Residents across western Union County will soon elect new members to their town’s boards, but only Marvin, Stallings and Weddington residents will elect a new figurehead for their community.
Although the mayors do not vote unless there is a tie among the board, many see the seat as a face, or leader, for the board and the town. The three incumbents – Marvin Mayor Nick Dispenziere, Stallings Mayor Lynda Paxton and Weddington Mayor Walker Davidson – aren’t running for re-election, leaving the positions up for grabs.
Union County Weekly wanted to give residents a good look at the races in Stallings and Weddington prior to Election Day on Nov. 5 to help residents choose who they feel is the best leader for their community. Marvin was not included because all candidates who filed for Marvin mayor have dropped out of the race, meaning a write-in candidate could take the seat.
Stay tuned for next week’s issue, which will include one last look at candidates in Indian Trail, Marvin, Stallings, Waxhaw, Weddington and Wesley Chapel.
Find more information about candidates in all six municipalities at www.unioncountyweekly.com where candidates have answered questions on town-specific issues. Voting locations can be found online at www. co.union.nc.us/Government/BoardofElections.aspx.
Stallings mayoral candidate Wyatt Dunn
Current councilmember Wyatt Dunn stepped up to the plate to run for mayor after talking to Paxton, who was stepping down from the position. After seeing the work she has done while on the board, Dunn wants to continue moving the town in the same direction, he said.
“Lynda has done such a great job over the last eight years that I felt like I owed it to her and her supporters to keep the policies she put in place going,” he said.
When it comes to the future of the town, Dunn plans to do what he can to maintain the small-town feel many community members have said they love about Stallings. And for Dunn, the main issue in doing that is keeping the tax rate low – something he has done while on the board when voting and implementing two tax decreases, he said.
Dunn says it’s all about focusing on wants over needs to ensure the town is being smart with the taxpayers’ money and remembering that the homeowners in town are the most important part of the community.
“I almost always vote on quality of life issues for the citizens. If there is an issue that affects the quality of life, I vote for the citizens,” he said.
Stallings mayoral candidate Al Graham
When he saw the direction the current town council was taking with storm water repairs and future development in the town, Al Graham knew he needed to step up and run for mayor.
Graham, who was previously on council from 2005 to 2009, wants to use the resources already available in Stallings and create the town that community members and residents have said they want to see. According to Graham, to do this the unified development ordinance for the town would first have to be revised to be more business-friendly to promote expansion in the town.
“My vision basically is to move forward with what we have, enhance it and bring it forward, which then in turn goes toward what we want in the future and bring in tax revenue,” he said.
But future development isn’t his only focus; currently the town council is planning to use funds outside of the storm water fee to repair problems throughout the town, something Graham feels is inappropriate. Instead of pulling from other pools of money, he wants to increase the storm water fee to $48 per household – the rate originally proposed.
“Our council cut the fee in half because they didn’t know what they were going to spend it on,” he said.
Weddington mayoral candidate Bill Deter
Limiting commercial development to the town center, or Weddington Corners shopping center, is the main focus for Bill Deter, who feels the town leaders may be moving in the wrong direction.
“Right now, the town has a small town center and that’s where commercial is restricted to, and I’m a big believer in that,” he said. “I have experienced some situations where I feel it’s creeping outside of that area.”
Spending in the town also is a large focus for Deter, but he already has pushed town leaders to be more fiscally responsible by speaking at council meetings in the past, he said. If elected, Deter hopes to continue that partnership and bring more of a team-feel to the board.
“There is a lot of ill will on the council,” he said. “So I’m hoping, when I get elected, that I can do a lot to get the town leaders to function more as a high performing team.”
And in doing that, Deter says communication is key – communication between council members and residents. If elected, he hopes to create more of an open line between residents and the council through a possible partnership with the town and homeowners’ associations.
Weddington mayoral candidate Scott Robinson
Running for an elected office has already been a dream for Scott Robinson, and after becoming involved with town issues he knew now was the time.
And much like other candidates running in Weddington, Robinson says the main focus for the town is future development and planning now to accommodate for the growth seen in western Union County that will continue.
“I think the biggest overall issue in Weddington is how do we handle growth and development?” he said. “… What I would like to see is to help develop a real plan for the community.”
But planning smart also is important for Robinson, who wants to keep the tax rate low – meaning the town will have to plan wisely with future development not only in a commercial sense, but also with water and sewer and public safety.
Much like Deter, Robinson says planning for what the community wants can’t be done without more open communication between the town and residents, which also will help residents make informed opinions about what projects are going on in town.
“It’s making sure that we use all of the channels out there to let people know what is going on and give people information and give them the facts,” he said.