Stallings candidates discuss storm water, future town manager

STALLINGS – With elections less than two months away, Union County Weekly is continuing to give western Union County residents a chance to learn more about the candidates in their towns.

This week, Union County Weekly reached out to the two mayoral and eight town council candidates in Stallings to discuss storm water, the new town manager, future growth and more.

Town council candidates Rocky Crenshaw in District 2 and Sergio Carrera in District 3 did not respond by Union County Weekly’s print deadline on Wednesday, Sept. 11, at noon.
Stallings Mayor

Stallings Mayor

 

Wyatt Dunn

704-882-3310

mwdunn@carolina.rr.com

WyattDunn.com

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

The criteria to be used should be determined by the impact storm water has on citizen’s personal property or on town owned property such as streets.  The current council voted to have a storm water impact study to prioritize areas that need repair and to develop a financial criteria.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial?

The future development of Stallings will be focused on the U.S. 74 corridor and downtown.  Both areas have been under study or have been improved.  My vision is to keep taxes low and to provide a high quality of life to raise a family and attract new businesses.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

The personal qualities of town manager I’m looking for is a person of integrity willing to serve our citizens.  If he/she has these personal characteristics then I’m looking for a person with planning experience blended with business background.  Knowledge of all state and local statutes covering municipalities should be required.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

1. Continue my eight-year pledge to the citizens of Stallings that I will not vote for any tax increase.  The citizens of Stallings pay enough taxes, and we need to control spending.

2. Continue the transparency of all town activities and spending that has been developed over the past eight years that benefits every citizen.  Currently, we have a transparent government in Stallings, and I do not want to return to the days of back room deals that benefit a few.

3. Continue the development of the U.S. 74 corridor and downtown to bring in revenue and improve our quality of life.  However, infrastructure development must be done with other municipalities as well as with federal and state money.

 

Al Graham

704-882-4223

algraham@carolina.rr.com

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

Storm Water definition of responsibility is: If the water originates from any public area it is public responsibility, if the water originates from any private area it is not public responsibility, regardless of right of way. Existing right of way is not the issue but needs to be considered before any repairs are made.  The criteria for repairs should be: if detrimental to life or property, age of needed repair, size of repair needed, location and the level of positive impact repair will make.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial?

With the boundaries mostly set in Stallings it is important the future development of every parcel of land, residential and commercial should be maximized as to the best use for potential of quality of life and tax revenues.  I support moving forward with the Potter and Pleasant Plains intersection improvement plan that includes the downtown master plan that supports commercial and residential growth.  The Monroe Road widening plan will also bring potential for commercial growth.  I support residential growth that includes high quality with reasonable density.  Moving forward with the current capital improvement plan for road projects, sidewalks and adjusting for future growth needs will put us on track to lower taxes in the future.  I will guide Stallings through a balanced commercial and residential growth plan that includes investing for return and lowers taxes.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

Two to five years working with budgeting, zoning, planning, the North Carolina Department of Transportation, municipal government, environmental, code enforcement, personnel, town boards, Centralina Council of Governments and law enforcement.  Good decision-making, multi-tasking and a high tolerance for stress, a full background, employment and education check.  Process will include a 30-day advertisement in at least three public formats, a diverse committee of five set up by council for review of applications and first interview and a list prepared for full council to conduct second interviews.  Final interviews will be conducted by full council.  Negotiations, offer and acceptance to be done by full council.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

1. Budget needs. I will move the town in a responsible direction for investing in Stallings’s future including roads improvements, storm water, sidewalks and residential and commercial projects.

2. Storm Water.  To get the town back on track with a responsible plan that includes compliance, project needs and future growth in a cost effective way not to burden residents or commercial property owners.

3. I assure all tax payers there will be an open door in Stallings for all concerns and ideas that will be addressed openly and fairly without fear of retaliation.

 

Stallings Town Council District 1

 

James Arnette

980-202-0402

james.arnette@gmail.com

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

Priority should be given to the repairs with the most critical needs.  This should include any repairs that concern the safety of our citizens and then the committee should evaluate the other repairs needed and rank them in order of severity.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial?

