January is typically a time for self-reflection, new beginnings, and those pesky resolutions. Personally, losing weight, being a better father and husband, and trying to break my iPhone addiction is always at the top my list. Professionally, I wake up every morning and go to bed every night thinking about ways to improve Fountain Inn because that is the business I’m in and I wouldn’t have it any other way. However, I’m often asked by citizens and those in the community, “What can I do to help?” In no particular order, there are a number of ways citizens can help improve the Fountain Inn community.
First, vote! There were only around 560 votes cast in this past municipal election in November and yet our city population is approximately 8,500 and growing. We have a great deal of our voting population that is choosing not to have their voices heard and that is unfortunate. Also, we always can use dedicated volunteers to serve on our boards and commissions. The application is available on our website.
Second, don’t be a litterbug. South Carolina consistently ranks as one of the dirtiest states in the nation. While I don’t believe #the44 is doing anything to make that ranking worse, I still see way too much trash on the side of our roads. If you see someone littering, please report it to the Fountain Inn Police Department.
Third, shop and eat locally. When our local businesses are successful, our municipal government is typically successful. The next time you are thinking about taking the family out to eat somewhere outside of Fountain Inn, please consider spending your hard-earned money at one of our local establishments first. If you are considering opening up a small business, come talk to us about the awesome spaces we have right here in our downtown.
Fourth, don’t be afraid to call/email the City with issues. It is my goal for the City to be proactive in everything we do, but we don’t always know about every pothole, every overgrown lot, or every illegal sign in the City. *Note, simply posting about the issue on Facebook (Fountain Inn Residents Page) is not the same*. I encourage you to make actual contact with us and I promise we will try to take care of the issue as soon as possible.
These are four simple tasks which require very little effort and could completely transform our community. A slight increase in voter turnout has the possibility of completely changing the outcome of an election. A minor rise in business licenses and tax revenue could drastically improve municipal services. Imagine how beautiful our community would look if would be litterbugs threw their trash in a receptacle rather than on the street. If we all work together, 2018 will be a great year for Fountain Inn.
Shawn Bell is the City Administrator of Fountain Inn. For more information, go to www.fountaininn.org, call 864-862-4421, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.♦