Vale resident George Mull is making another run for a seat on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners.
“I feel it is my civic duty to use my knowledge and experience for the benefit of my neighbors, community and county and that every citizen who has the capacity and inclination to do so, should,” he said. “For the past seven years I have been involved in county level government including planning and zoning, the steering committee for planning and zoning and for the past five years I have served on the board of adjustments for planning and zoning.”
Also, for the last seven years, Mull said that he’s taken advantage of every opportunity for continuing education through the Western Piedmont Council of Government. In the last year and a half, he’s taken classes through the University of North Carolina School of Government.
“These courses help me to become more familiar with issues concerning planning and zoning and quasi-judicial issues which are very similar to that of a magistrate,” he said. “Issues that require partiality, open mindedness and objectivity. I have 30 years of textile manufacturing management experience as well as retail experience. I have a good deal of experience dealing with the public – being diplomatic and dealing with different entities that require flexibility to reach the goal that you seek.”
Mull has a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in psychology as well as degrees in textile technology. He’s also a federally licensed veteran’s administration fiduciary and has experience managing pension funds and has received an accommodation from the Veteran’s Administration for his proficiency in doing so.
With each proposal for a new residential or commercial development in Denver, the board is bombarded with concerns over traffic and NCDOT can be a roadblock. Mull agrees that the existing board of county commissioners does not have control over NCDOT, however, from his own experience with the entity, he realizes that each public works project by the DOT is regulated by qualifiers that make the job a priority, or not, on DOT’s list.
“My personal opinion is that in the eastern end of the county, that developer money coming out of Mecklenburg and other counties has created a situation where the cart is in front of the horse,” he said. “Adequate infrastructure is not in place, i.e. roads, utilities, water and sewer prior to approving some of these large developments. There again, diplomacy with the state DOT would improve our situation with getting those projects in Lincoln County prioritized and should be addressed further.”
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. While Mull agrees that it’s necessary to build a new courthouse given the existing one is historic building, renovations would have to conform to historical guidelines which would triple the expense, he thinks that more money should be borrowed instead of using reserve funds.
“There’s a great need for improved facilities for our judiciary process,” he said. “There are many other options available. In my opinion with current interest rates as low as they are, it would be more prudent for us to do a bond at an extremely low interest rate. Lincoln County has a 2A bond rating and we’re only required to have, I think it’s 9% of our annual budget, on reserve and we have about five times that amount. By keeping that reserve in our budget, it will improve our odds of getting a 3A bond rating which would mean even lower rates.”
Mull would rather see more money left in the reserve fund to be used in case of an emergency, such as catastrophic weather.
“We don’t know what events will occur in the future,” he said. “It’s better to have a nest egg than not.”
Other issues that Mull feels are important include taking care of the seniors, veterans and children.
“There are so many people in the county that for one reason or another don’t have an adequate voice or perhaps the resources to find services that are available to them,” he said. “Our population is definitely aging and that’s an issue that’s important to me that needs to be addressed. I was brought up to honor our mother and father and I see a trend nowadays where families, for one reason or another, are just stuffing their parents and grandparents in rest homes and not keeping them in their homes. A vital part of our community, our seniors are our history books and how life has been over the past 100 years.”
Mull added that he was in agreement with how the current commissioners are allocating the general fund. He also said that he’s probably running the least expensive campaign in the history of Lincoln County.
“I’m keeping my expenditures under $425,” he said. “Two years ago, I kept it under $400. I am not soliciting contributions. I’m not going to be beholding to any particular interest, lobby or group and feel that this comes from my quasi-judicial training. Decisions made on a county level should be very impartial and I don’t think money should buy a candidate’s way into an office.”
There are three one-stop early voting locations which open on Feb. 13 through Feb. 29 and with the primary election occurring on March 3.