Clover mayor's race might seem familiar to voters in 2005 election

CLOVER -- Clover residents are about to experience election déjà vu.

Donnie Grice, former mayor of Clover, and Mayor Donnie Burris are meeting again in battle for votes in a race similar to the one held in 2005.

Grice served as mayor for four years and councilman for eight years before losing to Burris in a three-way race in 2005. In that race, Burris got 308 votes while Grice captured 234. The other candidate, Rick Cobb, took 69 votes.

Grice said he was encouraged to run again by residents. He wants to give voters another option, he said.

"I think there were a lot of promises made that were never kept," said Grice, who owns Carolina's Kitchen Bath & Remodeling.

During the last election, other candidates said they would not increase taxes and they would decrease water rates, but they didn't live up to their word, Grice said.

The town raised taxes this year, the first time since 2000, to provide an additional police officer and employees for the parks and recreation department. Taxes for the owner of a $100,000 house increased $16 a year.

Grice said several factors contributed to his defeat during the last election. His wife was ill during the campaign, which kept him from meeting voters. He said voters also were attracted to the promises other candidates made about boosting the economy.

"That's kind of what people wanted to hear, so they took a chance on it," he said.

But Burris, a car dealership sales manager and former planning commission chair, said he did boost the economy by re-establishing an economic development board and welcoming new businesses to town. One example is Family Trust, which plans to build a new branch in Clover, he said.

The council also has worked with the zoning board to ensure there are larger lots with larger houses, he said.

"If he thinks we have had no economic progress, then he's been out of touch with the town in the two years he's been gone," Burris said. "This council has been very progressive, and this council has got a lot of money in grants and a lot of things have happened in the last two years to balance the budget."

All six incumbent council members in Clover have filed for re-election with no challengers. Unless someone announces his or her intention to run as a write-in candidate to the York County Elections Office by 5 p.m. Sept. 21, incumbents will be announced the winners, and only candidates for mayor will appear on the Nov. 6 ballot.