Lexington Republican Ned Tolar has made it official: He will challenge Lexington County Councilman Bill Banning for the District 8 seat.
Tolar, who runs a property management business, said in an announcement Jan. 13 that fiscal issues will play an important role in his campaign.
“People work hard for their money, and they deserve to keep as much of it as possible,” Tolar said in a press release. “They deserve a councilman who will protect their pocketbooks, not one who continually increases the tax burden,” he said.
Tolar, who has served as vice chair for the Lexington County Republican Party, said the incumbent wants higher spending and higher taxes while he supports reduced spending and lower taxes.
Tolar opposes a county-wide sales tax increase, and questions why County Council awarded a $450,000 consulting contract to an out-of-county firm without going through the competitive bid process.
When Banning first heard Tolar planned to run for his seat, he said: “If he can do a better job than me, bring it on.”
Banning, who has held his seat for four terms, views Tolar as a protest politician who is “anti-everything.”
The District 8 seat encompasses West Columbia, parts of Lexington and Oak Grove.
Lexington Seeks New Schools
Lexington School District 2 will need a bond referendum to fund an estimated $200 million in badly needed new schools and renovations.
A Facilities Task Force that met with the District Board Jan. 16 is recommending two new elementary schools, consolidation of some existing schools, and major repairs and renovations throughout the district, which is known for its older schools.
The board will review the recommendations and determine what a final package will include later in the year. District officials said a referendum could be held as early as this fall.
Holland to Retire
Venus Holland, superintendent of Lexington District 2, will voluntarily retire from her post next year.
In an announcement Jan. 17, the district praised Holland’s service as superintendent for the past six years, as well as the 27 years of service she has worked in the West Columbia-Cayce schools.
Holland “led us through some of the most difficult funding challenges the district has ever faced,” the school board said. “Dr. Holland has truly been a driving force behind the district’s philosophy to be ‘Champions of Children’ and we expect her to continue in that role until her retirement date.”
The announcement said the board will work diligently with Holland over the next 17 months to prepare for the smoothest of transitions to a new leader.