Tuesday, September 17, 2013
I would like to comment on the article that was published in the September 11 edition of the SJS concerning the upcoming election for the District 3 Summerville Town Council seat. Walter Bailey, a lifetime resident of Summerville and current member of town council, is being challenged for this seat and his opponent was quoted in the article. As a member of town council myself, I am very familiar with Mr. Bailey’s priorities and voting record. I would like to address his opponent’s mischaracterization that Mr. Bailey is not “attending to base things.”
Nothing is more basic to a municipality than public safety. For the last four years Mr. Bailey, a former solicitor, has chaired the town’s public safety committee, on which I also serve. He has consistently and persistently been a strong advocate for these departments. Despite the recession during most of his current term, Mr. Bailey’s leadership has moved us to begin construction on a much needed new Fire station on Central Avenue as well as the purchase of a new fire truck. As an ex prosecutor, he is very vocal in his support of our police department and was instrumental in pushing for additional overtime pay in our budget to allow for a pilot program of a rapid response team. In addition, he has guided council to adopt a policy of replacing 20 percent of police vehicles annually and to install communication equipment upgrades both of which insure greater effectiveness of the department. All of this will take place without any increase in municipal taxes.
The other “basic” is streets and sidewalks, with which I am very aware of as chairman of the public works committee. Although not a member of this committee, Mr. Bailey has become very involved in the efforts of this committee in several areas. Mr. Bailey pushed hard through the committee and council for the town to begin a program to replace unsafe, broken concrete streets in Marlin Estates, Gahagan and several other subdivisions in the town. A number of streets in Gahagan have already been repaved and we now have significant funds allocated in our annual budget to continue to bring this project to completion and continued upkeep. Earlier this month, Mr. Bailey placed an item on the public works committee agenda to increase budget funding for sidewalk construction from $30,000 to $230,000 without a tax increase. He convinced council that this was a not only a quality of life issue but a safety improvement as well. Mr. Bailey has continually pushed for more funds to be devoted to improving the quality of life and the safety of Summervillians even at the expense of other items that may be popular in the eyes of others.
If Mr. Bailey’s opponent had bothered to attend even one council or committee meeting during his seven years of residency in Summerville, he would not suggest much less accuse Walter Bailey of not prioritizing “basic” governmental services. Mr. Bailey is an incredibly strong voice on Town Council for frugal oversight of our funds and the proper allocation of our funds to provide for the best in public safety and quality of life for Summerville’s citizens. Mr. Bailey’s opponent should point his finger and allegations in another direction if “basic services” are truly issues he is concerned with.
Mayor Pro Tem
Summerville Town Council