City of Beaufort residents will have four options to fill two seats on City Council in the Nov. 4 election.
The filing period for City Council candidates closed at noon Friday.
Two-term Councilman Mike Sutton, who repeatedly has said he believes in term limits, is not running for re-election. But incumbent Donnie Beer will vie to keep her seat. Joining her in the at-large, nonpartisan election are Phil Cromer, Stephen Murray and a former mayor, Bill Rauch.
The election will result in changes to City Council membership for the first time since Councilman George O'Kelley Jr. won a special election in July 2011 to replace Gary Fordham, who died in office.
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City Council has five members: a mayor and four council members, each elected to four-year terms. Council members receive an annual stipend of $4,800, the mayor, $6,000.
Beer, 72, of Pigeon Point, is a notary and has done wedding consulting for years, although she said that's become a side job. She has sat on City Council for 23 years, is a member of the STARBASE board of directors, is a disaster assistance volunteer with the Red Cross and volunteers with Healing Heroes of the Lowcountry.
Among her priorities are the Boundary Street project, home repairs in the Northwest Quadrant, and preparing for population and economic changes related to F-35B training.
"I hope I've made a difference over the years," she said. "I've worked hard to get some things accomplished and I'd like to continue."
Cromer, 64, recently moved back to the Spanish Point neighborhood with his wife, Amelie, from Columbia. He spent the past 23 years as a risk-management consultant for the Municipal Association of South Carolina. He previously worked for the Lowcountry Council of Governments and served as the Ridgeland town administrator and Port Royal town manager.
"I'd be a new voice on council and I do bring with me experience in government," he said. He lists financial accountability, better leadership, increased transparency, improved intergovernmental cooperation, the Henry C. Chambers Waterfront Park and help for local businesses among his concerns.
Murray, 33, lives in Pigeon Point and is president of Kazoobie Kazoos and the owner of New South Shirts. He sits on the city's Redevelopment Commission and recently completed a term as chairman of the Beaufort Regional Chamber of Commerce's board of trustees. His priorities are preserving the city's natural, historical and cultural resources; a more business-like approach to collecting and spending taxes; open government; and a pro-business attitude.
"I hope to bring a fresh perspective," he said. "One of a small business owner, a native Beaufortonian and a community volunteer who's been working daily to make Beaufort an even better place to live and raise a family."
Rauch, 63, is a ghostwriter. He leased a home in Cottage Farms Thursday, the day he filed, and is moving in on Monday. He was elected to City Council in 1993 and to the mayor's post for the first of three terms in 1999. He resigned in 2008 in the wake of an inside trading scandal, which he said was resolved when the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission dropped its lawsuit.
Rauch said he's returning to local politics because he sees three areas of need -- the parks and their role in the community, traffic issues and projects, and more accountability in the city budget.
"I bring a lot of experience, but it's not all experience on Beaufort City Council, but with a lot of governements around the country and in New York," he said. "... and, more importantly, I write books for a living, so I don't have any conflicts of interests in the city."
Follow reporter Erin Moody at twitter.com/IPBG_Erin.