Letter to the editor: Mayor should look at all areas of the city and try to make a real difference


I read Mayor David Merchant's review and assessment of his first year in office and wanted to express my own feelings about the status of the city in some areas.

Sumter, the Gamecock City, is certainly not unique and free from the ills that plague other cities in this state and around the country.

Mayor Merchant is to be commended for those things which he accomplished during his premier year in office. Although I read with interest all the areas of accomplishment he cited, I note also that Sumter still has a deficit in some areas that are noteworthy. The homeless population seems to be increasing in the city, there is still significant lack of attention given to some areas of the city as opposed to more affluent areas, affordable housing is still an area of concern, there are still too many uninhabited and dilapidated houses and businesses in the city, and, lastly from my point of view, although the mayor mentioned this, there is still too much litter and trash in and around the city. Anyone interested in this as I am needs only to travel down just about any street, and he or she would observe that Sumter is laden with trash and litter around homes and many businesses.

I have written articles in The Item on this subject before where I observed that in traveling to other cities in South Carolina and elsewhere, somehow, these places seem to manage their litter and debris problem much better than Sumter and Sumter County. The issue of litter and debris is ongoing, therefore, the solution has to be nonstop as well.

I applaud the mayor's daughter, Hannah, for the very apt comment she made concerning litter and her involvement in trying to solve the problem. I think that we can and should do a better job with instilling in our citizens the need to have pride in their surroundings and their city. It starts with education, and it should also include consequences for those who blatantly abuse litter ordinances.

Mayor Merchant, I have not forgotten the things that you promised when you were running for office. I hope now that you hold that office and that you're back on the ground after participating in your immersion flight, you will look at all of the city, not just those areas blessed with more finances and political influence, and try to make a real difference with all of the people you represent.