Durham, Burgess face off for mayor’s seat – Williamston

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There are two big decisions for local voters when they go to the polls next Tuesday.

One is who they will choose to lead the country for the next four years. The other is who will lead the Town of Williamston for the next four years.

Incumbent Mack Durham, who has served two terms as mayor of Williamston, is facing challenger Rockey Burgess, who is currently serving as councilman for Ward 2.

Burgess, who also owns a local business, Autech, said, “I am running for mayor because I believe in the future of Williamston, and in our town’s potential as an exciting, safe town that provides a high quality of life for all our residents. I believe that Williamston can and should be a place where residents of all ages want to live, work, raise a family and retire.”
Burgess said Williamston has come a long way in the last eight years “but there is still much more work to do.”

Areas he sees for improvement include recruiting and retaining a full-service grocery store, updating town recreational facilities, revitalizing our downtown and improving our infrastructure. “Williamston is poised to take that next step,” he said. “Good ideas are great, but it takes hard work and sheer determination for those ideas to ever become a reality.”
He goes on, “We have seen cities all around us recapture a sense of vibrancy and livability. There is no reason that Williamston should not be at the forefront of growth in the upstate. Williamston has advantages that very few towns can boast of, including a world-class park, deep history, and a diverse, rising generation of Williamston residents who are eagerly waiting to see real positive change in our town.”

“For the last 8 years we have seen plan after plan proposed with no concerted effort to implement any of those plans.,” Burgess said. “I will put decades of experience in managing finance, building business, developing plans, negotiating contracts, and successfully executing plans to work for you.”

“As mayor I will work closely with and involve council to refocus our efforts on “core essential services” – nuisance abatement, police protection, fire protection, garbage pickup, infrastructure, and recreation. Together we will ensure that those core essential services are provided fairly and equitably to all our residents then build on those core services with other amenities that will enhance our overall quality of life.”

Burgess said he will work closely with neighboring towns to promote each town and develop mutually beneficial initiatives. “The neighboring towns of Pelzer and West Pelzer are undeniably intertwined with Williamston. I believe that we are currently missing huge opportunities to promote our towns collectively and work toward common objectives.”
“I am confident that our best days are still ahead, and that is why I am asking for your support for mayor. Together we can work toward a brighter future,” Burgess said.

Dr. R Mack Durham also owns a local business, Palmetto Family Medical Group. He said he wants to continue the progress the town has made since he became mayor, especially over the last three years.

“Although much has been accomplished in my two terms as Mayor, I plan to continue “Getting Things Done”, even with the current challenges of COVID-19,” he said. “Planning has been a big part of the preparation of a clear destination for our future because I believe in growing our community from the bottom up instead of from the top down.”

He said that although the town’s path forward will have twists and turns, the destination will remain the same under his leadership, that is “to make Williamston a great place to Live, Work, Shop, and Raise a Family.”
I am not a politician, but I do believe that I am a good Mayor because of the passion that I have for our town and our people. I have a quieter style of leadership and I believe in empowerment instead of control.”

Durham said he is a lifelong learner and tries to grow the people around him.

Durham said under his management style and competent actions of department heads, the town has been able to get things done, while also putting money in savings every year. “Every department has the best equipment and work environment that they have ever had and we are all constantly striving to improve service to our community,” Durham said. “My style of leadership ensures that we always have the interest of the community at heart, and not some political objective. “

Durham said in the past, Williamston had many plans but a lack of money to make it happen.
“Through years of responsible financial management, we have now built our savings to over $2 million. Our financial success has given us the opportunities to reinvest part of that money into projects that have been identified through listening to our community.”

Durham said the projects are not politically driven, but come specifically from conversations we have had during planning efforts with both citizens and regional resources. “I have publicly stated on several occasions that I will recommend that we reinvest $500,000 now to get projects done that our community has said they want to see in our town so we can, not just plan, but keep getting things done.”

Durham said several projects that have been in the works for awhile are about to happen. Among them are the connection of Cherokee Road with Main Street, which is now in the grant application stage; the additon of over 50 new homes in the last three years, and the town is the final stages of contracting with a developer to add over 60 new homes to Williamston. “This is due to having vision that focuses on getting things done,” he said.

“Williamston has accomplished a lot under my leadership and we are on a very good course for our immediate future and far beyond. We need to keep getting the right things done to ensure our future. Under my leadership we will continue to grow our community, build our local market, fuel our local economy, and strengthen local services.”

“I ask you to re-elect me as Mayor to keep “Getting Things Done” in Williamston!”