Williamston Mayor Carthel Crout officially announced this week that he is running for reelection. In a news conference held at the Williamston Municipal Center Tuesday, Crout said he is comfortable running on his record and is proud of what has been accomplished in the town since he has been mayor.
Crout said that getting the town on sound financial footing was his first order of business when he was elected and that with careful management of resources, using recommended accounting practices and generally being good stewards, his administration has restored confidence in the town’s financial stability and reputation.
“That has made it possible to address projects that we were mandated by the state to do,” he said, “Such as the wastewater treatment upgrades, as well as projects to benefit quality of life for residents such as improvements to our parks, parking areas and others.”
“All of these things make us now better positioned to go a step further with our growth, because we have something more stable and attractive to offer new businesses that we attempt to recruit, as well as our existing businesses and individual residents.”
Crout, who has served one four year term, said, “Is there still room for improvement? Of course. And we will strive to do that in every way possible. We have established a solid base to build on. “I look forward to the opportunity and privilege of serving the Town of Williamston and its residents for another four years.”
Crout said that taking basic steps including following a procurement policy, reducing overtime hours and working with a governmental advisor, and basically “living within our means” has contributed to the town’s financial stability.
“We haven’t had to borrow any money and we have paid off the bills from the previous administration,” he said.
Crout said the town now pays cash for purchases and will soon make the last two $25,000 monthly payments on a sewer outfall line.
“The only thing we will be paying on is a loan for upgrades at the Waste Water Treatment Plant (WWTP).” Crout said the $10 million project has a $5 million loan with monthly payments of approximately $19,000.
Crout said that since he has served as mayor, the town has not experienced a budget deficit, has not had to borrow money to balance the budget and that all audits have been the highest rating possible.
The mayor said that the town has been able to secure grants amounting to $6 million, which combined with town monies, have allowed upgrades to the WWTP, a sewer trunk line on Academy, paving of West Main St. and sidewalk upgrades throughout the town.
Green, Washington and Market streets and Spring St. in Mineral Spring Park have been paved and the park had major improvements with a new wall and sidewalk.
Crout said that the town recently completed a quality restroom project in Brookdale Park.
A new security camera system has been installed in both parks and improvements and paving of the parking lot behind town hall is expected to be completed by September.
He said while serving as mayor, the town has developed a purchasing policy that “has been strictly followed.”
He said he has established transparency in government by posting audits, budgets, check register, ordinances and minutes of council on the town’s website.
The town has also reinstated the recycling program and received approval for Phase II of the streetscape which is expected to begin this fall.
Crout said he plans to pursue economic development initiatives, work to recruit new businesses and will seek federal and state grants and continue infrastrcture upgrades in older areas of the town.
He plans to continue to eliminate dilapidated buildings and houses and to continue downtown development.
Crout is a member of the Board of Directors for the SC Mayors Association, a member of the Executive Committee of the Appalachian Council of Governments.
At age 68, Crout is a retired educator, athletic director and football coach.
He is a retired Command Sergeant major, USAR, holds a Master’s Degree from Clemson University and is a member of Calvary Baptist Church.
Crout said his mission is to continue to provide professional leadership that citizens expect and deserve, provide the highest quality of services of police, fire, garbage and trash removal, recreation, and senior citizen programming by the most economical means possible. He said he will continue to pursue all available grants for funding local projects.
His vision is, “To cherish the memories of the past, but look to the future. “We will strive for economic debelopment that will provide local jobs for local residents, foster the atmosphere of harmony among town residents and provide a sense of belonging to our great town; and ensure that residents continue to be proud to say “I am from Williamston, SC.”
Mayor Crout officially running for re-election