- Retired Air Force public affairs officer, serving as a military journalist in Europe, Somalia, Kenya, the Middle East, including Desert Storm, and South America. (1976-1994)
- Assistant editor of the Coastal Courier newspaper in Hinesville. (1994-1995)
- Editor of the Effingham Herald newspaper in Rincon. (1995-1996)
- Editor and general manager of the Richmond Hill-Bryan County News. (1996-2000)
- Planning and zoning director for Richmond Hill. (2000-2013)
- Worked with special needs children in the Bryan County School System. (2013-2017)
- Serving on the Bryan County Planning and Zoning Commission. (2015-Present) Chairman for two years. (2017-Present)
- Freelance journalist for the Savannah Morning News, Bryan County Now and the Bryan County News. (2013-Present)
- Serving on Richmond Hill YMCA Board of Directors. (2013-Present)
#1 Name something specific in the last 12 months that you have personally done to make Richmond Hill a better place to live, work, and play?
As a board member of the Richmond Hill YMCA, I regularly work with staff and management to raise funds for scholarships to allow children of parents with limited means to fully participate in the many child and family-friendly activities offered by the YMCA. I also serve as the chairman of the Bryan County Planning Commission and lead the commission in making decisions, including rezoning, variances, tree canopy, setbacks, etc., that add to the quality of life for everyone in south Bryan County, both in the incorporated and unincorporated areas. We all live in Bryan County.
#2 If money was no object and the decision was solely up to you, what’s the first thing you would do if elected?
The first thing I would do would be to establish an ambulance service within the city limits and then build an aquatic center with equal access for all age groups.
#3 What visions do you have for Richmond Hill and how soon do you think those could become a reality?
My visions include bringing good paying jobs to the city to give our workforce more options, establishing more recreational and age-appropriate after school activities for our youth, expanding the offerings for teens, managing growth and working closer with the Bryan County Commissioners and the Bryan County School Board. To aid in that, I would attend the monthly county commission and school board meetings as the city’s representative. I would push the council immediately to set the steps in motion to get these things done.
#4 What can be done within city council to influence or create more family-friendly amenities?
The city council needs to continue and strengthen its priority on establishing family-friendly amenities such as expanding parks, to include equal access for special needs children, fulfilling our commitment to build Boles Park, partnering with the county to build an aquatic center and making the city more attractive to family-friendly businesses looking to locate or relocate here. I and my planning staff worked diligently in 2011 to qualify Richmond Hill as a ‘Playful City,’ because of the city council’s dedication to play activities for children. The buck stops with the city council.
#5 What are your thoughts on growth? Do you have any related plans or goals?
Growth will continue unless the council puts a moratorium on the issuance of residential and commercial building permits, which is unlikely. The way to manage growth is by creating and strengthening ordinances that build the city in the way the majority wants, in terms of building materials, building appearance, elevations, etc. and, in the case of commercial buildings, in a compatible design style, such as the loosely-defined Henry Ford style. The issue of impact fees could also be investigated.
#6 Do you feel the schools are overcrowded? How do you plan on working with the Board of Education to manage this?
Having worked in Bryan County school classrooms with special needs children for more than four years, in both ends of the county, I have seen firsthand how growth has affected the schools. The funding process for building new schools, at least in terms of state-supported funding, requires students be here before new schools will be built. Based on our past and projected growth, that process seems backward to me. I would work with our state representatives to address that procedure and make appropriate changes. If only Bryan County residents’ school taxes were used to fund new schools, each Richmond Hill and Bryan County taxpayer would see their local school taxes skyrocket to an unheard of level.
#7 Do you feel that Richmond Hill should offer their own ambulance service? If no, why not? If yes, what can be done to help make this happen?
See my answer to question one. That is a top priority of mine. When I was the city’s planning and zoning director, I was able to obtain more than $3 million in grants for the city. That type of funding should be explored, along with how Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax revenue could help fund equipment and construction costs.
#8 What are your thoughts on the fact that most of the schools in Bryan County don’t have a dedicated resource officer?
I think the safety of our students and teachers, along with crime prevention in schools is paramount and it is an issue I will talk to Chairman Amy Murphy and the school board about. I have two family members, including one who teaches at and another who is a junior at Richmond Hill High School, so the issue is very personal. However, how the school board allocates their funds is a school board matter, particularly since it affects every school in north and south Bryan County.
#9 What is your opinion on the Bryan County Commissioners recent LVAP funding decision?
I have not been privy to any of the county’s funding considerations, legal discussions or work sessions regarding the allocation of the LVAP funds. Because of that, I am unable to directly comment. However, I am in favor of taking care of Bryan County people.
#10 If the public has questions during this campaign, what’s the best way to contact you?
Leave a message on my facebook page ‘Vote for Steve Scholar for Richmond Hill City Council,’ call or text me at (912) 445-1213 or email me at email@example.com