By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Rincon candidate questionnaires
Placeholder Image

<>Editor's note: Here are the questionnaires we have sent out to candidates and their response sent back to the Herald.

Rank the following in importance and describe briefly how each should be addressed: 

<>Rincon candidates 

<>Reese Browher

<>1) Roads and Transportation:  I pushed and will continue to push for alternate routes to Highway 21 in order to relieve the congestion that road experiences on a daily basis.  Council needs to work with DOT and partner with the county in an effort to ensure Rincon's traffic flows quickly.  Council has been looking at widening Fort Howard road and I am a proponent of doing that.  Lastly, roads that we currently have in the city need to be well maintained.

<>2) Water and Sewer:  We need to continue, as we have been, working to meet our long term needs for water capacity.  EPD has mandated that Rincon tie onto the surface water line and that project should be completed in 2008.  The wastewater treatment plant is currently being upgraded to ensure that Rincon can meet the current demand and future demand on that system.  Council must look years down the road and have foresight so that the city does not get in a position of having too little capacity for these vital services.

<>3) Recreational opportunities:  I have taken great pride in being a driving force behind the refurbishment of Rincon Jaycee Veterans Memorial Park.  I also take great pride in being instrumental in the construction of the brand new park on Atlantic Avenue and West 7th Street.  I will push for the development of Patriot Park and Kessler Park so that Rincon can meet the recreational demands of all children and adults.  Rincon has an excellent recreational program, but council needs to continue to look at ways to provide services for our senior citizens and adults as well as our children.

<>4) Economic opportunities:  I am pro-business.  The addition of Lowes, Tractor Supply, and Goody's are among many new businesses that have chosen to locate in Rincon.  However, council must actively work with individuals who are looking to bring in new businesses.  I would like to see more restaurants locate in Rincon our citizens have a greater variety to select from.

What specific quality or qualities do you bring to the position?  When I am no longer on council, I would be liked to be remembered as a councilman who helped the individual citizen with their problem.  I take pride and get a tremendous amount of satisfaction when someone calls me with a problem that I can help them with.  I make no promises other than I will call you back and do all in my power to help you, the citizen, get your problem resolved.  I also strongly believe Rincon should continue to spend the people's money wisely so that we will not have property taxes.  I will do all in my power to ensure that Rincon remains property tax free.

Would you support a referendum to allow liquor by the drink sales?  Why or why not?  My position on this has not changed since it came up 2-3 years ago.  It requires 35% of the registered voters in Rincon to sign a petition in order to get it on the referendum.  If 35% of those people sign, then it will be on the ballot.

<><><><>Peter Higgins

<><><><>1) Roads and transportation: Roads and transportation are the top issues affecting the growing populous of Effingham County.  With Rincon as the hub of the county and the gateway to Savannah and I-95, it is imperative we solve these problems today to ease the congestion of tomorrow.  We must look at expanding lanes on Highway 21, the synchronization of the existing traffic lights, and open new corridors to Chatham County and the feeder roads that take us to the Interstates.  The Old Augusta Highway truck by-pass is scheduled to begin construction in December 2007, with its first phase completed in December of the following year.  By December 2009 it is tentatively scheduled for its completion with it ending at Ebenezer Road.  This project is essential for the alleviation of heavy truck traffic through the middle of our town.
This is only the first of many steps.  We will have to embrace other forms of regionalism in regards to solving our other transportation troubles.  We must work with the State Department of Transportation and our neighboring counties and cities to help find solutions that are win-wins for all stake-holders.
We are fortunate that our State Assembly delegation has a strong knowledge of these issues, but we must pressure them and the State Government to enhance spending on road construction here and not in Atlanta.

2) Economic Opportunities: Rincon is exploding and we are ripe with economic opportunities.  Banks are opening, shopping is becoming available, and quality boutiques are popping up on Highway 21.  But what does the future hold?
We need to determine what we want to be.  We must encourage several types of businesses to the greater Rincon area.  We need more heavy industry, enhanced warehouse sectors for mega-stores, and we need full-service restaurants, all of which will not only bring in more sales tax dollars into our economy, but will create more local jobs for our residents. 

3) Water and sewer: Living near the ocean, water is everywhere, but the real issue is potable water for consumption.  We as a region have been struggling with balancing the needs of our own consumption from the Florida Aquifer and the needs of our industry.  But the biggest threat looming may be requirements (Army Corps of Engineers) placed on us to provide water to Atlanta.  As many of us know and realize, most of the Southeast is suffering from a drought.  However, the Coastal Empire has been brought close to being normal (for its annual rainfall) by the summer and fall rains. 
Water, like transportation, must be solved locally, and hopefully, without interference from the Federal Government that is draining Lake Lanier, Atlanta’s primary water source, to provide water to Georgia, Alabama, and Florida.  

