Monday’s meeting of the York County Council marked the end of an era. After more than two decades on the county’s highest body, Curwood Chappell addressed his final council meeting.
Members of the public and fellow council members lauded Chappell as he finished 22 years representing the southeastern portion of the county. Chappell declined to run for a 12th term in November’s election.
The council presented him not only with a plaque but also a rocking chair in which to enjoy his retirement.
Chappell didn’t seem entirely comfortable with the hoopla.
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“I never did take a dime, a cup of coffee or Coca-Cola from any man,” he said.
Of the chair, he said, “It’s an honor, but I’ll pay for it,” before he was assured no taxpayer funds were spent on his parting gift.
In his final remarks, Chappell said he hoped to leave a better-run county and a more fiscally sound one than when he joined the council. He shared some parting words with his colleagues about the proposed Knowledge Park tax district in Rock Hill that still needs county approval.
“The school board has already agreed to take $45.5 million that would have been spent on kids and pay it to Rock Hill for 30 years,” Chappell said. “Tell the people you’re going to have to raise their taxes to make up that money. You can make a Santa Claus out of anybody if you give them somebody else’s money.”
The rest of council each bid Chappell their farewells.
Chairman Britt Blackwell said he’d been called “Curwood Jr.” because of his budget stances, while Chad Williams said he would later take credit for his many “Curwoodisms.”
“People ask me on the street, ‘how do you deal with him?’ And I say I didn’t come here to try to change him. Mr. Chappell is old school,” said Councilman William “Bump” Roddey, adding “He could have left us 10 years ago and gone to kick things up in Columbia.”
Councilman Joe Cox also leaves council this week after an election defeat, but made his departure sound less permanent. “In another couple years, I may come back,” he said.