson, District 6 Incumbent
Neil Robinson

I want to thank the citizens in District 6 for allowing me to serve you for the last four years. As a lifelong resident of Fairfield County, former Marine, and Lieutenant with the Fairfield County Sheriff’s Office, I have proudly worked as a public servant since I graduated from Fairfield Central High School.

As council chair, I am proud of what this council has accomplished in the last four years, both in the county and in District 6.

We now work closely with the Town of Winnsboro, on such projects as the revitalization of Zion Hill. In an effort to bring Zion Hill back to its glory days, we obtained hundreds of thousands of dollars in grants to clean up dilapidated houses and replace them with affordable new homes, to restore Fortune Springs Park, and improve lighting, landscaping and maintenance of roadways. And we have plans to bring the same restoration to other neighborhoods that have long been neglected.

During the last four years, council has been very busy, and we have been successful. In the last 18 months, we have announced more jobs for Fairfield than were announced in the previous 15 years combined.

During the last twenty years, our county has been burdened with the highest unemployment rate in the state…IN THE STATE! Just prior to COVID, as a direct result of this council’s commitment to economic development efforts, Fairfield’s unemployment plummeted to a remarkable 3 percent.

That is a result of this council bringing in 6 excellent industries that have invested more than $70 million in the county that pay well and employ over 700 people. Our recent acquisition, Oldcastle APG, brings another $25 million investment, 100 jobs and a $20+ starting salary for line jobs.

This is what this council’s goals are all about.

The county now has momentum, but we desperately need sewer capacity to continue this momentum. The wastewater treatment plant is absolutely foundational to a bright future for Fairfield.

This council has accomplished much these last few years because most of us on council no longer see our districts as separate fiefdoms, but unified for a more prosperous county, where every district deserves job growth, better housing and a better quality of life. 

The momentum is here. I ask for your vote to keep it going. Please cast your vote on or before Nov. 3 for Neil Robinson for County Council, District 6.

Bob Prather, District 6 Candidate
Prather

I would like to introduce myself to the citizens of District 6 in Fairfield County because I am extremely interested in being your County Council representative for the next four years!  My name is Bob Prather and I have lived in Winnsboro since 1989.  I am married to Janice Bartell-Prather who has owned and operated the Vanity Stylon on Main Street for over forty years.  We have been active in the Winnsboro community in many ways because we love the people here in Fairfield County!  My wife and I attend Stephen Greene Baptist Church on the Mill Village. 

I have served as Chairman of the Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce Board of Directors for the past year and have learned so much about the businesses and how governments work.  I am a retired businessman, and this experience has allowed me to have a positive understanding of the importance of having vision, financial planning, sound budgets and communicating and working with people!  Teamwork is necessary to have a successful business and our county could use more teamwork and could be more successful!   

I promise to work with all members of Council to:  1) reduce the county’s budget   2) NOT continue to raise taxes nor add new fees (especially during this Pandemic we are experiencing)   3) work to create ordinances so as to control blight in our communities  4) strive to promote better housing choices  5) support higher education and economic development so our citizens can have a better quality of life  6) work to restore more interaction between citizens and the Council at all County Council meetings   7) be the voice of all citizens in District 6 and be accessible whenever they need me!

Our citizens deserve more consideration of the true needs of Fairfield County and not be strapped with unnecessary projects!  I will be committed to serving the citizens of not only District 6 but the entire county!  I am sincerely asking your support in this election….I would appreciate your vote!!