Official filing for the 2013 Lincolnton municipal election won’t get underway until July, but potential candidates are already beginning to throw their names in the race.
Two have already filed the necessary paperwork in recent weeks to open their campaigns, which gives them the go-ahead to legally raise and spend campaign money.
Mayor John Gilleland, a Republican first elected to the post in 2009, has announced his plans to run for a third two-year term.
“It was a fairly easy decision to make because it has been a very rewarding experience, and we have made a difference,” he said. “We will continue to encourage all management to run our city efficiently and hold down taxes. Even though our sales and property tax revenues have been down, we have cut back on spending and are operating more efficiently.”
A focal point in his first two terms has been the need for effective and efficient government, as well as the importance of encouraging downtown development.
“Our goals are the same,” he said. “We will continue to move Lincolnton forward by encouraging business development; we will make sure every department operates more efficiently and save the taxpayers’ money every way possible.”
Another issue remaining on his to-do list is finding additional water customers for the city of Lincolnton.
“We must sell more water, and I would like to continue our efforts with the county to make sure an agreement is signed,” he said.
In addition to Gilleland, a City Council hopeful has also opened his campaign finances. Martin Eaddy, a Democrat, will seek the Ward III seat currently occupied by Carroll Heavner, who will not run for re-election. Heavner was first elected to the council in 1971 and has represented Ward III since 1993. He was also the mayor of Lincolnton from 1982 until 1987.
Eaddy served as the superintendent of Lincoln County Schools from 1986 to 2001 and has also served on various local boards, including for the Lincolnton-Lincoln County Regional Airport, the Public Education Foundation and the Lincoln County Rotary Student Loan Fund.
Having spent most of his life in public service, Eaddy said that he wanted to continue giving back to the community in some capacity.
While he describes himself as a fiscal conservative, he did say that the focus of government shouldn’t be just cutting expenditures. Instead, he believes it’s necessary to make sure city officials help prepare for the future and preserve Lincolnton as a type of community that is both a great place to live and do business.
He also stressed the importance of housing development in downtown and of continuing to attract quality city employees.
Devin Rhyne, councilman from Ward I, will also be up for re-election this year.
City Council members Dr. John “Les” Cloninger of Ward II and Larry Mac Hovis of Ward IV were re-elected in 2011.
Members are elected at large but are required to file for election by ward. Two members of the Lincolnton City Council are elected every two years, serving four-year terms.