I feel the town should expand the commercial development in the town.  There needs to be a good balance between the commercial and residential expansion in Stallings.  Added commercial growth can meet the needs of our residents, provide new employment opportunities and add additional revenue without increasing taxes.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

Our new town manager will need budgetary and personnel experience to properly handle the day-to-day operations.  The council will need to find a suitable applicant that not only meets these requirements but who also understands our town and the people who live here.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

My main priorities will be expanding our commercial growth to provide additional employment opportunities and tax revenue and maintaining a balance budget.

 

Regis F Griffin

704-776-5204

griffrf@netzero.com

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues? 

I think the root cause for each occurrence needs to be identified.  If the root cause is tied back to the town, or water that originates from a public thoroughfare, then the town has an obligation to resolve the issue.  If the root cause is not town or resident caused then the town should assist in pursuing resolution by the appropriate party.   I also believe that if not fixing the problem now will cost taxpayers more significantly in the future, the problem should be repaired.  The storm water survey should be prioritized in order to resolve the most impactful situations first.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial? 

I think that one of the biggest challenges facing Stallings in the future will be the impacts from internal and external growth and new development.  While there may be geographical boundaries there is significant undeveloped land within the town limits.  I anticipate that over time those properties will see residential and commercial development.  The town leadership will need to have the foresight to anticipate the traffic, infrastructure, storm water, provided services, revenue and tax rate implications on the town and prepare and forecast for them accordingly to make sure we can support the future changes.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person? 

Being a municipal manager is a very important, difficult and demanding job.  Filling that role is one of council’s most important functions.  During my prior terms on council, I led the hiring process for a new manager on three separate occasions.  Beyond the technical and educational requirements, their most relevant quality will be their ability to exhibit how they have acted with integrity and in the highest ethical manner in order to create an environment of trust with both the public and the elected officials.  If council performs the recruiting and hiring role correctly it can set the town up for long-term success.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration? 

The upcoming election could potentially result in the electing of five new council members.  The hiring of a new manager, the storm water survey, funding and repair, the Union County property revaluation, and the annual budget development process will immediately face the new council.   If elected, my focus will be on using my eight years of prior council leadership experience to assist the new council members in navigating the processes, procedures and protocols required to successfully face these and other looming challenges, which will need to be immediately undertaken.

 

Rick Widmann

704-906-1930

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

I believe each situation is unique and should be evaluated based on the issues involved.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial? Consideration of growth, both residential and commercial, must be decided by our community. Each resident of Stallings has a right to vote on these types of issues.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

Integrity, leadership, to work with people and the ability to listen. Experience should include a solid education, management capability and sensitivity to each person’s importance in the community. The interview process should be transparent and open for everyone to see.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

1. No new taxes.

2. Reduce waste in government.

3. Add technology where it makes sense and cuts costs of doing business.

 

Stallings Town Council District 2

 

Reed Esarove

704-564-0211

resarove@council.stallingsnc.org

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

First, the issue of storm water repairs is not about repairs on “streets” outside the right of way.  The issue is about repairing and maintaining the storm water system outside of the right of way.  The system includes underground drainage pipes and ditches, which carry public water runoff.  These areas are typically behind or on the side of properties.  The town engineer and staff have already developed a ranking system for evaluating storm water issues.  The ranks are A, B or C.  “A” being the highest priority.  I believe that ranking system is what we should use to determine our annual budget for maintenance and repair.  Obviously we cannot repair all projects at once, but by determining the highest priority concerns, based on engineering evaluation and not political evaluation, we can systematically work to resolve our existing storm water problems and prepare for any future issues.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial? Stallings size in land area is the size we will be for years to come.  Recent annexation laws will make it difficult to grow in land area as well as our proximity to other municipalities.  This means that we will have to be diligent in our review and approval of the development of land in our town because there is only a limited amount of undeveloped property.  While commercial tax base is needed to help balance our tax base, we have to recognize that residential development is needed to support and attract commercial development.  I believe that the town should re-evaluate our existing land use plan to see if our vision for the future is attainable.  We should focus on working with the county to improve and install infrastructure in our commercial areas.  Redevelopment of existing commercial areas such as the U.S. 74 corridor will be important to increasing our commercial tax base.  As for residential development, we will need to consider density in those areas that are adjacent to commercial development.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

I believe that a manager for the town will need to have a strong background in planning and development.  Because we are essentially land locked, development of our very limited undeveloped land and redevelopment of existing commercial development is vital.  We will need to work closely with Union County to improve our existing water and sewer infrastructure and to install new infrastructure so this individual will need to have a good understanding of that development process.

