MONCKS CORNER — The candidates for the District 2 Berkeley County Council seat say the county needs to operate more like a business.
Incumbent Tim Callanan and political newcomer Jim Mills both say they are the most qualified to bring accountability and fiscal responsibility to council.
The two men will square off in the June 10 Republican primary.
Mills, 47, of Pimlico, said his 27 years of business leadership and a willingness to put the needs of the county over his own makes him the best candidate.
Callanan, 37, of Daniel Island, said his former career as a bond trader and 10 months on council give him the advantage.
Both men say something needs to be done about Cypress Gardens. The county-owned park located within District 2 is costing the county hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. The council is considering cutting some of the animal exhibits to make room for more revenue-inducing activities such as weddings and meetings.
Mills said the park needs a business-minded manager to make the necessary adjustments. The park is at a disadvantage because it still uses dial-up Internet service that prevents it from tracking where its customers come from, and it can't grow because it doesn't have the water and sewer capacity.
"I don't think they need to cut things, they just need more management principles in place," Mills said.
Callanan said he doesn't want to lose the park, but he predicted it will be closed within five years if the mounting deficits aren't reversed.
"More of the same is not going to solve the problem," Callanan said. "We need to do something now."
Both men questioned the decision-making that led to a 30-percent increase in water and sewer rates in Berkeley County.
"I'm sure an increase was needed, but not that much," Mills said.
Callanan, who inherited the problem when he won a special election last year, said the 30 percent increase was necessary because officials resisted raising rates for so long that they were "artificially low."
DATE OF BIRTH: Sept. 9, 1960
FAMILY: Wife, Pam; daughters, Lisa Wormington, 36, and Jamie Mills, 22; sons, Danny Infinger, 26, and Cody Mills, 23.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Danville (Ky.) High School, 1978.
OCCUPATION: Realtor with Carolina One.
PREVIOUS ELECTED OFFICE: None.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?:"Being a tax rate conservative, I want to make sure business principles are applied to county government."
WHAT'S THE TOUGHEST ISSUE FACING YOUR DISTRICT?:"That's tough. Pimlico is on one end and Daniel Island is on the other. If you talk to Pimlico, it's Cypress Gardens. If you talk to Daniel Island, it's growth and infrastructure."
DATE OF BIRTH: June 3, 1970.
FAMILY: Wife, Jeannie; son, Emmett, 3.
EDUCATION: Graduated from Ridgewood (N.J.) High School, 1988; Bachelor of Science in economics from Iona College, 1992.
OCCUPATION: Neighborhood sales manager for John Wieland Homes.
PREVIOUS ELECTED OFFICE: Berkeley County Council District 2.
WHY ARE YOU RUNNING FOR OFFICE?:"Being in office for 10 months, there was certainly a laundry list of things I want to address and have addressed. There's still a lot of things I can't get done in a year but I can get done in four years."
WHAT'S THE TOUGHEST ISSUE FACING YOUR DISTRICT?: "Financing and planning for the long term, instead of the short-term election cycle, which has come back to bite us recently."