The mayoral race for Harrisburg is virtually decided, while four candidates vie for three seats on the Town Council.Tim Hagler, who has been Harrisburg’s mayor since 2001, bowed out of the race weeks ago. Hagler’s name will remain on the ballot, but he has endorsed the only other registered candidate, 8-year council member Steve Sciascia, for the four-year term. Sciascia’s former council seat is one of three open seats up for election. Town Council incumbents Chad Baucom and Jeffrey Phillips will face John Booth and Vic Taylor for those spots.Cabarrus News asked the candidates these questions via email: • What is the top issue facing Harrisburg, and how will you address it?• What do potential voters need to know about you and why you’re running? and• If you lose, what advice would you give the winner(s)? Each also could present a closing statement.
Friday, Nov. 01, 2013
At least one new leader coming to Harrisburg
Chad Baucom Baucom has a master’s degree from the Liberty University School of Business and is a sales manager for a Charlotte-based bank. He’s served on the Harrisburg Economic Development Committee since 2009. Maintaining the town’s identity, providing recreation opportunities and placing an emphasis on job creation and economic development are key priorities for Baucom. “We will be faced with issues related to residential and commercial growth; challenges from outside organizations, such as the N.C. Department of Transportation; and various internal challenges, such as ensuring that we have adequate public safety and parks and recreation facilities,” he said. Baucom said his education and his business experience will be helpful, but his most valuable trait is being a good listener. “A leader today needs to have a distinct view of where the town is going…,” he said. “Along with maintaining our identity as a family-friendly environment, we need to focus on… providing an environment where local businesses can grow and expand, and where new companies can thrive and succeed.” Baucom supports devoting more resources to public safety, development of the Town Center and maintaining low property taxes. “You won’t hear me making promises that I will fix every problem immediately or that every decision that I make will be perfect,” said Baucom. “Why? I truly believe (residents) deserve real answers from political candidates who will be just as focused on meeting your expectations after Election Day as they were while asking for your vote.”
John Booth Boothattended UNC Charlotte and is a firefighter. He’s against big-box stores, unnecessary tax increases and high-density housing. His top priority is economic development. “There is around 2,000 acres of undeveloped or underdeveloped property in Harrisburg,” he said. “If elected, this would be a great starting point for attracting new business to the town. I will work closely with the town’s economic development committee … and try to find new ways to encourage growth.” Maintaining or improving relationships with existing businesses and stimulating business growth within Town Center and the N.C. 49 corridor are key goals for Booth. “(Economic development) would be a win-win for both the town and the residents,” he said. “It would allow a way for the town to generate revenue and help offset the tax burden for the residents while maintaining the small-town feel.” If elected, Booth said, he would improve the town’s online presence and encourage the public to be more engaged. He gave this advice to his opponents: “Stay true to Harrisburg,” he said. “You are elected by the people and are there to advocate for them. … Don’t be afraid to ask the hard questions and stand up for what you think is right.” He said he’ll bring a new perspective to the Town Council. “I wanted to step up and actively participate in making sure Harrisburg continues down the right path, continues to be fiscally responsible and maintains the low tax rate, the great schools and the ‘small-town feel,’” he said.
Jeffrey Phillips Phillips, 52, works as a quality assurance inspector at Saddle Creek Corp.’s Harrisburg office. He earned an associate’s in business management from Lorain County Community College and a two-year degree from the Dale Carnegie School of Business.. He has been a Town Council member for four years and was mayor pro tem from 2010 to 2011. He’s also served on the Harrisburg planning and zoning board for a year. Phillips issued only a general statement. Keeping the present and future interests of the town’s businesses and residents in mind will be his goal if re-elected. “The biggest issue going on in Harrisburg is the additional railroad track being built through town by the federal government for high-speed rail,” he said. “For the next three-plus years, roads will be closed and detours will be the norm until three bridges over the railroad tracks are complete. “The town couldn’t stop this from happening, but we will continue to talk with NCDOT to try to make it easier and safer for travel around town.”
Vic Taylor Taylor has lived in Harrisburg for more than 10 years. A staff manager and registered representative with Western and Southern Financial Group, he moved from Charlotte for the town’s safe environment, the schools and the recreation opportunities. Taylor completed two years of college at North Greenville University and is a staff manager with Western and Southern Financial Group. “My wife, Laurie, is a school teacher in Cabarrus County, and I hear first-hand the struggles that she faces as she educates our children,” he said. “I will do everything I can to ensure we continue to support our schools.” His top priorities, if elected, would be to attract and retain diverse businesses, to maintain that safe environment and to keep crime low by maintaining a strong police presence. He also wants to make efficient use of existing green space to enhance recreation opportunities and said he would fight unnecessary tax increases. “I have seen Harrisburg grow from farmland to a thriving town,” he said. “If elected I will make myself available to the people of Harrisburg to ensure their voice is heard.”