Kurt Mueller is a candidate in the Republican primary race in Aiken County Council’s District 5.
His opponent is incumbent Sandy Haskell.
Voters will go to the polls June 14.
Mueller is a certified financial planner and certified private wealth adviser.
His resume includes stints on the United Way of Aiken County and Midland Valley Area Chamber of Commerce boards.
Mueller also is a 2017 graduate of the Leadership Aiken County program.
Q. What do you think are the biggest challenges facing your district, and Aiken County as a whole, in the next several years and what should be done to address them?
A. Based on my conversations with the Aiken County fire districts located in Council District 5, it’s my understanding the current 400 MHZ radio communication system is very outdated and needs to be upgraded.
This concern is one for all of Aiken County, not just District 5.
As I understand it, reliability and range are two primary concerns regarding the current system.
Options to upgrade the system are 800 MHZ or 400 MHZ digital. Both options come with their respective advantages/disadvantages, but the importance of ensuring our firefighters have efficient and reliable communication systems countywide cannot be overstated.
These men and women who serve their community do so on a volunteer basis while balancing their career, family life, etc. They are the true definition of servant leaders and as such, Aiken County Council should do everything in their power to ensure they have the most reliable and effective communication system possible.
I will not begin to opine as to which option would be the best as this is not my area of expertise.
If elected, I will commit to educating myself more on this matter so as to be in a position to offer an intelligent opinion.
Addressing this challenge is simple, but not easy, and I have outlined below how I would work to address the issue:
1. Meet with every Aiken County fire district and obtain their feedback regarding the best upgrade option.
2. Analyze the feedback and data from those conversations.
3. Present a budget for upgrading the communication to Council based on the feedback obtained.
4. Present a plan to purchase the necessary equipment/software to complete the upgrade.
5. Implement and execute said plan and continue to have open communication with all Aiken County Fire districts regarding timeline, etc.
Q. What new businesses would you like to see attracted to your district and Aiken County, and what do you think should be done to bring them here?
A. The manufacturing industry is a huge catalyst for Aiken County as a whole, not just District 5.
Additional manufacturers will serve to add more skilled jobs, increase the tax base, raise the median household income and improve the way of life in Aiken County as a whole.
As an Aiken County Council member, I would work alongside the Economic Development Partnership to attract additional manufacturers by:
1. Creating a shared vision and well-planned sites (in addition to what is already available).
2. Focusing on unique planning considerations to ensure the site stands out amongst the competition.
3. Ensuring intermodal infrastructure and utilities are well thought out to better prepare for future development.
4. Designing, implementing and executing a marketing plan to effectively compete for manufacturers.
Q. What is the one thing you would like to do to make your district a better place to live and how would you go about making it happen?
A. In talking with constituents, the amount of litter on the roads seems to be a concern held by many.
There is no doubt, litter affects us all, and if elected, I would work to reduce and hopefully eliminate litter in the community by:
1. Coordinating volunteer efforts to clean up litter on the roadways (short term plan).
2. Positioning additional trash receptacles around the county, not just District 5.
3. Designing, implementing and executing an “anti-litter” educational campaign (long-term plan).