Elise Partin - Creating Solutions that Work for Cayce
It’s time, once again, to speak to you as both Cayce’s mayor and as candidate for what I consider one of the most fulfilling jobs imaginable: working with all of you to make Cayce great.
I love Cayce, and I love its people. That’s why I first decided to run for mayor in a special election in 2008. I was frustrated that our city and its residents were not being treated with respect and that taxpayer money was being squandered on ill-considered, secret deals. When elected, I focused on areas that seemed the most critical for Cayce’s health and long-term growth. In just two years we created a safer community, enabled citizens to become more engaged with an open, responsive government, and managed to improve quality of life and begin the city’s first business development initiative – without spending taxpayer dollars. This was the foundation for a stronger Cayce.
When you re-elected me in 2010, we began building on that foundation by identifying three priorities.
Meeting the needs of residents is my first job and it takes many forms but the basis for all initiatives is communication and resident well-being. It’s making sure you have the background information and opportunity to participate in your city’s decision making. We keep residents fully informed through Facebook and Twitter and a new, more relevant website. It’s hiring a customer services manager for utility billing. We’ve also updated our phone and high speed data capabilities and hired a full-time IT director whose job is to increase efficiency and ease whenever you have dealings with your city. Finally, in a past year which saw a water main break, fire and flooding, Cayce demonstrated solid crisis management by dealing with the problems while keeping residents informed and helping those directly affected.
Cayce has become a far more vibrant, self-sustaining city in the past six years because we know that businesses won’t make investments in cities that don’t invest in themselves. We have new lighting, sidewalks and landscaping in the heart of the city, a new welcome sign, a master plan for Knox Abbott Drive, an increased trail system and other improvements for Riverwalk Park and have an agreement with the National Park Service for the 12,000 Year History Park project. The success of this approach has been evident: The Cayce Tennis and Fitness Center, the Concord Park residential development which has become a top seller in the region, the Centennial Square at the Brickworks, The Jewelry Warehouse, LMC Otarre, Marcos, Dunkin’ Donuts, new apartments, and an increase in water and sewer customers with an Amazon Distribution Center, Nephron, the State Farmers Market and The Coop, USC’s new golf facility.
Wise Use of Taxpayer Dollars
In 2013, we had a positive change in the fund balance, a first in nine years, due to cost controls, budgetary maintenance and proper management of operations. We have never curtailed smart or necessary expenditures when they improve our residents’ lives but we do seek grant funding to help us achieve goals. For instance, using a grant from Lexington County, we replaced antiquated water lines. We have also received grants for more efficient lighting in City Hall that helped save taxpayer money. We helped residents receive grants for making their homes more energy efficient. And we replaced decrepit Public Safety vehicles with vehicles requiring less maintenance. A lower ISO rating due to better equipment means residents save on their insurance. Now in 2014, I intend to retain these priorities as my marching orders. I will continue to ensure that we prioritize doing basic services well while maintaining open communications, enhancing and nurturing opportunities for businesses and families to become established within Cayce, and to make careful decisions to protect hard earned tax dollars of our residents.
Today, as Cayce approaches its 100th birthday in September, we should feel great pride in our city, one of the best run, most forward-looking in the state. Working together – residents, businesses, city staff and council members -- we can make Cayce an even better place to live, work and visit.