The seven candidates for county commissioner in Tuesdayâ€™s Republican Primary were asked the following questions on current issues the county is facing. Their responses are presented in no particular order.
1. According to information from the U.S. Census and the county tax department, Lincoln Countyâ€™s population grew by 26 percent from 1990 to 2000. The current Board of Commissioners â€” in an effort to take some of the burden off property owners â€” has looked at alternative sources of revenue like a real estate transfer tax and an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance to manage that growth and help pay for school construction. What are your views?
2. Some residents are concerned that recreation services are not made equally available to the entire county. What are your thoughts on this, and what, if anything, should be done about it?
3. Are there any other issues you feel need to be addressed and given priority by the Board of Commissioners? What are your goals, if elected?
Education: B.S. Business Administration, Master of Accountancy
Political experience: None
Community involvement: Active Christian in New Covenant United Methodist Church
1. In order to maintain a good quality of life for all the people in Lincoln County, growth must be planned and managed.
Our land use and policies need to address responsible growth. Growth enhances commercialism and employment and also increases the tax base. We must also protect natural, scenic and cultural resources, plan for transportation and education needs, as well as consider other public facilities and utilities.
I do not like the idea of a real estate transfer tax. Some form of Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance would assist us in growth that is planned and managed and discourage sprawl.
The criteria which are set in the ordinance must be fair, county-wide and protect the integrity of our existing residential areas. It must be based on a Comprehensive Land Use Plan and must address public health, safety issues and maintain a good quality of life for all of Lincoln County.
2. Recreational services are not made equally available to the entire county. My thoughts are this: this is not right. The current Board of Commissioners has known about this inequity for a long period of time and have not corrected this inequity. This inequity should never have happened. Recreational services should be made available equally according to the population in the areas so all citizens have an opportunity to participate.
3. Priority should be given to correct the inequities in services that should be county wide and it is the responsibility of the Commissioners to not allow these inequities to occur.
It is important that we have a plan to address growth so that we can maintain a good quality of life in Lincoln County. The commissioners must be held accountable for their actions and be a representative for all the citizens in Lincoln County.
My goals, if elected, are to correct the inequities in services that should be county wide and to keep taxes as low as possible. The double digit increases in taxes this year are not acceptable or fair to the taxpayers. People have not had double digit increases in their incomes and many taxpayers are on fixed incomes. The county should be operated in a cost effective manner to offer the necessary services and keep costs under control.
We need a plan to manage growth in Lincoln County, and quit spot-zoning before we destroy our quality of life in Lincoln County.
Albert â€œDannyâ€ Glenn
Family: Married with two children
Occupation: Civil/ Environmental engineer
Education: Associates degree in Architecture and B.S. of Science in Civil Engineering
Political experience: None, but involved in planning and design of infrastructure projects for counties throughout the southeast
Community Involvement: Westport Baptist Church â€“ member and AWANA volunteer, Cub Scouts â€“ Scout Leader and Beattyâ€™s Ford Recreation Project â€“ co-designer
1. I fully support shifting the costs associated with construction of new schools onto developers. In my opinion, now is the time to develop an organized plan for future development in an effort to study how growth affects our quality of life, education, taxes, transportation and environment. I support an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance and a Capacity Development Fee for school construction. However, I do not support a Real Estate Transfer tax, as it will add extra burden on the existing homeowner.
2. I believe recreation services and money should be distributed according to the density of population the amount of need.
3. I believe Lincoln County is at a crossroads. Right now we have a choice to take the road toward more debt, over development, and crowded schools or take the road to wise growth through an orchestrated plan and budget. My family and I moved to Lincoln County five years ago to get away from the chaos of Mecklenburg County. We were impressed with Lincoln Countyâ€™s school system and tight-knit community. Our county requires fresh ideas and perspectives in order to solve current and future challenges.
My top three goals as commissioner are:
Develop a plan to minimize the impact of development on our quality of life, education, taxes, transportation and environment. I will establish a structured process in reviewing the financial costs and quality of life impacts associated with residential and commercial development.
Stop borrowing until we get a handle on the current debt. The countyâ€™s 2004-2005 budgeted debt will be $82,620,000. This does not include interest or the latest $47 million school bond. Debt payments are becoming a large part of the countyâ€™s budget with the 2004-2005 budgeted debt service payment at almost 9 million dollars.
County government funding must focus on the basics (education and public safety). This will be my budget priority.
Family: Married with three children
Occupation: Store manager, Bi-Lo in Lincolnton; 15-year military veteran
Education: Lincolnton High School graduate, U.S. Army Signal School â€” Top Secret Clearance; Primary Leadership and Development School (honor grad); Bi-Lo school of Business; USDA Food Safety Course
Political experience: none; ran for nonpartisan school board in 1996 and 1998
Community involvement: Member of Maiden Wesleyan Church, adult Sunday school teacher, member of local board of administration, past vice-chairman, former member of finance committee, member of five mission trips to Russia, member of American Legion Post No. 30.
1. The current Board of Commissioners raised property taxes 17 percent this year, so they have added to, not taken some of the burden off of property owners. We must control spending on the county level. Transfer fees, impact fees, etc. are only another form of taxation the homeowner ultimately pays.
The Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance slows or stops growth, which in turn hurts one of the countyâ€™s largest employers, the homebuilders and all the subcontractors. These new houses generate new property taxes. New high-tech businesses are looking for a growing and diverse workforce and a favorable tax rate.
New taxes are not the answer, fiscal responsibility will help us manage growth and help the overburdened taxpayer. We must work harder to build schools in a cost effective manner, ones that are easily expanded to meet the growing needs of Lincoln County.
2. I think both ends of the county get shortchanged on this issue. We must partner more with organizations like the Optimist Clubs and others who already have facilities available and offer excellent programs. As partners we could improve recreation in both the east and the west by upgrading and building around these existing facilities. It helps all involved and is cost effective.
3. a) We must get a handle on spending and excess taxation. We must begin to run the government like a business. Unfortunately, we cannot be all things to all people. We must support our law enforcement, our fire departments, our medical services, and support our schools in a fiscally responsible manner. These must be the first priorities.
b) We must continue to look for high-tech industry that offers our citizens not just a job, but a stable and lasting career. We can only do this with a growing and diverse workforce and a low tax rate.
c) We must work toward making government user friendly. We must cut red tape and bridge the gulf between government and the citizens of this county. We must make our county feel as one instead of east Lincoln, Lincolnton, and west Lincoln. This is OUR county and it is our duty to leave it better than we found it.
d) We must be open and honest in all that we do, remembering that no matter what we are still neighbors and friends.
Political experience: Lincoln County commissioner, 1996-2000; vice-chairman, 1998-2000.
Education: Mitchell College, Associate Degree
1. Not only has the present Board of Commissioners searched for alternative sources of revenue to take the property tax burden off property tax owners, so did the board that I served on for four years.
All options we considered met a roadblock in Raleigh as they require the General Assemblyâ€™s approval. I did attend the recent discussion on the Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance. It appeared to me that, as for income producing, there is very little potential. I will need to see more details on the proposal before I am ready to state a position.
2. Recreation services countywide are not equally available and I believe this can be accomplished without more spending. I do plan to tackle this issue if I am elected the first night I serve on the new board.
3. During the four years I served on the board there were no property tax increases as compared to the last four years where we have had property tax increases exceeding 37 percent.
I will work to avoid property tax increases while maintaining essential services.
My record is one of supporting education and I plan to continue.
Perhaps the most successful one thing for Lincoln County that was involved in was the $900,000 to create an industrial park for Lincoln County that has resulted in a $64 million tax base and over 600 jobs. This is an example of what an effective economic development program can accomplish, and I plan to continue my support for such county efforts.
Planning for and the construction of additional infrastructure, mainly water and sewer, is a must.
Occupation: Civil engineer
Political experience: Lincoln County commissioner, Lincoln Economic Development Association board member; Centralina Council of Governments board member and executive committee member; Chamber of Commerce governmental affairs committee; N.C. Future Forward board member; Lincoln County Airport Authority ex-officio member; Lake Norman Rural Planning Organization member.
Editorâ€™s note: Tom Andersonâ€™s responses to questions had not been received by deadline.
Occupation: Production planning manager at Belding Hausman Inc.
Political experience: Lincoln County commissioner, 1992-2000; chairman, 1999-2000
1. I would have to look at all options of funding infrastructure, capital and current expenses. In my previous tenure (1992-2000) as commissioner, we were beginning to experience accelerated growth. My experience at that time was growth was increasing tax revenue in excess of expenses. We were even able to cut the tax rate from .615 to .51 during the previous revaluation.
2. Recreation should be available to all citizens relatively close to their home. I would be open to reviewing the allocation of resources to make that a reality. As a former chairman of the recreation commission, I feel that I would be a valuable asset in this process.
3. If elected, I would make a motion the first meeting to schedule two meetings each year in the east and two meetings in the west to bring government closer to the citizens.
We need to continue with a strong effort to bring in new industries that will enhance our tax base, lower your property tax and provide jobs for our citizens.
I would support education for the children and law enforcement for your protection.
Larry Steve Craig
Family: Married, two children, three grandchildren
Occupation: co-owner of Big A Auto Parts Inc. of Maiden and Lincolnton. Contact agent for the NCDMV License Plate Agency.
Political experience: Nine years as Lincoln County commissioner; board member of Department of Social Services, Health Department, Historic Properties Commission, Recreation Department and Board of Adjustments.
Community involvement: Sunday school director, finance chairman and building fund raising chairman of Anthony Grove Baptist Church, Crouse; member, Maiden Lions Club; lifetime member of Humane Society; Lincoln Historical Association
1. I support having the APFO and real estate transfer tax. These are tools to help lessen the tax burden.
2. The current Board of Commissioners has a lot of recreation projects under way, such as the purchase of land for the West Lincoln Park, working on a lease with Duke Power for Beatties Ford access area park and we have currently provided more staffing for the East Lincoln recreation facility.
3. Extending the water line is a priority of mine; a pay study for employees and looking for creative ways to lessen the tax rate are also priorities.