Politics & Government

YORK COUNTY COUNCIL: Council candidates differ on chairman, user fees

Republican Joe Cox says his experience as mayor of Sharon well-qualifies him to serve as western York County's councilman.

Democrat Will Bigger says his experience as class president at Francis Marion University and working for various political campaigns qualifies him for the same seat.

The two are the final contenders in a tumultuous race for the District 3 County Council position. Both live in small towns far from York, the traditional county seat.

They have different opinions about two of the biggest issues for the upcoming council: Who will be the next council chairman, and who should pay fees associated with the county's upcoming state-of-the-art 800 MHz radio system.

Cox says he would support Councilman Buddy Motz for chairman because he has watched him in action at council meetings and believes Motz will run meetings smoothly and efficiently.

"As mayor, I limit people's time to five minutes," Cox said. "No one person should be able to monopoloize a meeting. If you can't figure out what you're going to say in five minutes or less, you don't need to be up there arguing."

Bigger says he will not commit to anyone as chairman but will vote for whoever is most qualified and cares most about the entire county, not just Rock Hill.

"This can be a bargaining chip for western York County," Bigger said.

As for the controversial so-called "user fees" for the new 911 radio system, the county has said it will charge about $48.19 a month for outside users to access its new high-tech radio system.

The cities have protested, saying they don't have the money. The county offered a 30-month waiver, but the issue continues to burn among elected officials and public safety responders.

Cox says he understands it will be difficult for small towns especially to come up with the money to access the system. Instead, he recommends adding 25 to 50 cents per house to cover the costs.

The county should reconsider the user fees, Cox said. He has a good rapport with other mayors and can help work out the issue, he said.

Bigger said he thinks cities have enough time to plan for the expense.

"The county will pay a percentage after 30 months," Bigger said. "I think that the municipalities can budget for this. They have 30 months to do it."

County Council members serve two-year terms.