Election Day is Tuesday and some local races are making the headlines. In Mount Pleasant there are five candidates running for mayor. The winner will have to face some pressing issues politically, which include a population boom, a growing wealth gap and a strong town council, forcing the Mayor to find allies to put any plan in motion.
With his final term coming to an end soon, it seemed Mount Pleasant Mayor Billy Swails didn't have much time to talk about his legacy after 4-years on the job. Or he just didn't want to stop and talk about the, not so pleasant, politics east of the Cooper.
News 2 caught up to Swails as he walked toward another Planning and Zoning meeting. "Why would somebody want to be Mayor of Mount Pleasant?" we asked. It's the best place to live in the world why wouldn't they want to be?"
If that's the case it is a poorly kept secret. The population has gone up 42-percent between 2000 and 2010; the last Census count gave the town over 67,000 people.
Mount Pleasant is now one of the state's largest cities. The town's 2012 Demographics Report also shows the boom brought in some money, changing the town's median yearly household income from $38,605 in 1990 to $70,636 in 2010. If you are thinking of buying a house, the report shows the median value went from $185,500 in 2000 to $334,800 in 2010.
In some areas the population has outpaced infrastructure and as the town grows there are more concerns over affordable housing for workers and homes for the increasing elderly population.
And there is also the traffic as a widening project to go along with the $650-million bridge is still in the works.
For his efforts before Monday's Committee meeting Council member Thomasena Stokes-Marshall offered up an unopened bottle of Champaign to Swails saying "This is for the good times the bad times and all the times in between."