Hinesville Mayor Pro Tem Charles Frasier on Thursday announced his intent to run for mayor in the November election.
Frasier said he has served 28 years on the city council, the last eight years as mayor pro tem. Prior to being elected in 1987, he served nine years on the city’s planning and zoning board. He and his wife have talked about his future service to the community, both agreeing it is time for him to make a decision.
“My wife and I have decided that after 28 years, I need to move up or move out,” Frasier said, jokingly. “We elected to move up … (Our) mayor can only serve two terms, and Mayor (Jim) Thomas’ term expires this November.”
Because he’s retired, he said he can dedicate himself totally to the duties of mayor, which he emphasized is a full-time job.
Frasier said Hinesville is his home, as he was born here, grew up here and went to school here. Frasier became involved in civic and social activities early, gaining an interest in the political arena through the influence of his older brother and father.
He does not, however, consider himself a politician.
“When I think of politicians, I think of people who thrive on promoting government itself,” he said. “A public servant though is someone who considers all that government does and tries to do to provide particular services to the people. I’m not a politician. I’m a public servant. If you come to me and you need something done, I’ll try to help you in any way possible.”
He talked at length about services the city and county are unable to provide to the degree they should because the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax referendum failed to pass in last November’s election. SPLOST is extremely important, he said, because it allows everyone in the community and anyone stopping here for gas, food, lodging or shopping to pay the 1 cent sales tax that allows government leaders to pay for services people expect.
Frasier explained the city’s main mechanism for providing services and paying for building projects is through the ad valorem tax on personal property. Because SPLOST failed to pass, the burden of paying for municipal services fell on property owners, who saw their taxes increase.
“I’m going to campaign hard for SPLOST to pass in this year’s election,” he said, noting the Liberty County Board of Commissioners recently announced they intend to put SPLOST on the ballot in November. “If it passes this year, I will propose a rollback of the property taxes. I’m not for raising taxes for the sake of raising taxes, because when your taxes go up, so do my mine.
“And as mayor, I’ll ask citizens to pick the projects they want to use SPLOST funds for, rather than us making the list.”
He defended city and county leaders’ decision to build the new city hall and justice center, which created a large debt for taxpayers. Frasier said the image the city projects is important in attracting new businesses. He’s remembers developers’ comments that the community didn’t have a good corporate image at that time.
Frasier added that as mayor, he would work with city council, county commissioners, the Liberty County Chamber of Commerce, Hinesville Downtown Development Authority, Liberty Consolidated Planning Commission and Liberty County Development Authority to create what he called a business-friendly community.
Frasier also will continue the city’s longstanding support for the military and veterans, calling Fort Stewart an economic generator for the entire county.
“I’m an (Air Force) veteran, so I support the military,” Frasier said. “Having grown up here, I’ve seen the ups and downs at Fort Stewart. At one point, it was almost in a caretaker status, but it’s come back. We want to maintain troop levels at Fort Stewart and would like to see an increase.”
Only one day after telling the Courier he’d like to see troop strength increase, the Fort Stewart Public Affairs Office announced Friday that the 63rdSignal Battalion will relocate from Fort Gordon to Stewart in July, a troop increase of more than 450 soldiers.
Frasier concluded by saying that if he is elected mayor, he will create a citizens council to advise elected leaders about the people’s concerns. He’ll also create a youth council so leaders can stay in touch with the next generation while helping them develop their own skills and desires to become public servants.