City Council Elections scheduled for Nov. 2

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October 11, 2021 by Scott Crosby - Views: 69

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City Council Elections scheduled for Nov. 2

Every two years half of the seats on the Fountain Inn City Council are up for election.  In 2019, voters chose the Mayor and those who would take Council seats for Wards 2, 4, and 6.  On November 2nd, Fountain Inn voters will be determining who represents Wards 1, 3, and 5.  

Fountain Inn City Council Seats – like those for most towns in the state – are non-partisan.   Candidates do not state a party affiliation.  

In Ward 1, the incumbent has retired.  The candidates for Ward 1 are Jason Sanders and Flora Smith.

In Ward 3, the incumbent is AJ Dearybury.  The challenger is Joey Garrett.

In Ward 5, the incumbent is Anthony Cunningham.  The challenger is John Don.


Ward 1 Candidates

Challenger Jason B. Sanders has lived in Fountain Inn for almost 9 years.  He has been married for over 17 years, and has 4 children, aged 5 to 12.  He attended Presbyterian College, and works at Prisma Health, in the healthcare financing department.

Mr. Sanders and his family very much enjoy Fountain Inn’s charm and small-town feel.  He understands that growth is important, and that stagnation brings decline.  As a Councilman, his goal would be to manage the growth that is occurring in Fountain Inn, assuring the preservation of its small-town charm.

He is a strong supporter of the public safety departments in Fountain Inn.  His father-in-law is a retired policeman and fireman, giving him a strong family perspective.  He appreciates seeing the Fire Department’s trucks and equipment at school sporting events, introducing youngsters to some of the details of fire-fighting.

Mr. Sanders also supports Fountain Inn’s Parks and Recreations program, believing that parks serve an important benefit by providing kids with areas to play.  He sees a need to expand and add programs, which he believes is something that goes hand-in-hand with the city’s growth.  

He believes that managing that growth and handling it properly are key to Fountain Inn keeping its charm.  Woodruff Road serves as a stark contrast to what he sees as Fountain Inn’s future direction.  Economic development must be made a strategic consideration.  New businesses and new homes add to the tax base, but the infrastructure to support them must exist beforehand.  Expansion is fine, he says, but Fountain inn’s small-town feel is a major part of its attraction, and must be preserved.  

Mr. Sanders enjoys budgeting and finance, and looks forward to using his professional skills as a City Council member to keep the city affordable.

Challenger Flora Smith did not respond to inquiries, and was not interviewed.  

 Ward 3 Candidates

AJ Dearybury and her husband Ben have been married 17 years, and have 6 children – and 4 dogs!  AJ currently works for an attorney; she had previously worked for the South Carolina Autism Society as an advocate and parent mentor for 22 years.  They and their family have lived in the Golden Strip area since 2005, and moved into Fountain Inn’s Fountainbrook subdivision in 2016.  She has been on the HOA’s Board for 5 years, and for the past 3 years has been its President.  With that and her professional background, it should be no surprise that, in her words, she is used to managing a budget, managing people, and advocating for changing needs.

While AJ is the incumbent in the Ward 3 Council seat election, she has only served on Council for the past 2 years, winning a special election after the prior Council member had stepped down.  During that time, she feels she has worked well with the rest of Council and the City Administrator.

Her major areas of focus have included the Sanctified Hill Park.  That part of the city is not only within her Ward, but also is in Laurens County.  It is built on top of a landfill, so some special precautions must be taken prior to any construction of structures, etc.  AJ has made sure that city residents are involved and provide inputs on the Park’s features, as well as that of other City Parks.

AJ also works to build the infrastructure needed to meet the city’s growth – especially hiring quality police and fire personnel.  In support of that effort, she wants to assure that the City offers competitive wages.  The City’s Fire Department staff now includes certified EMTs, and the Police Department now includes two new school resource officers in the high school, and a full-time Codes Enforcement Officer.

Codes enforcement goes hand-in-hand with the City’s efforts to assure zoning is defined to best manage growth.  Growth is coming, prepared or not, she says, and she and the other members of Council work to determine what the City wants to achieve with its growth.  The City Council and the City’s Planning Commission have handled that growth well, so far, and is working to continue that success into the future.

AJ believes the City has handled its finances well in the last few years.  She believes that careful budgeting should continue to be the City’s goal.  Keeping the millage rate down is part of keeping Fountain Inn friendly to families and to businesses.  

AJ says she enjoys being on Fountain Inn’s City Council, working for the goals and vision that everyone has for the City, and keeping the interests of the residents – and the City’s employees – first and foremost.

Challenger Joey Garrett says he has been encouraged several times over the years to run for the Fountain Inn City Council.  As a former police officer and fireman, he knows how the City works.

Professionally, Joey owns a business that provides the maintenance of underground water, septic, and sewer systems.  

As a result, he is familiar with the Public Works Department.  As a Council member Joey would work to assure that the City’s infrastructure would be developed to support the city’s growth, and to assure that City employees are heard.  

Joey’s efforts on City Council would also include other parts of the infrastructure to support growth.  Roads in particular, he says, must keep up with growth, as new subdivisions are constructed.

He adds that, when that growth is a result of annexation, Fire and Police must be capable of supporting the new area.

Joey’s goals are best summed up by the sentence, “Let the peoples’ voice be heard.”

Ward 5 Candidates

Incumbent Anthony Cunningham did not respond to inquiries, and was not interviewed.  

Challenger John Don moved to Fountain Inn 2 ½ years ago, and was married in a ceremony in Fountain Inn in 2019, to Mary Langston.  He worked for former Congressman and now Senator Tim Scott for nine years, and now works at Anderson University, as the President’s Chief of Staff.  

John is running for City Council due to his interest in the path the city is taking towards its future and his desire to be involved in determining and shaping the city’s growth.  He wants to preserve the charm and culture that make Fountain Inn attractive, and to assure that its growth best serves the interests of its residents.

In a number of ways, John shows a clear interest in the well-being of Fountain Inn residents.  When discussing public safety, he is quick to say that ensuring the safety of residents is the City’s number one priority.  He also believes that Fountain Inn’s parks are important to the quality of life for Fountain Inn families.

John considers Fountain Inn to be “the best-kept secret in the Upstate”.  How Fountain Inn’s future will unfold, he believes, will depend on maintaining “the city’s business-competitiveness, while also continuing to grow in a responsible manner.”  Fountain Inn’s assets include its proximity to Greenville, and it Interstate frontage.  Businesses realize that Fountain Inn is a special place, and want to be a part of it.

As a fiscal conservative, John wants to assure that the City lives within its means; that taxes come from residents and businesses, and he is against any increases, which he views as an unnecessary burden.  He wants to see that Fountain Inn remains a positive business environment, especially for local and small businesses, as well as an affordable place for families to raise their children and live out their lives.

John’s goal as a City Council member is to be known for being accessible to residents.  “It is imperative that I hear from residents,” he says, “and it is imperative that I seek out residents.”

Vote for Your Candidates on November 2nd !

The voting is likely to be close!  Your vote can make all the difference!  Vote November 2nd for your choices for the Fountain Inn City Council!■


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