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Council invites Zeigler for a sit-down
08.08 dusty and rincon
Dusty Zeigler, right, who faces no opposition in November to be Effingham County's first commission chairman at-large, listens to Rincon City Council members Paul Wendelken, Ken Baxley, Reese Browher and Levi Scott. - photo by Photo by Pat Donahue

It’s a little more than five months before Dusty Zeigler takes his seat among the Effingham County commissioners as chairman, but Rincon City Council members wanted his ear anyway Monday night.

Zeigler, at the invitation of the Rincon council, heard the council members’ concerns about a wide variety of issues, ranging from special local option sales tax distribution to fire fees to service delivery area agreements.

“The water issue continues to be our greatest challenge,” Mayor Ken Lee said. “I think we’ve done a pretty good job of working through those things.”

Rincon and the county have gone back and forth for quite a while on different service delivery proposals, the mayor told Zeigler.

“I think we’re getting close,” he said. “I think we’re getting close to resolving that.”

Zeigler, who faced no opposition in the Republican primary last month and faces no Democratic opponent in November, likely will be the first chairman at-large for the commission. Rincon council members expressed their desire to keep open the lines of communication between themselves and their municipalities and to improve their communication with the county.

“Over the last two to three years, there has been a real genuine desire to rebuild those relationships,” Lee said. “Our relationship with the municipalities has never been stronger.”

He added that the county and Rincon are on better terms now than they were a few years ago, but there is still a lot of work to do there.

“Communication — that’s what it’s all about,” he said.

Said Council member Paul Wendelken: “Rincon’s been always willing to work with others.”

Zeigler said his business experience has taught him that communication and synergy are paramount to success. He also was glad to have the Rincon council ask him to come in for an informal chat.

“Those folks made me feel comfortable by inviting me in and voicing their concerns,” he said.

Zeigler, who played for several years in the National Football League before retiring and returning to Effingham County, said he learned a lot while in college at Notre Dame in South Bend, Ind., and living outside of Buffalo, N.Y., and New Jersey. He saw Rust Belt cities that had no plan to grow or to recover from their economic doldrums.

“That’s what motivates me to be part of the county’s growth and in being pro-active,” he said.

Rincon council members also said they try to have more than their city’s own interest in mind when making decisions.

“You can’t love Rincon without loving Effingham County,” Council member Levi Scott said.