Allen Brown, who served as Hinesville mayor from 1992-99, announced Thursday he intends to run again for the office.
Brown, who is chairman of the Liberty County Development Authority, said voters have lost trust in elected officials, from the local to the national level, and elected leaders have to “re-earn” that trust.
City Councilman Charles Frasier, who is mayor pro-tem, has also announced his candidacy.
Hinesville needs a new vision and champion, he said, adding that his experience as mayor and years in business will enable him to change the city’s direction.
“We need to take a hard look at things like our underused and very expensive (public) transportation system,” he said. “We need to become a business-friendly city again. Too many people find it very difficult to open a business in Hinesville … We (also) need to be more fiscally responsible and lower the millage rate by running our city like a business.”
A priority would be the special purpose local option sales tax that was rejected by voters in November. He called SPLOST a “fair” tax “when the proceeds are used openly and properly.” He said SPLOST programs and projects should be paid within the tax’s six-year term or paid by other means.
Brown said city leadership should build a consensus of the governed, using common sense, including showing support for maintaining troop levels at Fort Stewart while seeking to attract more industries. To attract industry, he said, elected leaders need to work with education, business and industry leaders to prepare and expand the workforce.
A Liberty County native, Brown graduated from Bradwell Institute in 1965 and attended the University of South Carolina and Georgia Southwestern University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in marketing. He lived in Atlanta for five years, working in sales and marketing, before returning to Hinesville in 1976 as city administrator.
In 1978, he went into real estate as an agent. Three years later, he became the broker-owner of Century 21 Action Realty. He bought Century 21 Ways Station in Richmond Hill in 1996.
He was elected to the Hinesville City Council in 1988. He served the maximum two continuous terms as mayor.
“During my term as mayor, we built the new police station,” he said. “We knew we built it big. We intentionally built it big … One of the council members suggested this. We decided to do it, and we never had criticism. Half a mill was added to our budget every year, and it was committed to pay that off. We were very open. The public knew it, and it worked wonderfully. I think it’s paid off now.”
While admitting he couldn’t go into details, he said there are businesses looking at developing on Veterans Parkway. Speaking as a real-estate broker, he is talking to more and more businesses interested in building somewhere other than along Highway 84.
One of the areas he said he’d take a closer look at as mayor is the money the city uses for travel. He supports travel by city leaders to Atlanta Hinesville or Washington, D.C., to support Fort Stewart. However, he doesn’t see where international travel benefits this community.
“I don’t consider myself a politician,” Brown said. “I’m a consensus builder. In my previous term, we had a great council. We worked great together. We didn’t always agree, but we made right decisions. My talent is to be a consensus builder and help run the team.”
He also has been president of the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, the Hinesville Rotary Club, the Hinesville Board of Realtors and the Association of the United States Army.