MONROE – The Union County Board of Commissioners has long been comprised of Republicans. As Democrat Marty Moffat enters the race, he hopes to change that dynamic with a non-critical approach.
Moffat was contacted six months ago by the Union County Democratic Party, who asked him if he would consider running for local office. Though Moffat had volunteered throughout election cycles with the party, his background is in business, not politics. Once leaders from the party explained the concerns they had with the current board, Moffat felt motivated to run.
“They’ve had the same guys on that board for a long time and they pretty much all think the same way,” Moffat said. “In some people’s opinions, they haven’t done a really good job of managing the growth in Union County. I’m not running as a critic, but as somebody that hasn’t been involved and has a business acumen and a track record of excellent performance running businesses.”
Moffat’s slogan is, “Working Together to Make Union County Better.” He does not want to fight with the board, but rather work together and bring in a fresh perspective with his business background.
One of his biggest goals is to get a better grasp on managing Union County’s growth.
“You can’t just simply keep adding big housing neighborhoods or communities into this county without thinking about roads and infrastructure and water supply and all of the things that surround that growth,” Moffat said. “It’s got to be done in a way that the infrastructure keeps up with the growth. I don’t see that as the way it’s happened so far.”
If elected, he hopes to work with the board to plan for the future. He believes Union County will continue to grow and the board needs to plan accordingly before giving developers the green light to put in new neighborhoods.
“I recognize they’re looking for tax money coming in, that’s what growth is all about so they can support other things,” Moffat said. “But you’ve got to do it in an orderly, managed way and planning, to me, is the most critical issue that appears to have not been done as robustly as maybe they could have.”
Moffat said one example of infrastructure that could help manage the growth is the addition of options for residents who don’t want to travel to Charlotte to do their shopping. He believes it would be beneficial to bring shops closer to residents, which would also increase the tax base.
While growth is a challenge that Union County is facing, Moffat sees it as a positive challenge for now.
“It’s not like you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel for the last nickel to keep the county alive,” Moffat said. “This is the opposite of that. It’s kind of like a company that’s flooding with sales because they’ve got a great product. I think this is a fairly positive challenge that we’re experiencing, but it could turn more serious if we don’t manage it properly.”
He believes the recent controversy surrounding rising water rates in Union County is a direct result of not strategically planning ahead for growth.
“It’s hard to come at that issue way after the fact,” Moffat said. “Your hands are kind of tied at that point.”
Moffat said he has noticed problems with the roads in Union County, particularly Rocky River Road and Old Charlotte Highway.
“They’re building neighborhoods right on Old Charlotte Highway and they’re going to dump out onto that little, two-lane road,” Moffat said. “It’s going to be an issue.”
As a Democrat, Moffat hopes to add some diversity in opinion to the board. He said while he looks like the current board, his new perspective could add something diverse.
He also believes that because the current board members have held their positions for so long, an outsider’s point of view could be beneficial to both the board and the residents of Union County.
Because Moffat is the only Democrat candidate, he does not plan to actively campaign until after the March primary.
He hopes voters, regardless of political party, consider his business experience and track record when voting.
“If any of the voters are concerned or dissatisfied with the way things are going, then why not try somebody new to be included on the board that might offer up some newer ideas or some more defined management techniques that we could use to manage the county,” Moffat said. “I’ve got a proven track record of managing a business for a long time and that’s what I’m offering up to the community of Union County, is that experience and expertise and knowledge to the board of commissioners.”