The Lincoln County Board of Commissioners race is shaping up to be a competitive one with eight Republicans and one Democrat running for three vacant seats. There are eight Republican candidates on the ballot for the March 3 primary election, which will determine which three will be listed on the general election ballot on Nov. 3.
Hoping to be reelected for a second term, commissioner Anita McCall said that she’s running again because the board has accomplished so much in the four years that she’s been a member, and she wants to continue with the good work.
“I’d like to see us move further,” she said. “We’ve actually done more with less money than has ever been done. I’d like to continue doing that. We lowered our tax rate and accomplished so much when it’s come to capital projects.”
The projects that McCall is speaking of include the new Lincoln County Board of Elections facility, the new Senior Center, county administrative building renovations, the board obtained grant funding to do grading at the East Lincoln Rescue Park, upfit of the new 911 communications center, a new west Lincoln library is currently under construction and the capacity of the water treatment plant has been doubled.
“All of this and we lowered the tax rate,” she said.
The qualifications that McCall believes make her the best candidate are her background as an engineer and she was on the City of Lincolnton Planning and Zoning Board and Board of Adjustments boards for six years.
“I think that time on the planning board was the best training there was and it should be mandatory for everybody coming on as a commissioner because you learn about quasi-judicial cases which are court cases,” she said. “I really feel that I have the ability to look at things logically and find middle ground. Many times, we can pull from one fund, look for grants or find companion funding. There are many ways that we can go about things and my background helps me to find those ways.”
With each proposal for a new development, residential or commercial, in Denver, the board is bombarded with concerns over traffic. Understanding the roadblock that is NCDOT, McCall said that the members of the board have learned how to better Lincoln County’s chances by having plans already made.
“We have one commissioner who sits on the Gaston, Cleveland and Lincoln County board,” she said. “We have to compete against all municipalities as well as incorporated cities. We found out that we had to have the plans already done so we came back and set aside funding to be able to do that. NCDOT is the god of the roads, but we had to learn how to move our priority up by companion funding, grant funding and working with our developers, we’ve always been good at that, but legally you can’t demand them to do anything, but you can ask.”
McCall added that you can skin a cat more than one way so the commissioners have to look for avenues to move traffic in ways that will get the NCDOT’s attention as well as smoothing the way with companion funding with the hope that they say yes.
With several high-dollar projects on the horizon, including a new courthouse and the expansion of the county jail, a capital reserve fund has been established for the excess tax revenues created by last year's property revaluation. The plan is for those revenues to be used to offset a portion of those multi-million-dollar projects, thus reducing the amount the county would need to borrow. McCall is in favor of this plan because she doesn’t want the county to have to borrow more money.
“I also don’t want us to raise taxes, so the reevaluation helped us,” she said. “Some counties do reevaluations every eight years. Lincoln County does it once every four years which is better because it doesn’t bite you quite as bad. I like the way that we’re doing it and I like that fund for that purpose.”
Going forward, if she’s re-elected, McCall said she’ll work to keep taxes low.
“Lincoln County has grown so much, and you want to have good industry here, but you don’t want to lose the feel of the county,” she said. “Economic Development is a big thing. We try to look for the best companies that give us the highest paying jobs. Not everybody’s going to go to college, we have the production jobs available as well as high end management jobs. I think Lincoln County has so much going for it, we need to hone in on what we really want to do. We want to put water out in west Lincoln, which has kind of been left out and east Lincoln has had all the growth. Everybody thinks that infrastructure leads growth, but it doesn’t really work that way. Most of the time developers will purchase land and develop it and it always feels like you’re a little bit behind. Lincoln County led the state of North Carolina for building permits in 2017. I love Lincoln County and would like to serve again.”
There are three one-stop early voting locations which will be open from Feb. 13 through Feb. 29 and with the primary election occurring on March 3.