Bluffton faces many serious challenges ahead – infrastructure, economic development and long-range planning to name a few.

Bluffton needs a new full-time, proactive mayor. My 35-year development and business background will ensure all future developing in our beautiful town will not damage our fragile natural resources. I will implement bold new planning and management practices to also ensure our present and future stormwater retention is properly designed and monitored before it is allowed to run off into our rivers and protective wetlands.

For eight years, Mayor Lisa Sulka has not provided effective stormwater development regulations or required developers to design and implement sufficient infrastructure to retain stormwater runoff.

Damage to our natural resources continues under Mayor Sulka’s leadership, and DHEC continues to periodically close our shellfish beds due to river pollution. Bluffton cannot afford to have the reputation of allowing our rivers to become unusable cesspools from unbridled development.

If elected mayor, I will ensure that the necessary resources needed are committed to implement a comprehensive watershed protection plan for existing and future developments in Bluffton. Bluffton needs leadership that will eliminate our constant concern about the quality of our waterways.

Citizens benefit when a mayor and council have a vision and the networking skills to promote high-end, clean energy economic opportunities for citizens.

The Don Ryan Center is struggling and has great potential for success, but it seems to lack the commitment and means to accomplish its goals. I will help the Don Ryan Center succeed.

I believe Bluffton is one of the most desirable cities to raise a family, work and play in America. New mayoral leadership is desperately needed in 2016 to protect what we have, along with the wisdom to forge the necessary changes that will benefit all of our families and our future.

Evacuation route to I-95

Blufftonians should consider the completion of the Bluffton Parkway all the way to I-95 the most important item for a 1 percent sales tax referendum in 2016.

Mayor Sulka has asserted all of her influence and political capital on the foolish idea of spending $50 million on the unnecessary Phase 5B of the Bluffton Parkway for her own self-interest (to sell more real estate) at a time when funding for the connection to I-95 was possible.

The Bluffton Parkway was conceived as a parallel feeder to Hwy. 278 and a necessary evacuation route to I-95 for Bluffton and Sun City residents. Under our present leadership, it is now a dead end street.

Please vote Nov. 3. Fresh new leadership can make an immeasurable difference in the future of Bluffton. In order to improve the old town we must include the whole town. I am not a Realtor, I am retired, and I support term limits. I believe elected officials should put service before self-interest.

If elected mayor, I will forge new pathways to the future success of Bluffton.

Cynthia Bensch, a member of Beaufort County Council, is the challenger in the Bluffton mayoral race.