York County Council looks to Election Day

The York County Council has been holding efficient meetings, mostly free of its infamous heated arguments.

Maybe it's the work of the new county manager, or maybe the personalities of the seven members finally have meshed. Or maybe it's the realization that an election is coming up this fall.

So far, all of the council members have signaled they'll run again.

"We have ways to go to improve the county," said rookie councilman Tom Smith. "We need to stress we work for the people and we're service-oriented."

The current council started rocky in early 2007, with arguments and lawsuits over landfills and a search for a new manager.

The council continues to face financial shortfalls with "Pennies for Progress," the 1-cent sales tax for road projects. The county now is moving toward managing that program internally, but residents have said they want to see more progress soon -- especially on the S.C. 5 bypass and Fort Mill Southern bypass, roads where new schools will be located.

Here's some of what council members want to do:

• District 1, Paul Lindemann: Despite talks of a run for Carl Gullick's state House seat after his first term representing the Fort Mill area, Lindemann said he's not done making an impact on the county.

He said if re-elected, a goal of the next term is to set up some sort of overlay zoning district around S.C. 160 West and Gold Hill Road. This would give the county some way to gain more control over the rapidly growing area.

• District 2, Tom Smith: Also in his first term, Smith said the county is moving in the right direction.

"There's just too much going on to step down now," he said.

Smith, who represents Clover/Lake Wylie wants to focus on working on development agreements with large landowners to move higher zoning densities away from Lake Wylie.

• District 3, Joe Cox: A fellow freshman, Cox said he wants to keep fighting for roads and fire substation needs in western York County.

"I want to be able to say my roads are in good shape, and to do that, I have to keep fighting," he said.

Even with unfinished Pennies for Progress projects in the western parts of the county, Cox said he thinks the program has boosted the area. He'd also like to see the county look at a waste-to-energy system instead of relying on other counties to take York County's trash.

• District 4, Roy Blake: He's in his second term representing the district and wasn't available to comment on the election last week. District 4 covers western parts of Rock Hill.

• District 5, Curwood Chappell: Chappell said he probably would seek a ninth term, despite saying in 2006 that this term would be his last. District 5 covers parts of southern Rock Hill and southern York County.

• District 6, Buddy Motz: The current chairman said he has enjoyed spending the last decade serving his district. District 6 covers northern Rock Hill.

He wants to help complete the transition of moving Pennies management in-house, continue to find money for the S.C. 5 bypass and other 1997 program projects and begin to make plans for the next referendum. Motz said he also wants to continue recruiting quality businesses that will provide jobs and help keep the county's residential and commercial tax ratio in balance.

• District 7, Rick Lee: Lee said he still has a lot of items on his agenda that he would like to accomplish in a fifth term. These include an adequate public facilities ordinance and allowing growth without dramatically altering the quality of life in York County. District 7 covers the urban areas of Rock Hill.

"If challengers emerge, I'm ready," he said. "I have my bicycle ready to go door-to-door again."

Filing will be held March 17 through 31. Speculation about some possible challengers in some districts include previous council members Jeff Updike and Steve McNeely.