Ahead of Charleston’s mayoral election on Nov. 5, Charleston City Paper has partnered with Lowcountry Local First to ask the six candidates pitching themselves to be the city’s leader about specific policies that affect small businesses in our community. Each week through Oct. 16, we’ll publish the candidates’ responses to one of those questions — to read the rest of the answers, visit charlestoncitypaper.com/llfquestions.

“We take an immense amount of pride in being homegrown here in Charleston. For businesses that start from scratch locally and continue to innovate and experience an upward trajectory, is there any specific policy or change you’d introduce/implement that motivates a light manufacturing company such as Brackish to keep our operations inside the city limits?” —Jeff Plotner, co-founder and CEO, Brackish


Sheri Irwin: I would like the city government to spend tax dollars wisely and not spend on things the government should not being using tax dollars for….such has building a hotel! Perhaps, if the government got back to spending only what they should spend, taxes and/or fees could be lowered.

[image-2]Renee Orth: Shrinking our city’s carbon footprint in alignment with the Paris Agreement, which our mayor has committed to, is critical to the viability of all businesses. Accordingly, we will reward companies that use alternative energy, shrink energy usage, persuade employees to use carbon-responsible transportation, source inputs responsibly, and prioritize zero waste. Rewards for civic responsibility may include preference in being awarded city contracts, tax incentives, and public recognition.

[image-4]Mike Seekings: As a member of a family that owns two local businesses, I am proud of our locally grown business community and happy to see it thrive. To incentivize growth and encourage retention in the City, as mayor I will propose and advocate for a Home Grown Property Tax Rebate for businesses that launch, or have launched, in Charleston and are looking to expand.

[image-3] John Tecklenburg: As a matter of fact, yes. Specifically, to help light manufacturers like Brackish, I would ask our City Council, including my opponents in this race, to reconsider their opposition to reducing dense residential development rights in our Light Industrial zoning category. One of the reasons I brought that ordinance forward earlier this year was to ease the pressure on industrial business owners, who are having a harder and harder time finding affordable space, as developers opt to build highly-profitable residential developments in areas that have been and should continue to be industrial in nature.

Maurice Washington: (no response)


Gary White: I spent nearly 20 years in commercial banking, much of that time was spent working with small businesses. That experience has given me a unique understanding of how important small business are to our economy. To support the growth of our local businesses I will task my Economic Development department with the responsibility of ensuring that businesses in our city are provide an environment where they can flourish. By meeting regularly with business owners to understand their needs we can help ensure that the city works proactively to improve the ease of doing business in our city. Additionally, the department will be charged with ensuring that our local companies are given the resources they need to thrive in our city.

To read the rest of the questions, visit charlestoncitypaper.com/llfquestions.