FOLLY BEACH, SC (WCSC) - Folly Beach voters will have a packed ballot when they go to vote for new city council members on April 5th. Seven candidates are vying for three seats on the Folly Beach City Council.
Folly Association of Business and The Folly Current co-hosted a community forum to give the Folly community a chance to get to know the candidates. About 100 people came out to the Folly Beach Tides Hotel for the forum
"It's a beautiful place with a funky energy," resident, Eliza Still said.
She's been living in the city all her life. Vince Perna has worked in the area for about 10 years.
"It's just a quaint little town, everyone gets along," he said.
"Folly is a great place and it's a mix of agenda and politics and people and lifestyles, but that's what I really love about it," resident Carol Cooper said.
Many residents say they want to make sure the character of the town remains, even with new leadership in place.
Thursday's forum focused on business and tourism. Candidates had two minutes to respond to questions. One of the big topics was beach renourishment and how to fund it long-term. The candidates also talked about issues concerning public safety, traffic and quality of life for locals.
"A lot of local people that live here own the businesses," business owner and resident, Michael Riffert said. "That just keeps it small hometown, ya know, makes it really nice."
Some candidates talked about the need to add more cross walks and sidewalks to address safety concerns.
"For the purpose of city council, I'm sort of a single issue voter voter which is preservation," Still said. "The big mansions they were talking about how we should limit that or how we shouldn't limit that because we're Folly Beach and we're free spirits. The more zoning restrictions the better in my view."
Some people left the forum as decided voters, while others are still trying to figure it out. The forum gave them a closer look at what each candidate is looking to do.
"What they can contribute to the long term plan for Folly and where it's going and how to preserve what's so great about it and yet see the needs that are coming," says Cooper.
The candidates include incumbent Eddie Ellis as well as challengers Keith Bolus, Laurie Hull, Teresa Marshall, John Merritt Jr., Zachary Papaioannou, and Roger VanDyke.