North Augusta, S.C. (WJBF)- Monday is the last day for City council candidates in North Augusta to convince voters to elect them. There are four candidates on the ballot and one write in candidate for three open seats. Two of those candidates are incumbents.
Both Kevin Toole and Eric Presnell were elected to their first terms on the North Augusta city council back in 2019. And both feel they need one more term to finish the work they started.
“I think there’s still work to be done and I’d like to see those things through,” said Toole.
“We’ve got a lot of great things going on and I decided, you know I need to do it again,” Presnell agreed.
Presnell and Toole are running for their second terms on the North Augusta City Council. They said that much of their first term was spent learning the ropes of having a seat on the council. Both feel a lot was accomplished over the past four years.
“Mainly our fire station. And getting our public safety headquarters underway. Our firemen and police men have deserved better for many, many years,” explained Presnell.
“Helping to improve the dialogue between the city and the citizens,” Toole said.
North Augusta has seen a lot of growth over the past four years and folks living there have mixed feelings.
“I think there are those folks that want the growth, that want the things that come with the growth. The new shopping opportunities, the new dining opportunities that you have to have rooftops and people here to convince those businesses to come here, said Toole. “Then you’ve got the other side that kinda wants to put the brakes on that. And I think both- striking that balance is a hard thing to do.”
Presnell said that when it comes to development in the city- the councils hands are tied.
But the council does it’s best to soften any negative impact the growth may have on citizens.
“We are trying to look at creative ways to ensure that we still keep our taxes low, but keep our infrastructure up. But we’re gonna need new trash trucks, new workers. Same thing with police, fire.”
There are no districts in North Augusta. That means the 3 candidates with the most votes – fill the open seats.
NewsChannel 6 also spoke to challengers Richard Adams, David Buck and Richard Fletcher about why they think voters should check the box beside their name.
“They should check Richard Adams because Richard Adams has done the work. After the mayoral campaign, I did not go away. I was appointed to the planning commission and I’ve done the work,” smiled Adams.
“I don’t think anybody running has more experience in city government. I worked for four years on behalf of this city,” said Fletcher.
“And I love what the city has done over the past ten years or so. And we have so much opportunity in the city to even become better than what we are today. And I think I’m the candidate that wants to see that happen and transpire,” Buck explained.
Each candidate has an issue that is important to them and prompted them to run for office.
“And I really love the small town appeal that we have. People come here and they want part of it. But if we’re not careful in how we develop going forward, we’ll lose that,” Fletcher said.
“You know, we’ve grown a lot over the past ten years and we’re going to continue to grow. I want to make sure that we have the proper infrastructure in place- public works, public safety, that we’re not just growing by population, but we have the tools and infrastructure in place to handle that growth,” said Buck.
“Representation and inclusion. I want to be a voice for the people and the best way to get that done, I believe, is education. Educating the community on exactly how, not only our municipality- but how municipalities work.” said Adams.
Both Adams and Buck will appear on Tuesday’s ballot- however you wont see Fletcher’s name.
That is because he is running as a write in candidate and he said he has a good reason for that.
“A small city like ours doesn’t need partisanship. Let’s elect people based on their ideas and who they are, what they stand for and get away from partisanship. And so, I felt I would be a hypocrite if I ran as a Republican, which I have been my whole life,” Fletcher explained.
People living in North Augusta have mixed feelings about a write-in.
“It’s going to be a highly contested race, I do believe. Richard Fletcher is a write in. I hope he’ll do well. He has good ideas for the future of North Augusta,” said Diana Brissie.
Kimberly Coles isn’t so sure.
“Write in ballot- unless he’s really, really strong he’s going to take away votes from the other candidates. So, I don’t know.”
Coles and Brissie agree that it’s important to make your voice heard.
“Local elections mean so much. Just go vote. It’s so important and it doesn’t take a long time,” said Coles.
“North Augusta is a lovely place to live. It’s friendly and a good community. And we want to keep it that way,” Brissie said.
Election day in North Augusta is Tuesday, April 25. Polls open at 7 a.m. and close at 7 p.m.
Find your polling location HERE.
It’s important to note that North Augusta “Precinct 54” voters will instead report to Immanuel Baptist Church on Old Edgefield Road. This is a change from previously-announced polling location, North Augusta Middle School.
Photojournalist: Will Baker.