The Rincon Reese Browher has known since he moved to Effingham at age 7 is a lot different from the town where he and his wife live and raise their new baby daughter.
Through all the changes he’s seen as a resident and now a two-term city council member, one thing he is glad to see is the abolition of city-imposed property taxes. He hopes it stays that way, too.
“I want to make sure Rincon remains property tax free,” he said.
Not having a millage, though, means being diligent and scrutinizing every expenditure request.
“Any kind of profligate spending, I’m against,” Browher said.
The lack of millage — the millage rate was abolished nearly more than 10 years ago — has helped spur Rincon’s growth, according to Browher.
“I think that has a lot to do with the growth we have experienced. Rincon has probably better than doubled its population,” he said. “We’ve seen a tremendous amount of commercial growth. We’ve seen a tremendous amount in the last two years.”
Yet even with a property tax revenue stream, the city’s finances are in excellent shape, Browher said.
“I think that is a testament to the present and past stewardship of the councils,” he said.
Browher is proud of some of the things he’s been able to accomplish in eight years on the council. Working with then-council member Frank Owens, Browher and the city were able to get the money to have Jaycee Park completely refurbished and to add the veterans’ monument.
“It gives me great pride every time I ride by,” he said. “There’s few weekends when it’s not full of kids and birthday parties. It gives me a lot of satisfaction to see that.”
Recently, Browher and fellow council member Levi Scott worked to get Atlantic Avenue Park re-done. It’s in operation now, though a few more things need to be added, Browher said.
He’s also happy he was able to help bring about the donation of the city’s first post office.
“I hated to see that deteriorate,” Browher said.
He also backed an ordinance that prohibits anyone convicted of a sexually-related crime to be a coach in Rincon’s recreation department. Browher is a child protective services investigator for the Department of Family and Children Services.
“I think that’s very important,” he said of the new ordinance.
Browher also backs establishing a recycling program, either through setting up a central collection point or a drop-off system. Rincon may need to work with the county or a private entity for that to happen, but he would like to see it done.
“We need to be responsible stewards,” he said, “and make it convenient for people.”
Roads, improving current ones and looking where to put future ones, is also a priority. Browher wants the city to continue its resurfacing program and he wants to take a look at partnering with the county, state and federal governments to help relieve some of the congestion on Rincon area roads.
“Unfortunately, some of these things can’t get done overnight,” he said. “But we have to be diligent for five to 10 years planning down the road to make this happen.”
He enjoys being able to make policy as a council member, but he really enjoys being able to help people who have a problem, be something as simple as a pothole or having limbs picked up.
“I enjoy that about public service,” he said.
The expansion of Rincon he’s seen is going to continue, Browher believes. The question is, how rapidly will it take place.
“We’re talking about managed growth,” he said. “That’s the appropriate way to describe it. We continue to grow at a managed pace and get a wider variety of businesses.”
The soon-to-open Lowe’s and Goody’s means Rincon area residents won’t have to go to Pooler.
“I think we have made tremendous strides,” Browher said.
Though city government isn’t a business, per se, Browher believes some aspects, such as customer service, can be applied. He also wants the city’s turnover rate in employees cut down.
“We’ve gone through some vicissitudes the last couple of years,” he said. “We need to let our staff learn and grow so they can be more effective in serving Rincon.”
Browher said his campaign is focusing on positives, not negatives.
“We have to continue to look forward and do what’s best for Rincon and not be influenced by people who would want to be negative,” he said.