As for how to select a candidate, I believe that the new council members should work together to identify the attributes they see as primary for the candidate and then develop a position announcement based on those attributes.  We should then work to develop a list of interview questions, which focus on those attributes to help weed out the candidates that are not the correct fit.  We may need assistance from the outside to help with this process, but regardless of that, I believe the new council should be involved with developing the elements of the process for it to be successful.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

1. Future, sustainable, quantifiable cost cutting measures.

2. Planned and sustained growth initiatives.

3. Continue to develop the downtown core and tax base of the town.

 

Stallings Town Council District 3

 

Walter Kline

wkline2@carolina.rr.com

www.walterkline.com

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

The town staff has completed the storm water system survey.  They are currently working on cost estimates for the work needed to remedy issues.  As this work is completed in the next 30 to 60 days the information required to make informed decisions on moving forward will be available to further discern.  It would appear that the basic criteria for prioritizing any work would consider cost, remediation of significant environmental impacts, benefit to citizens and safety.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial?

As I drive from my side of Stallings all the way to the other side, I see great opportunity for us as a town to shape a balanced commercial and residential plan.  We need to look beyond the immediate future of five to 10 years out more to 20 or 30 years.  Where do we vision our shopping hubs that attract our residents and surrounding communities to do business in Stallings?  There are various pockets of land that have the opportunity to be annexed into our town.  This is an initiative the new town manager with town council to create a town vision and strategy.  We then can ensure that we are prioritizing the resources for the capital improvements that are required to support that future growth.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

The basic qualifications are that they have the educational background with practical experience.  It would be beneficial that they have experience in developing strategic visions and plans with positive outcomes.  This correlates to the question for future development.  An issue we need to address overall as a town in building a sense of community across the various sections.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

1. Building a vision for Stallings that provides community across the various sections.

2. Long term economic and community strategy that supports the vision of what we want to be as a Town.

 

Stallings Town Council District 6

 

Deborah Romanow

704-941-1818

www.facebook.com/dromanow

 

Town staff has been conducting a survey of the storm water system throughout the town.  One of the questions that council will discuss is whether the town should be responsible for repairs on streets outside of the right of way.  What criteria should be used in determining priority for repairs of storm water issues?

Since the information of where the problems are has already been determined, I think you have to look for where the major challenges with storm water are.  How many people are affected by the problem?  What are the costs involved and would fixing the major problem eliminate other problems or create more?  There are many things to consider, and I am thankful that it would not be entirely up to me to solve the problem, but a team effort with the other members of the council.

 

Stallings has experienced considerable growth over the last few years in population, but the town has boundaries preventing growth geographically.  What is your vision for the future development for the town, both for residential and commercial?

I think that we need to look for opportunities to bring in businesses to the town.  Having been on the planning board in Stallings for almost 12 years, I have seen considerable numbers of businesses come before us for consideration.  The businesses are going to help keep our residential tax rates low as well as providing the residents with businesses to patronize.  I would like to see us bring in some nice apartment homes for our residents on more limited incomes.

 

One of the first tasks for the newly elected council will be to hire a new town manager.  What qualities and experience do you think is important for the new manager, and what measures should the council take when interviewing and selecting this person?

First of all, finding another great town manager will be a challenge.  Brian Matthews has been amazing, but it is a task that will need to be completed quickly and with clarity of purpose.  Qualities: honesty, integrity, knowledge of the job to be performed, with fair and kind management skills.  It doesn’t mean that the person has to have years and years of experience, but they need to have a foundation on which to build.

The council will have to generate a list of questions that would allow the person to tell us who they are, check on their references, select the top three candidates and then talk to staff for their input, since they have to work with the person daily, to make a decision regarding the person that will best fit our great town.

 

If elected, what are the top three initiatives you will bring to council for consideration?

I would like to see us think of businesses that we don’t have in Stallings and “court” those businesses to our town.  I would like to see the council get more involved with the community by assigning the council members to neighborhoods and if possible, attend their homeowner’s meetings thereby getting to know our residents better.  I would like to see the council continue on with integrity and transparency as we conduct the town’s business.

 

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