by Kristin Hackler
It may not have been a surprise to some Kiawah Islanders, but as 7:30 rolled around on the evening of Tuesday, December 7, former Kiawah Councilman Steven Orban was amazed to see that he had received more than 300 write-in votes, making him the new Mayor of Kiawah Island.
“I thought I would get a fair amount of votes, but not three hundred!” said Orban with a smile. “I was both surprised and pleased. This was truly a grassroots movement done through word-of-mouth and phone calls over a ten day period.”
Former Mayor William Wert took the surprising outcome with grace, remarking that his is a “believer in the electorate, and if they want a change, that’s their choice. That’s what makes democracy great. I hope the council for the next two years has as much fun as I had over the past eight.” After having served Kiawah Island for more than eleven years both on the KICA board and as mayor, Wert remarked that it was time to take a break.
Though Orban originally intended to retire from Council after serving for eight years and holding a position as head of just about every committee during his tenure, he was approached earlier this fall by a group of concerned citizens who asked him if he would be interested in running for mayor as the current mayor was running unopposed.
“I thought about it for a while, and the main issue was that there was no choice for mayor,” said Orban. “I was in charge of the roundabout construction and the new bike path, and having served on the council for eight years, the people just felt that I had a good history and could do the job.”
Running on the platform of “peace and harmony,” Orban plans to do his best to provide just that for the Town of Kiawah Island. With the development agreement with KDP and the Resort already signed and the newly paved Kiawah Island Road and bike path completed, there are no real capital projects on the island save for some improvements to public areas which are being done through the use of Green Belt funds.
“The biggest issue we face is improving access of Johns, Kiawah and Seabrook Islands,” said Orban, pointing out that the Sea Islands Greenway project is a key issue.
“Bohicket Road has outgrown itself,” he remarked. “We now have lineups on the bridges in the morning and afternoon. We need to keep full court press on the issue of building the Sea Islands Greenway, and we’ll keep working with Johns Island and the County Council to keep the Greenway on the forefront of upcoming projects.”
“I’m not looking back, I’m looking ahead,” said Orban. “I want to keep Kiawah Island as one of the leading residential communities on the east coast.”
Certified election results
G. Steven Orban 308
William G. Wert 182
Alan Burnaford 274
Charles R. Lipuma 439
Harry M. McHugh 263
G. Vanderwerker 350
Fran Wermuth 367