Candidates address Thomasville issues
Thomasville voters face a full ballot as the mayor and all seven city council positions are up for election.
Mayoral candidates include incumbent Joe B. Bennett, Earl Harrison, and J.W. Mathis.
Those running for city council positions are incumbents Ronald Brantton, Neil Grimes, Joel Pierce, Pat Harris Shelton, Scott Styers, and Raleigh York, Jr.
Challengers include J.W. Browning, Rhonda J. Florence, Joe Leonard, Carl Shatley, Jason Varner and Johnny West.
Early voting runs Oct. 21 through Nov. 1 at the Thomasville Public Library. Election Day is Tuesday, Nov. 5.
For more details, visit www.votedavidsoncountync.com.
The Times asked mayoral candidates three questions:
1. In recent months, the City of Thomasville has received encouraging news about job creation. What can the city do to lure more companies?
2. What do you feel is the most pressing issue facing Thomasville over the two years and how do you plan to address it?
3. Many efforts are being made to revitalize downtown Thomasville. What can the city do to encourage and promote this revitalization effort?
The Times asked two questions of council candidates:
1. Thomasville this year is undertaking several major infrastructure projects. What does the city need to focus on and why?
2. What is your vision for Thomasville over the next two years?
In addition, each candidate was allowed a 50-word introduction.
Here are the answers to those who responded to the Times:
1. The city would continue to work with the Economic Development Commission to search out new businesses for location in Thomasville. In order to do this we must identify and have available land suitable for locating a business park.
2. The most pressing issue facing Thomasville in the next years is the one we have been facing since our manufacturing plants closed — jobs for its citizens. Not only did many of our people lose their jobs and the means to provide for their basic needs, but because of the domino effect, the city's source of revenue declined. This revenue is necessary to efficiently provide, among other things, the services its people expect and are entitled to have.
3. Last year, the city approved the Thomasville Downtown Commercial District Tax Incentive Program. The objective of this program is to provide an incentive to property owners for improving the appearance and visibility of downtown Thomasville. Its goal is to attract new investors and developers for businesses, broaden the city's tax base and to improve the downtown visual appearance. There must also be public participation by supporting existing businesses and by investment in new ones.
1. We should add events and year-round entertainment to draw people to the city where people will have something to do. The events should be near the downtown area. By doing this, people may want to make this town a vacation city.
2. It is understood that we need jobs in the city. It is apparent we must do all we can to repair our waste water problems, repair our streets, take another look at the empty buildings in the city. Get input from the citizens of the city.
3. If we could put question No. 1 to the test we may be able to get visitors to see Thomasville as a tourist city. We need to talk with the business owners and get their input of how we may go about this idea. We need to encourage all citizens to help keep the city streets clean.
1. Sustainability is my primary concern for the great city of Thomasville. We need a plan that takes less than 20 years to implement to improve the sewage process and replace pump stations and pipes. We need to improve the condition of our roads. We need to condemn vacant and poorly maintained buildings and have these buildings removed. And we need to partner to find a solution to the dangerous railroad crossings in our city.
2. The future of Thomasville is only as bright as the opportunities for its citizens. I hope to actively recruit businesses to our area, whether through sound business plans from local citizens or by sharing the potential of Thomasville with out-of-town companies. We should also focus on productive educational opportunities. Most importantly, I want a community that puts into practice the Golden Rule of treating others as you want to be treated.
It has been an honor to serve on your City Council for the past three terms. I am a lifelong resident of Thomasville, educated in the Thomasville City Schools, married to Laura for 45 years, and worship at Unity Methodist Church. I am the president of a family business, and proudly served 24 years in the North Carolina National Guard.
1. With funding for the most pressing sewer infrastructure projects having finally been secured, construction will begin soon. These projects are at the top of our existing 10 year Capital Improvements List. The next most pressing project is the continuation of the North Hamby Outfall Line replacement and some structural improvements at the water plant.
2. Thomasville is a great place to live with many citizens that volunteer their time and talents to make this a better place. With their and your continued civic participation, we can make Thomasville even better by supporting local businesses, reducing litter, and taking responsibility to keep personal property clean and neat.
