After spending almost eight years on the Lincoln County Board of Education, Cathy Davis decided to take the next step in her service to the community and is making a run for a seat on the Lincoln County Board of Commissioners. In addition to her time on the board of education, Davis also served for four years on the Lincoln County Planning Board and has volunteered for a multitude of nonprofits over the years.
“I’ve dedicated a lot of time and energy to our community and I feel like I have a good hand on the pulse of the community and know where the needs are,” she said. “I’m proud to say that I was instrumental in the forming of Hesed House of Hope, a homeless shelter for men and women in Lincoln County. I was successful in writing the first grant of $140,000 to help with the permanent shelter. That was a great experience and I met a lot of caring individuals throughout this community to help make that vision a reality. It warms my heart to think of all the people that have been helped.”
Davis, a fourth generation Rotarian and former Lincoln County Woman of the Year, has also been involved with Lincoln County foster care, having been a foster parent to one child that she and her husband took in as a foster child when he was 15 years old.
With each proposal for a new residential or commercial development in Denver, the board is bombarded with concerns over traffic. Davis understands that NCDOT can be a roadblock and is aware that mobility is a problem on the eastern side of the county. She also believes that growth isn’t going to slow unless the county takes a greater position on lot size and things of that nature.
“I understand that there are a lot of projects in the pipeline with DOT in the upcoming years in the Denver area,” she said. “Having a working relationship with DOT is something I think our current commissioners have done well. I wouldn’t do anything to change that other than to stay involved and active with DOT to be sure that those projects are not bumped and are done in a timely manner.”
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.
“The county’s going to have to borrow some money to fund the new courthouse,” she said. “I don’t think the project should be skimmed or changed in any way. I love the plan that’s been proposed. I think it’s a very secure and safe environment they’re creating. I would love to have a new one downtown, but that’s just not possible. What we’re going to do with the old courthouse, who knows, but we definitely need to see life come back in it when the new one’s built.”
Other issues that Davis thinks are important include continuing the exploration of the purchase of the former Denver Defense building in Denver to be used as a base and training facility for the sheriff’s office on the eastern side of the county.
“I think that the sheriff’s department needs a permanent place on the eastern side of the county and that the residents need it as well,” she said. “Having the qualifying range might lead to some revenue if we had a deputy who was over that.”
She’s excited about the pending opening of the west Lincoln library because it brings an expansion of services that residents, particularly students, will enjoy and appreciate. She also thinks that the county should look at expanding library services in east Lincoln as well.
“The county has steadily improved the per pupil spending granted to Lincoln County Schools over the past several years,” she said. “As the current chair of the Lincoln County Board of Education I can say that this is largely due to the relationship that the county manager, Kelly Atkins, and the commissioners have with Dr. Morrow and the board of education. There is transparency in all requests and in spending from Lincoln County Schools’ standpoint and there is an improved understanding of needs on the part of the commissioners. Of course, I hope to see this support grow.”
In addition, Davis is in favor of repurposing facilities that will be vacated as the county continues to expand services off Gamble Drive.
“For example, the current courthouse is an iconic building in the heart of our county seat, and it should be given a purpose that benefits the residents,” she said. “Whether that be a large gallery and museum with lecture space in the courtrooms or something else, it should be repurposed and supported by the county in some way.”
She also wants to be sure that the nonprofit organizations in Lincoln County that are helping the vulnerable population in the county continue to receive whatever help the county commissioners can provide.
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.