In the Republican primary for District 2 on the York County Council, we endorse Tom Smith.
Smith, the incumbent and co-owner of Lake Wylie's May Green Properties, is opposed by David McCorkle, who resides in Lake Wylie but works as a construction and development consultant in Mecklenburg County, and Bill Stiles, owner of Stiles Realty. No Democrats have filed for this seat, meaning Tuesday's GOP primary will determine the winner.
McCorkle makes no secret of his motivation for running: "This is not as much about me winning the race, as it is from keeping Tom Smith from winning that seat," he said recently.
McCorkle told The Herald editorial board that he found Smith to be too domineering at a recent zoning hearing before the council. He also accused Smith of failing to communicate adequately with constituents. McCorkle said that, if elected, he would form a citizens advisory committee and hold regular meetings to determine community priorities.
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Stiles ran unsuccessfully for this seat in 2004. He said one of the first things he would do, if elected, is organize a workshop for local contractors to instruct them in the bidding process for county business. He also is a supporter of a special tax district to generate money for better fire protection.
When Smith won this seat in 2006, it was by default. Incumbent Perry Johnston decided not to seek re-election -- but not until after the filing deadline had passed. This effectively gave the seat to Smith, the only other candidate to file.
At the time, we took issue with how those events transpired. But we largely faulted Johnston for depriving another candidate of a real chance to run.
Smith has had a relatively low profile on the council. He has been active in the effort to negotiate the development of an agreement with Crescent Resources for the Allison Creek site. He thinks a deal now is close, with land set aside for recreation, a lake buffer and school sites included.
Smith also has been involved in an effort to allow the county to buy Carolina Water, the private water service that now provides water to Lake Wylie residents. That undoubtedly would be good news to residents, who have complained about significant rate hikes in recent years as well as often foul-tasting water.
Smith also favors a special tax district to pay for better fire service, especially in the Lake Wylie area. Smith also is familiar with two of the most pressing issues facing the county, having served on the county's land-use planning committee and the 1997 "Pennies for Progress" program.
We think he deserves another term on the council.
We think incumbent Tom Smith is best qualified to serve the next two years on the council.