Elections took place on Friday, July 21, at the Association’s Annual Meeting. When asked about her vision for South Carolina hometowns, here is what Mayor Partin had to say:
How are cities and towns influencing positive change in South Carolina?
Cities and towns are the economic engines of our state and our country. The elected leaders in our hometowns don’t sit on the sidelines. They stand up for their city and town every day — creating great places to live, work and enjoy free time. They are on the front lines in attracting new investment to the state — from recruiting new industries that bring hundreds of jobs to city-owned industrial sites to recruiting small businesses to Main Street. The local level is where things get done.
Decisions made at the city level directly affect the quality of life of residents, visitors and business owners. It’s up to municipal officials to keep residents safe, provide amenities that encourage a positive quality of life and deliver services like garbage pick-up that are essential for daily living. By providing these essential services, officials in our cities and towns provide a solid foundation for South Carolina’s future.
How is the delivery of city services related to a successful South Carolina?
The elected leaders in our cities and towns are on the ground level of delivering services, and they have to get the basics of government right. And they do it with accountability and efficiency to bring measurable results to their communities. Residents and businesses depend on their cities and towns for the basics, the foundation of what makes a great quality of life. For the frightened homeowner surprised by a fire, the fire department responds. For every child who deserves a safe place to play, our hometowns offer parks. For hard working taxpayers, elected city leaders cooperate and compromise to create a place to call home together. Because the residents we represent deserve efficiency and effectiveness, municipal leaders follow through.
In addition, cities and towns in South Carolina have withstood the test of time by adapting to change. Whether it’s meeting the changing needs of residents and business owners or using new technologies to deliver services even more effectively and efficiently, cities and towns have adapted. The result — a South Carolina that is competitive with other states and countries in attracting new investment and industry and creating great places to live.
What do you see as the biggest challenges facing cities and towns?
In a day of shrinking resources and increasing demands and expectations, the elected leaders in our cities and towns must be innovators and problem solvers. Many years ago, cities and towns depended on the federal and state government for much of their funding through grants and direct financial assistance. Today those resources are no longer available. Thankfully, mayors and council members are great conveners and catalyzers, champions of their communities.
Cities and towns don’t have a safety net, so leaders are adept at problem solving and working together for every member of their community. Elected leaders in their hometowns find innovative ways to meet their responsibilities head on. And, the right tools and approaches are not always the same from city to city; therefore, municipal officials must be able to make the decisions that are right for their community. A “one size fits all” approach does not work. And our state is stronger for it!