Surfside Beach

Three candidates are on the ballot in Tuesday’s special election in Surfside Beach.

Up for grabs is the town council seat that opened up when Bob Childs was elected to move into the mayor’s seat in April.

The three running for the council seat are former councilmember Mary Beth Mabry, Julie Samples, wife of former mayor Doug Samples and Wanda Spannuth. Mabry narrowly lost her seat on the council in the last election in a runoff.

As an introduction to the candidates, the Myrtle Beach Herald asked of them three questions: why are you running; your top three issues you see in the town; and what changes, if any, should be made to how the council conducts business.

Mary Beth Mabry

She says her experience from sitting on the council would be a big plus if elected.

“My knowledge of how the Surfside Beach government operates, especially the budget process, would be a big benefit,” Mabry said. “We need to make this wonderful town a more resilient community.”

Her top three issues she would work for on the council are continuing the town’s strong stormwater management program, finding more innovative ways for streamlining the town’s day-to-day operations and return and increase the town’s family beach brand.

Mabry says the council needs to be a more cohesive group and each of the members need to show more respect for each other and the town’s employees.

Julie Samples

Samples said her residency in the town for 25 years has given her greater insight into what needs to be done to keep the town moving forward.

“I’ve served the town in a variety of capacities and I want to step up and help lead it in a positive way for the future,” she said.

She says her three top issues are enhancing the public safety of the town’s residents, businesses and visitors; help the council find more ways to “live within our means;” and cut back on increased over-regulation for the residents and for businesses which will help the town’s economy thrive.

Samples said the council needs to work with a more collaborative effort for the greater good of the town and less for personal agendas.

Wanda Spannuth

She says her years of working in multiple agencies in social services have given her the necessary skills to be an effective council member.

“After I retired, I realized I still had more to contribute,” Spannuth said. “I have leadership skills, budget experience, negotiating skills and an ability and willingness to thoroughly research issues.”

Spannuth’s top three issues are cutting down on unnecessary expenses such as lawyer fees racked up through lawsuits; creating more transparency in what the council does; and taking a close look at the salaries of the town’s policemen and firefighters.

She says the council needs to work on reaching out to the town’s residents and businesses and she would establish neighborhood meetings to hear everyone’s concerns.

The election will be held Tuesday, Aug. 9 with polls open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.

To hear more from the candidates, voters can attend a candidates’ forum Sunday afternoon in the town council chambers.

Sponsored by the Coastal Carolina Association of Realtors, the forum will be held from 3-5 p.m. Anyone wishing to submit possible questions can contact Nate Johnson at the CCAR at 843-839-8084 or submit through email to nate@ccarsc.org.

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I'm the editor of the Myrtle Beach Herald, a weekly newspaper serving South Carolina's Grand Strand. I cover municipal government in Myrtle Beach and Surfside Beach. Know of a good story? Call me at 843-488-7258.

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