SUMMERVILLE – Retired publisher Bill Collins has been elected the town's first new mayor in 45 years, winning more than half the vote in a three-way race, in unofficial returns.
Bob Jackson was re-elected to the Town Council District 6 seat in the only contested council race.
Collins will replace Berlin Myers, the longtime mayor who became such an icon in Summerville that a sculpture with his likeness now stands in the courtyard at Town Hall. He takes over a bustling suburb facing growth issues, that has grown from a small town that still cherishes its historic ambiance.
“I'm a very, very happy person,” he said. “(The residents) wanted somebody going forward who could work with all groups of people to face the challenges we face. Summerville is a special place and I will work with every ounce of my being to make sure it remains a special place.”
Collins ran on platform with three chief priorities: to ease traffic congestion, grow revenue by attracting new businesses and nourishing growing businesses with tax credits, and attracting tourism, including bringing a boutique hotel downtown and working with cruise companies to bring passengers to historic sites around town. But the
A steady stream of voters throughout the day drove a turnout that appeared by mid-afternoon to be on track to be a record. But a big push in ballots be coming-home-from-work voters never came. About 19 percent of the town's registered voters turned out, according to the unofficial returns. That's about what is usually expected in contested mayor races.
“This is a milestone for this town,” said Donnie Bingham after voting in Town Council District 4. He was surprised not to see billboards and more campaign posters before the election. “You figure, this town in this place is in a time to make a change, ready to make a change.”