Effingham is exploding as more people find Rincon and South Effingham a desirable place to live and commute from.  With that comes the need for more water and more sewage systems.  Rincon’s government leaders have, in the past, been detrimental to the building of Rincon and an agitator to the Environmental Protection Division (EPD).  We need to work cooperatively with all governmental agencies to insure a seat at the table while still being strong on what Rincon needs. 

4) Recreational opportunities: The opening of the new YMCA along with BodyWorks has given a fantastic opportunity for both our young and old to maintain a healthy wellness program.  However, not everyone participates in rigorous activities as these two facilities have to offer.   Martial Arts Academies, Dance Studios, Gymnastics Centers, Soccer Fields, and Sports Complexes offer another form of entertainment for our youth, but where is the family outreach?  What we really need is family oriented facilities such as Bowling Alleys, Minature Golf Courses, Movie Theaters, Water Parks, Nature trails, and the like.  “A family that plays and prays together….Stays together,” a wise man once said.   I’m all about family and I don’t want to travel to other counties with my tax dollars to enjoy these entertainment activities.

What specific quality or qualities do you bring to the position?
Through my days as a student in college and as a businessman, I have kept my hand on the pulse of the future.  I am a planner, plain and simple.  I weigh the pros and cons of an issue and move forward.
However, my most important quality is my unflinching ethical standard.  I won’t be a politician who uses his post or his friends for his own future gains.  If elected, I will consider it a privilege to serve you and to represent you.  I will be ethical in my conduct and moral in my courage. 

Would you support a referendum to allow liquor by the drink sales? Why or why not?
First and foremost, let me say this upfront, I am opposed to Rincon becoming a haven for liquor stores and seedy bars!  However, I do believe that for the future growth and economic development, full-service restaurants should be allowed in Rincon before they establish themselves in Port Wentworth and we lose that tax revenue to Chatham County.  As everyone that travels North on Highway 21 can see, two national grocery chains have either set up or are in the first stage of developing new locations.  With that, a well known full service restaurant has already made plans to open at the Rice Hope / Rice Creek complex (nine hundred plus homes, at build out, with eighteen thousand plus residents).  Once these chains set up in Chatham County, they will not come five (5) more miles down the road to Rincon.  However, if we could attract them (18,000 customers) here, then we would be the benefactors of the sales tax that they would generate.  With that said, it should be very clear that there is an ever growing need for full-service restaurants to come to Effingham and the logical place is in the heart of the population, which is Rincon.  Yes to full-service restaurants (AppleBees, LongHorns, Olive Garden, etc.) and a big NO to seedy bars and package stores!   I firmly believe that a referendum should be placed on the ballot and let the citizens of Rincon decide what is best for them and their community in this regard.

Jeff Kublin

<><><><>1. Roads and Transportation: On the top of everyone’s list is the subject of roads and transportation.  This issue goes beyond convenience in that it affects response time for emergency vehicles.  Not only do we need to solve our current problem, we need to look to future infrastructure needs.  I will work to expedite the building and completion of the Effingham Parkway and the Rincon Bypass.  This will help alleviate the “through traffic” problem.  But, we also need to address the “local traffic” problem.  The building of alternate streets in the city is needed to disperse local traffic. 

2. Water and Sewer: Everyone is aware that Rincon has had difficulty providing sufficient water for its current needs and for future growth.  The city has resolved its legal issues with the state and appears to finally have a plan that can resolve our long-standing issues with available water.  This plan needs to be understood by all of our citizens and implemented as quickly as possible.  At the same time, Rincon has expanded its sewer capacity and is in the process of upgrading the discharge from the wastewater treatment plant.  I will work to insure that we have plans in both areas that look at future needs and meet them in a way that minimizes cost to current and future citizens of Rincon.

3. Recreational opportunities: Recreational opportunities strengthen neighborhood and community relationships. In addition to the physical fitness benefits for all of us, they provide a great alternative for our youth who might otherwise engage in harmful pursuits.  I favor moving forward with the development of a new facility on the north side of the City, next to the new YMCA.   Opportunity exists to develop nature trails and picnic areas at the Diane Kessler Memorial Park which was donated to the city years ago.  We also need an improved senior center in Rincon, where the older members of our community can have easy access to the pursuits which they enjoy.  We need to entice commercial investments in bowling lanes, movie theatres and other forms of entertainment.  I also favor the building of bike trails and lanes in the City.

4. Economic opportunities: Growth in this sector of our community will keep our taxes from continually climbing and will provide increased employment opportunities.  Rincon can support commercial and industrial expansion with skilled and unskilled labor.  Expansion of entertainment and recreational facilities would also provide an economic boost for Rincon.

