Name: George W. Williams Jr.
Age: Turns 70 on Oct. 5
Years living in area: 15
Family: Carroll, wife; two grown daughters
Education: Bachelor of Electrical Engineering, University of Louisville, Louisville, Ky.; Licensed Professional Engineer, Texas
Current occupation/employer: Retired
Previous employment: 30 years with Mobil Oil (now ExxonMobil)
Military history: None listed
Volunteer history: Member of Sea Pines South Beach Owners Association board and officer since 1996; member of Braddock Cove Homeowners board since 1996; served on the CSA nominating committee in the late 1990s and early 2000; served on many committees and boards similar to above throughout my working career. Also was an active member of various business-related professional organizations and was a girls soccer coach when my daughters were young.
Public elected offices: Town Council Ward 5 since 2001
Any unsuccessful political campaigns: None
Other political and government experience: None
Endorsements received: None
S.C. Ethics Commission statement of economic interests: x Campaign money raised: $10,308 in personal income from the Town of Hilton Head Island, plus $724.74 in travel expenses; stockholder of Daufuskie Acquisitions, LLC; received $50 from the Hilton Head Realtor Association for an oyster roast
Campaign money raised: $500 from individual contributions and a $500 loan from a relative, as of the candidate's last filing July 6.
Top three campaign contributors over past six months (amount): $500 from Thomas Hagoort (Hilton Head);
1. Why should people vote for you?
As a council member for the last nine-plus years, I have demonstrated responsiveness to the needs of constituents, fiscal conservatism and strong analytical skills along with strong support for the business community, the arts and town residents. My business background has enabled me to improve and help streamline town procedures and budgeting.
2. What are the three most important issues you would address if elected and how would you address them?
Revitalization of aging commercial properties. Although great strides have been made in our Land Management Ordinances -- changes in which we have, in effect, grandfathered density and non-conformities to ease the requirements for redevelopment -- additional work remains. We need to revisit the areas with the most aged properties (Coligny, Dunnagans Alley, Arrow Road, Northridge, etc.) with the idea of partnering with property owners in developing public infrastructure to better facilitate redevelopment in these areas. We also need to continue to find ways to further modify the LMO to positively impact the ability of business owners to revitalize their properties.
Airport expansion. The Town Council and I have at all times been supporters of the airport and especially of maintaining commercial service to the island. In fact, the town has helped fund a professionally developed master plan for the airport's future. I will continue to support an expansion that reflects the needs of the community at large, one that is economically sound and considers all aspects of the impact on the surrounding community.
Town's financial strength. Our town is fortunate in having many revenue sources. However, some of them have weakened in recent years. We need to better prioritize our expenditures in light of continued cost increases and declining revenues. We must maintain our reserve funds without raising taxes and differentiate among projects that are necessities and those that would be "nice to have." We need to establish a more comprehensive long-range planning, budgeting and review process. I will continue to lead in this endeavor.
3. What other issues do you see as important?
Comprehensive planning. We have had many studies and proposed designs for localized areas in the town, however we do not have a long-range vision for the town's growth and redevelopment. Good progress has been made in the rewrite of the comprehensive plan, along with the task force study. These are pieces of the puzzle and now we, the council, need to bring these pieces together for the well being of our town, our visitors and our residents. If re-elected I will insist that this becomes a high priority at the council's workshop and among future priorities.
Dredging of the Sea Pines waterways. These waterways are vital to the well-being of Sea Pines and the town. Sea Pines is a huge contributor to the economics of the town. Its businesses and these waterways are key components of our economic engine. I will continue to work with CSA, the town, county and our legislative delegation to find an environmentally sound, economical solution to address the immediate and long-term dredging needs.
4. What specific steps will you take to make government more open and accessible to the public?
I am a firm believer that the more open our government is, the better it is for all of us. Our town continually strives to facilitate openness. This is evident in our responses to information requests, and in the availability of council members and staff to answer questions both from the public and the media. It is imperative that we continue this effort and I will continue to support openness and, as always, make myself available.
5. Have you ever been convicted of a crime (felony), been disciplined by a professional licensing board or organization or had an ethics violation filed against you? If so, please give details.
6. Have you ever filed for bankruptcy, been delinquent on your federal, state or local taxes? If so, please give the details.
7. Are there any personal details about yourself that voters would be interested in knowing?
My wife, Caroll, and I first visited Hilton Head Island in April of 1963. After my mother, Marguerite moved here in 1967 (she was involved in setting up the Island Bridge Club, wrote for The Island Packet and was a long time Heritage volunteer,) we became frequent visitors to the island. Having seen it change through the years and having experienced the island throughout its development gives me a special insight into the island's character, its charm and its ongoing needs.