SOCIAL CIRCLE -- Political newcomer Crenan Mills has announced he will run for a seat on the Social Circle City Council.
Mills, who owns FlowerMills Greenhouses on Wildwood Drive in Social Circle, has donated his time and expertise to the city for years, but now has decided to take a run at elective office.
Mills said he plans to qualify next week to run for District 4, a seat currently held by Anne Peppers, in the Nov. 8 election. Peppers, who was the former City Clerk and has served three terms on the City Council, said she has decided not to seek re-election.
"I was asked by several people to run and I gave it consideration and I decided I would like to do that," Mills said. "I have always been involved in being a service to the city and this is a way to step that up a little bit and be more involved."
Mills and his family moved to Social Circle five years ago, but he has operated his wholesale greenhouse since 1997.
Mills has been an active volunteer with Social Circle's Tree Board and Better Home Town. He is currently chairman of the Tree Board and has served 10 years as treasurer of the Georgia Flower Growers Association.
Some of Mills' efforts include helping beautify the city by donating plants and helping to secure grants for tree planting around town, as well as helping to plant a garden at Social Circle Elementary School. Mills and his wife, Lynn, worked to have a playground constructed at the park near the Post Office on West Hightower Trail.
While Mills' volunteer experience has centered on beautification efforts, he hopes to address a wide range of issues.
Mills, who was a banker before switching careers, said he has the experience to help solve problems that may face the city.
"I'm still gathering information, and I am free to admit I don't have all the answers; I don't even know all the questions, to tell the truth. I'd like to get all the information on topics," he said. "I have no preexisting ideas other than the fact that I'd like to keep taxes and fees low while still providing basic services to city."
Mills said he wants to ensure that the local government runs efficiently. For example, he said he would want to see if combining the police department and fire department under the city's Public Safety Department is the wisest use of resources.
"It may be we're trying to fit a round peg in a square hole. I don't know, but it's something to look into," he said.
Mills said he also wants to ensure the city's land use plan and zoning ordinances accommodate future growth and that Social Circle has adequate and reliable infrastructure in place. He said annexation of land, especially outside of Walton County, is an area that needs to be approached soberly.
"That's something we need to look at carefully. I understand some of the reasons to do that for both the city and private landowners, but it is something that needs a lot of scrutiny," Mills said.
Overall, he said he wants to make sure the city government is open and responsive to the public.
"Transparency in government is very important, providing information to the citizens and keeping everyone informed," he said.