What specific quality or qualities do you bring to the position?
I have been in positions of leadership ever since I can remember, often serving as the president of clubs and other organizations in which I have become involved.  I appreciate the confidence that people have shown in my abilities as they have realized that I get things done.  My decisions and actions are based on reason and common sense.  It is important to gather the facts, evaluate them, and then take appropriate action based on that information.  I got involved in community service activities years ago, long before I ever considered running for any public office.  I have always believed that if you live in a community, it is your obligation to give something back to that community. 

Would you support a referendum to allow liquor by the drink sales? Why or why not?
Some folks have indicated a desire to have “full service” restaurants which would open the door for more dining opportunities in Rincon and would increase city revenue.  Others have expressed concerns, citing alcohol would be a detriment to our community.   
It is too important of an issue to be decided by as few as four members of the Council.  A referendum is in order.  We live in a democracy.  Let the residents of Rincon decide.

George Saraf

<><><>1) Roads and transportation — Frontage roads, limited access to major highways, interconnecting roads to adjoining subdivisions. Open new major roads to adjoining subdivisions. Open new major roads throughout county to relieve traffic on Highway 21.

2) Water and sewer — Conservation of existing water supply and actually using reuse water instead of just talking about it. Require all new developments to install water reuse lines.

3) Recreational opportunities — With the influx of new people we need more areas for recreation. Require all new development to set proposed rec areas or set aside a percentage of the value of each land parcel to be used to upkeep and develop new areas.

4)  Economic opportunities — This will happen automatically if you take good care of the other three items.

What specific quality or qualities do you bring to the position?
Seventeen and a half years experience in elective office and being deeply involved in all aspects of the above mentioned items.

Would you support a referendum to allow liquor by the drink sales? Why or why not?
Yes. Drinking is a personal issue, not a political issue. If you don’t drink, you won’t buy the stuff. If you do drink to the excess, we have laws and courts to handle it.

 Paul Wendelken

 1. Water and Sewer-I feel this is the most important at present because for everything else to fall into place we have to be able to provide water and sewer to our existing customers, as well as, providing for new customers.  Without enough capacity we cannot add homes or businesses to our system and therefore, growth slows if not stops, altogether.  We are working diligently to obtain long-term water and sewer capacity for Rincon.  We are upgrading our Wastewater Treatment Plant to be able to use Re-use quality water.  We will be using some combination of Groundwater and treated Surface water from Savannah to solve our water issues. 
          2. Roads and Transportation-Like Water and Sewer, without ways to move about the city in a reasonable amount of time, the other issues can pale in importance. There is a red light that has been approved as a safety issue by DOT for Highway 21 and 9th Street for about 2 years but we are still waiting on that.  Council is looking at alternate routes like extending Lexington Avenue since it runs parallel to Highway 21.  We know that Fort Howard Road is a major traffic concern.  We know that adding lanes to Fort Howard Road may cost millions but it is being thought about and talked about amongst Council. 
           3. Economic Opportunities-City Council is always open to and looking for economic opportunities inside the City of Rincon.  I know there is a lot of discussion that we need movie theaters, bowling alleys, and things for younger people to do.  What everyone has to realize though, is that building movies theaters, bowling alleys, etc. is not a function of government.  Those are private ventures by businesses that want to come into Rincon and open these types of locations.  I would definitely support those opportunities.  I would like to continue to bring in new businesses like Tractor Supply and Lowe's while at the same time supporting the other businesses that are already here in Rincon.
           4. Recreational Opportunities-The City offers a number of recreational opportunities, the most of which are for our youth such as baseball, softball and soccer.  We just buit a new park on Atlantic Avenue which costs in the neighborhood of $300,000.  We are also looking at building tennis courts at Patriot Park.  That has been an ongoing project for a number of years but hopefully in the next year we can complete that project.  We also have programs for Seniors at the Vernon C. Hinely Community Center.
What specific quality or qualities do  you bring to the position?           
The specific qualities that I bring to the position are experience and commitment along with an enjoyment of the job.  I have 12 years on Council and feel privileged to have represented the people of Rincon.  I look at what's best for the City.  We have not had City Property Taxes for the last 8 years and my goal is to continue without Property Taxes for as long as we can.  With proper and efficient management we should be able to do that.  I believe in running the City like a business and if I wouldn't use my checkbook on something then I shouldn't be willing to use the City's checkbook on something.  As far as commitment, I've missed very few meetings in my 12 years and with having my own business here in Rincon, I am in a position to be available during the day for City business, also.  I enjoy serving my City of which I've lived essentially all my life and ask for the people's support for another term.
Would you support a referendum to allow liquor by the drink sales? 
As far as a refererdum on allowing liquor by the drink, I would support what the majority of the citizens of Rincon are for.  I represent the citizens of Rincon.  However, in saying that, there hasn't been anyone in the last 2 years or more that has come to a Council meeting and requested that we do anything regarding that subject.  The last 2 referendums had on that subject showed the people of Effingham County and the people of Rincon were not for liquor by the drink.