They oversee some of the most basic services, but voters may not be aware of the work elected public service officials do to help provide clean drinking water and sewer service for some area residents.
Voters will find lone candidates on their ballots Tuesday for a number of seats on area public service commissions, including both Beaufort and Jasper county Soil and Water Conservation Districts, Hilton Head Island's Public Service District and Fripp Island Public Service District. All serve four-year terms.
Hilton Head Service District
Commissioners oversee the drinking water supply, wastewater collection and treatment. Three candidates are running unopposed for three seats.
Herbert Ford, 57, who is vying for the island's sub-district 1 seat says he seeks to bring water and sewer service to islanders who lack it. Dorothy Law, who now holds the seat, is not running for re-election.
"I want to work toward educating others in the district of existing low-cost loans that could be used to finance this much-needed service," Ford said.
Fellow candidates Bob Gentzler, 67, the board's vice chairman, and commissioner Frank Drehwing, 76, a retired engineer, say they will continue work to eliminate salt-water intrusion of the island's water supply.
Fripp Island Service District
Commissioners oversee fire protection, erosion control and maintenance of the island's bridge.
Candidates Jim Parks, 67, and Patrick Reilly, 78, both retired engineers, are running for two at-large seats.
Reilly, who has served as a commissioner on Fripp for14 years, said he hopes to maintain the quality of service islanders have come to expect from their waste treatment plant.
"We have developed a state-of-the-art treatment facility that makes us the envy of many other municipalities in the country," Reilly said.
Park said he will champion the installation of a new water supply pipeline crossing at the island's bridge to replace a line severely damaged by a contractor in 2009.
Jasper County Soil and Water Conservation District
Members Helen Pittman, 58, and Thomas G. Stanley Jr., 41, who are both seeking re-election, said education is an important function of the board.
Pittman said collaboration with local, regional, state and federal agencies and individuals will help protect the area's natural resources.
"It is never too late to become a steward of the land and water," Stanley said.
Beaufort County Soil and Water Conservation District
St. Helena residentsLuke Inabinett, 76, and Ors Sanders, who could not be reached for comment, seek two seats.
"I know just about every ditch in the entire county and I've always done a good job keeping things clean and in place," Inabinett said, a retired county employee, farmer and builder. "Backed up water creates breeding grounds for mosquitoes and disease. More people need to get involved to help clean up these ditches."