2018-11-09 / News

Pearce’s time on Richland County Council draws to a close

Following the 2018 election, there will be some changes to the Richland County Council. Among those is a new representative for District 6 after councilman Greg Pearce announced earlier this year he was not going to seek reelection.

“Realizing I would be up for another four-year term in 2018 and would be turning 70 years old in October, last January I began a review of my bucket list only to find that there was very little on that list left to be accomplished,” Pearce said. “In addition, I want to spend more time involved with my true passion, mental health advocacy.”

When Pearce’s term ends, later this year, it will mark the conclusion of a 20-year run on county council. Over that span, Pearce has been involved with many changes to Richland County. There are some that particularly stand out.

“I’m most proud of the revitalization of Hamilton Owens Airport, the Township, and the county owned historic homes,” Pearce said. “The LRADAC building and Decker Center both represent new construction I’m also quite proud to have been involved with.”

“This suggests to me that the people I have represented have been satisfied with my performance on their behalf,” Pearce said. “That means a lot to me.”

One other thing that has changed is the way the county is governed.

“Probably the most prominent change has been how we manage county finances,” Pearce said. “Twenty years ago the county council was free to levy ad valorum property taxes at basically any amount the council determined. With the passage of Act 388 in 2006 that removed school operating taxes from owner occupied house, but placed a cap on the amount a county council could raise taxes, it dramatically changed the way budgets were constructed. The challenges of Act 388 followed by the Great Recession of 2008 have been tough on the county, however, the county’s finances are presently sound and our bond ratings have never been higher.”

Businessman Joe Walker III will replace Pearce on county council.

December 11 will mark Pearce’s last county council meeting, and December 18 will be his last committee meeting. After that the book will be closed on his time on Richland County Council. The experience has meant a lot to Pearce.

He is also proud that he ran unopposed in every election since first being elected in 1998.

“I spent my first career in mental health field helping people resolve problems. County council has afforded me basically the same opportunities,” Pearce said. “Through my work on county council with Palmetto Health, the Columbia Area Mental Health Center, LRADAC, and Transitions, I have been able to stay close to the work I was trained to do. There have been many days when I have questioned why I chose to pursue this position, but as I now reflect on the past 20 years, count the wonderful people I have met, and evaluate the things County Council has accomplished, if you asked me would I do it again, the answer would be absolutely.”

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