Candidates divided on growth, taxes

CLOVER -- With no challengers for the Clover council seats, residents will have only one choice to make Tuesday when they go to the polls -- which Donnie will be their next mayor.

The two candidates are Mayor Donnie Burris and former mayor Donnie Grice.

Burris has been serving as mayor since he defeated Grice in the mayor's race in 2005 by 74 votes. Before that, he was chairman of the planning commission.

A native of Rock Hill, Burris has lived in Clover for nearly 20 years and said he's tried to give back to the community.

"I'm not a rich man, so the only way I had of giving back to my community was through community service," he said.

He decided to run for mayor in 2005 because he felt more could be done to encourage economic growth, he said.

Grice, a native of Clover, served eight years as a councilman and another four as mayor.

The father of two, Grice said he wants to make sure his family has a safe environment. Clover provides that, he said.

"It's a great place to live," he said. "I feel comfortable when I go to bed at night."

Grice said he decided to run again because he felt Burris did not keep his promise not to increase taxes.

Burris has said the increase, which equaled about $16 a year on a $100,000 house, was best for the town. He said the council has accomplished more in the two years he's been mayor than Grice did in the previous four years.

The main issues between the candidates are how to attract business and control growth.

Grice has called for a stronger focus on downtown, which will help attract industry, he said.

But Burris says the downtown will only thrive once industry comes.

Both candidates agree residential growth needs to be controlled. Grice said that the town will have to work closely with the school district as it looks at potential developments. Burris said new developers should pay for impact fees for development.

Age: 51

Occupation: manager of the Gastonia Used Car Center

Family: Wife, Teresa; children Candice, 22, and Matt, 21

Community service: Former Little League coach, currently usher at Lake Wylie Christian Assembly and past president of the York County Businessmen's Association

Political experience: Chairman of the Clover Planning Commission and mayor for two years

Hobbies: unting, golf and following football

Age: 41

Occupation: owner of Carolina Kitchen and Bath

Family: Wife, Cindy; children, Wil, 3, and Georgia, 1

Community service: Deacon and usher at First Baptist Church and formerly a Little League Coach and volunteer firefighter for 23 years

Political experience: Eight years as a council member and four years as mayor

Hobbies: Boating, golfing and fishing

Where to vote

Polls will be open Tuesday from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Two precincts will be open: Clover School District Office, 604 Bethel St., and Clover Middle School, 320 Clinton Ave.

Voters unable to go to the polls may be eligible to vote absentee. They can do so by mail or by visiting the York County Registration and Elections Office at 13 S. Congress St., York, 29745, before 5 p.m. Monday.