From left, top row, Mayor Guynn Savage, Bret McNabb, Councilwoman Lisa Cook, (bottom row) Marc DeJesus, Rick Hayes, and Mike Short.

How to manage the explosive growth of Fort Mill was a hot topic among candidates for mayor and town council as they tackled the issue in a questionnaire from The Fort Mill Sun.

Mayor Guynn Savage said that growth and prosperity come with benefits and challenges. “Our council has worked hard to address this growth and embrace the prosperity,” she said, adding that the growth has resulted in a vibrancy in downtown that she hasn’t seen since she was a child. (Read her full questionnaire here.)

Mayoral challenger Bret McNabb, a local attorney, said the town needs to have balance between residential and commercial development, as well as an infrastructure that can adequately support new residents and patrons. “With growth comes opportunity; however, the opportunities we are faced with can either benefit a very small number of people or our community as a whole,” he said. (Read his full questionnaire here.)

At-large Councilwoman Lisa Cook said she is excited by the revitalization of downtown as a result of the growth. “We can’t close the gates and prevent people from moving here,” she said. “We do need to continue investing in our community’s needs, minimizing residential impact, embracing commercial development and preserving green spaces.” (Read her full questionnaire here.)

At-large challenger Mike Short, who served previously on the town council and county council, said Fort Mill must become more proactive and aggressive in working with the county and the state in regards to the road system.  “While much of York County is facing growing pains, Fort Mill is taking the brunt of the growth,” he said. (Read his full questionnaire here.)

Rick Hayes, who is also running for Cook’s at-large seat, said Fort Mill is overdeveloping the town without transparently addressing its infrastructure.  He said the roads and infrastructure won’t be able to handle it.  “What I would like to do is to hire a master planning and consulting company to help us get our infrastructure and planning moving in the right direction,” he said. (Read his full questionnaire here).  

Ward 4 Challenger Marc DeJesus, who is challenging Councilman Chris Moody, said that growth brings new individuals and families who can enhance and serve our community.  It can also bring new business opportunities while stressing the infrastructure, straining utility services, and contributing to dangerous road conditions. “I would vote for and support controlled growth measures trying to insure infrastructure, security services and utility services kept pace,” he said. (Read his full questionnaire here.)

Ward 4 Councilman Chris Moody is running for re-election but chose not to participate in the questionnaire.

Council positions are non-partisan. Fort Mill residents will vote on Tuesday, Nov. 5.