Sutton: City should be run like a business

in Election 2016 by
Nannette Brown Sutton
Nannette Brown Sutton

I’m running for council because I believe in public service and I want to represent the city as a longtime citizen, hometown girl and business owner.

I’ve been civically involved for 16 years and eight of those years attended Beaufort City Council meetings.

Attending council meetings provided a great unexpected education in how our municipality works and the complexity of small town politics.

I believe the city is in good financial shape and being managed well. We are fortunate to have one of the best city managers we have had in some time who continues to clearly and professionally manage the difficult task of providing quality services with marginal funding.

Thank you Bill Prokop.

Bill and his staff have leveraged your tax revenue to get the most out of every dollar. Many capital improvements completed in recent years have been funded by up to 75 percent in grant funding, allowing for the completion of projects without raising taxes.

I’ve sustained a small business for 16 years in downtown Beaufort so I know what it means to run a business and that’s how the city should be run, like a business.

Some of the issues I believe that are important are regional growth and its impact on our infrastructure. Our city is directly impacted by the increase in development and the changes in traffic volumes on our roadways.

I believe the city of Beaufort must continue to be well represented during all discussions related to land use, annexation and development. I believe it’s important that local governments recognize the value that quality in-fill development can bring to neighborhoods. In-fill development utilizes existing infrastructure and services.

We must also broaden the city’s tax base.

By broadening the tax base within existing city corporate boundaries we are able to provide continued quality service to our citizens and visitors without adding additional unintended impacts.

I believe that in-fill growth is smart growth and I will continue working diligently to broaden our tax base, which then enables us to lower taxes. The bottom line is that with more payers into our system we can afford to lower costs, which relates to lower tax needs.

Economic development is another issue. Beaufort is no different than the larger community around us in that we need more job opportunities beyond what we have now. We need higher paying jobs, jobs that will attract younger citizens and diversify our workforce. Simply put, we need to work harder at giving young people a reason to stay and raise their families in Beaufort.

Another important issue facing Beaufort is the vulnerability of our electrical distribution system to coastal storms. Hurricane Matthew clearly demonstrated that we must continue the discussion on how the service is provided including demanding the burial of the power lines. With continued use of the NSSF, Non Standard Service Franchise agreement, we can work towards getting the difficult job of burying lines, but it will take time.

Currently there is over $1.7 million being set aside over the next eight years that may be used with other non-tax dollars to accomplish the work in our neighborhoods.

I learned some important lessons attending eight years of city council meetings. One is that there are always two sides to every story. The other is you have to do your homework. I will do the homework, but most importantly I’m not a politician and I will always tell you the real story.

Photo of Nannette Brown Sutton by Susan Deloach.