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Lee to seek second term
Rincon mayor qualifies for re-election
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Rincon Mayor Ken Lee has filed to seek another term.

Lee has been mayor for four years and previously had been involved with the IDA as vice-chairman and had been a past Effingham Chamber of Commerce president.

“The growth has been tremendous,” he said. “Years ago, it was coming so fast and furious, we couldn’t get lines in the ground fast enough, and it presented problems, such as our water usage.”

The mayor said that this recent economic downturn has given the city time to address the infrastructure needs.

“I fully expect to see the kind of growth come again that was here in the last several years,” Lee said. “The city is not sitting on its hands right now — we’re doing things to be prepared for that.”

Lee said he was proud of, and had campaigned previously on, improving the city’s relationships outside its boundaries.

“The one thing that I campaigned on and that I felt like we needed to do differently was to improve our relationships with other entities,” he said.

He cited earlier problems in working with the state Environmental Protection Division and with the county and said he was extremely proud of how both of those relationships had improved.

Lee said the city still needs to finish working on city water issues and that includes water reuse.

“We’re going to be severely restricted as to our discharge into the Savannah River,” he said. “Our next challenge is going to be to find a proper way to discharge that without discharging into the river. That’s probably our top priority.”

Three Rincon residents have qualified so far for the three council seats up for election this year. Frank Owens, who has served, before is running, as are Joseph Neal Atkins and Teresa Witt.

Witt said she decided to run for a council seat because, as a tae kwon do instructor, she works in the community with a lot of parents and has heard a lot of people complain about what the city has done.

“I thought I’d step up for the people,” she said.

Atkins echoed her sentiments.

“I’m concerned about what’s going on with the city council,” he said.

Atkins cited past dismissals of the police chief and city manager and said he had to wonder why they had been hired in the first place. He also noted the ongoing situation between the city and Herman Woods.

“It seems like cooler heads could have prevailed there,” Atkins said. “Maybe there’s a void in leadership there.”

Lee also said that transportation and future development are also hot button topics.

“A big part of that will be this research development tract that IDA has — the ability to take roads into that, primarily for growth — commercial growth. We’re so restricted right now,” he said. “Most of our commercial growth has been along the (Highway) 21 corridor and we need another corridor that will take us to the west side.”

Lee added that, if done properly, the mayor and council’s duties are time-consuming.

“And I believe we’ve done it properly,” he said. “We’ve got a council that’s committed to it. They’ve never backed up from whatever number of meetings we have — workshops or whatever — and I think some of the council members who have served for longer than I have would probably tell you that we have spent more time these last four years than they ever did previously.”

Lee also said that he and the council members are always accessible.

“They know where to get me. They know where I am,” he said.

Qualifying closes today at 4:30 p.m. The elections will be held Nov. 3.