1. Sewer problems, general cleanup and removal of condemned buildings, street repair.
2. Business growth creating JOBS. Create programs of awareness to improve common courtesy to each other. Anything else for the good of Thomasville Citizens.
I am seeking re-election because I want to continue to stand with the people of Thomasville. I have been steadfast in bringing citizens together to solve longstanding issues. Please visit my website at: www.joelpierce.com if you would like to learn more about my campaign.
1. Sewer, we need to make sure that the large scale upgrade projects that are planned are completed and that we also continue to find and repair leaks in our system. The environmental issues related to sewer spills are unacceptable along with the negative publicity that it brings our city.
2. My vision of Thomasville is a place that people are working and thriving and that jobs are available right here in our area for our citizens. Without jobs any vision for our city cannot be a reality; with jobs and economic development come many opportunities.
CARL R. SHATLEY
Thomasville has an exciting future with opportunities to grow and improve. Thomasville is positioned to be a great location for new employers and businesses of all types. We can attract new residents as well and grow our tax base. To do this we need new ideas and must market Thomasville.
1. We must provide the best services for the people of Thomasville with no new taxes or fees. While doing this we have to continue to find jobs and improve the economy in Thomasville. We must improve the standard of living for the people of Thomasville and create opportunities for everyone.
2. My vision is for more jobs to be created for the people of Thomasville and to revitalize and improve our city as much as possible. A better Thomasville with the best services for our citizens while not increasing the tax burden on anyone. Let’s make Thomasville a destination for everyone!
1. We have a 10 year plan for sewer improvements that we will adhere to. Three sewer projects that we have funding for will be completed in 2014. We need to continue to be proactive and focus on preventive maintenance in order to save the city money in the long run.
2. I envision an environment that continues to foster entrepreneurship resulting in an increase in manufacturing, retail and dining establishments. I hope to see more community engagement in government as well as volunteerism. We are headed in the right direction now, and I want to help maintain our momentum.
1. Thomasville’s focus should be on infrastructure upgrade, service enhancement, and downtown revitalization. Though each has its own inherent benefit, the collective benefit is better quality of life and economic development. Businesses are attracted by excellent services, a vibrant commercial hub, reasonable taxes, and a willing, capable workforce.
2. Keep our eyes on the big picture. Through Envision 20/20, Thomasville’s citizens have proclaimed the vision.
Though too long for this space, the last sentence reads, “We see citizens, businesses, government, faith-based, social and education institutions all working together on emerging opportunities for community betterment.”
Thomasville’s vision is my vision.
I am a proud father, veteran, professional marketing officer, and resident. I dream of serving my neighbors, helping them, and uniting them. We face many obstacles, but I trust that together we can overcome any adversity.
1. Most residents agree that we must resolve our water/sewer issues. The prolonged effects of poor management concerning our water/sewer enterprise has left all of us monetarily oppressed by abusive rates. However, while addressing these concerns we must not default on our duty to maintain our streets, sidewalks, and other aesthetically challenged public properties.
2. I envision a city uniting as one people and working toward accomplishing realistic goals. Goals that include, eliminating outdated ordinances that hinder investment and strangle growth. Tapping into our youth population who are eager to volunteer and get involved. Making Thomasville more affordable. Defeating poverty one hungry child at a time.
1. One of the biggest issues affecting the residents of Thomasville is the problem with the water and sewer issue. We see a continuous rise in our water bills as citizens but very little resolution from the council. How many more times must they vote on money or grants before they start to fix the issue? We need actual physical action from the council not just vote after vote.
2. I would like to see my fellow citizens to take pride in our city again. Unfortunately because of bad economic times our city and our citizens are worn out and struggling just to survive. I want to see Thomasville come back to life.
1. Obviously, our sewer system infrastructure has occupied much of our attention recently. We must stay on top of these upgrades and continue to plan for other work included in our long range outlook. This should help greatly with the overflow problems we have experienced over the last several years.
2. I think over the next two years we need to continue sewer system upgrades, develop ways to address needs with some of our streets, work with EDC and others to bring in additional jobs for our citizens, continue plans to bring a widespread clean up project to our city and continue to provide quality services for our citizens.