Archived Story

Columbus council candidates answer Bulletin questions

Published 8:32pm Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Josh Denton

1) Do you think Columbus is too dependent on its water revenues to join a water authority? What do you think are the positives and/or negatives for Columbus in joining a water authority with Polk County, Saluda and Tryon?

I do think Columbus is dependant on the water revunue however if the town were to join a water authority there is risk of potentially raising water rates substantially.

Columbus has some of the lowest water rates in the county and I would not want to see that rise, when the town has very good self sufficient water supply now.

2) What do you feel is an appropriate level of police enforcement? Do you think the current level is too strict, too lenient or appropriate?

I think a pro-active approach in law enforcement is needed; criminals are breaking the law day and night. With that said, I was fortunate enough to have served in law enforcement and I don’t think every infraction warrants a ticket.

For instance, if a honest, hard working citizen has an expired tag, just remind them and give them a chance to fix it. People are struggling to get by financially.

3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Columbus? Specifically, do you think the town should approve voluntary annexations or not?

I believe there is a lot of potential for the Town of Columbus; it is a great town. Towns have to grow in order to thrive and provide opportunity for young families wanting to call Columbus home.

Controlled growth through voluntary annexation gives an opportunity to make an informed decision in the best interest of everyone involved.

4) What is your vision for Columbus and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

I would like to see Columbus grow and thrive. Offer incentives to get businesses to come to Columbus. I would like to work together and increase parking on Main Street its hard for seniors to park down the street and walk to get to the restaurants.

Many times they just drive by. Lastly, I’m not a politician. I am a hard working citizen and I would like to be a voice for the people. I want to hear people’s concerns and work with all the members of the council to try and correct any issues that may arise.

Ricky McCallister:

1) Do you think Columbus is too dependent on its water revenues to join a water authority? What do you think are the positives and/or negatives for Columbus in joining a water authority with Polk County, Saluda and Tryon?

Columbus at this time has residential water and sewer rates based on a 3,000-gallon minimum at $16.65 and $2.43 per 1000 gallons thereafter for citizens living inside town limits. If we join a water authority at this time our rates would increase higher for our citizens.

With a independent water authority we would have no say in our rates. As our needs grow we may need to look at water authority, but at this time I don’t think it’s in the best interest of our citizens. We did work with Tryon and Saluda to interconnect in case of emergency water need to protect all three towns.

2) What do you feel is an appropriate level of police enforcement? Do you think the current level is too strict, too lenient or appropriate?

I think Columbus police department is doing a great job. I think that a person who breaks a traffic law, that is there to protect our citizens, should use this experience as a learning lesson and try not to break traffic laws that put our citizens in danger.

3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Columbus? Specifically, do you think the town should approve voluntary annexations or not?

Columbus approved annexation of Foster Creek development. When this development come in we will have our growth. I think we owe any area that wants to voluntary annex to at least look to see if this voluntary annexation would be a gain for the town of Columbus.

4) What is your vision for Columbus and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

Columbus is a town that has a lot of history. We need to make sure that we plan for future generations to come and not over look past and history.

We need to make our decisions on what is best for our citizens and town of Columbus. My decisions are made on what is best for all our citizens and this great place we live.

Tommy Melton:

1) Do you think Columbus is too dependent on its water revenues to join a water authority? What do you think are the positives and/or negatives for Columbus in joining a water authority with Polk County, Saluda and Tryon?

No. In the last year there have been no transfers from the Water Fund to the General Fund. Currently Columbus has four wells that are doing very well and another well that could go on line in a short time.

I do support the gathering of facts and communication with Tryon, Saluda and county government. It is also very important for all local governments to protect one of our most valuable assets, which is Lake Adger. I would not want to see the state of NC come in and take control of this lake.

2) What do you feel is an appropriate level of police enforcement? Do you think the current level is too strict, too lenient or appropriate?

Appropriate. It is important to realize that Columbus has an Interstate Hwy. (I-26) and US 74 that run thru the city limits of Columbus. Last year (2012) Columbus had two reported break-ins. I believe that is remarkable. It also shows that Chief Beddingfield and his officers are on the streets patrolling and showing a presence in our town.

3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Columbus? Specifically, do you think the town should approve voluntary annexations or not?

Clean and viable growth. I do not support “Big Box” stores. I lean toward Mom & Pop businesses. Voluntary annexation can be appropriate as long as the area being annexed has 100 percent approval of the citizens being annexed. I do not support forced annexation. That is taxation without representation and is totally wrong.

4) What is your vision for Columbus and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

Maintain a low tax base for real property. Continue to improve on our services, water, sewer, trash collection, street improvements, police and fire protection. I think Columbus has an excellent staff of employees that work both inside and outside. Also maintain an attitude of seeking acceptable growth that benefits our great town.

I bring to the table seven years of experience in local government (Columbus Town Council three years and four years Polk County Commissioner and two years as their Chairman). I have served on St. Luke’s hospital board for seven years and the foundation board for two years.

Margaret Metcalf:

1) Do you think Columbus is too dependent on its water revenues to join a water authority? What do you think are the positives and/or negatives for Columbus in joining a water authority with Polk County, Saluda and Tryon?

No, we do not rely solely on water revenues. At this time a water authority is not for Columbus. Columbus’s four wells, soon to be five take care of our needs. At some point, I feel that Columbus may need to find a backup system, but that time by no means is now. I believe when a town joins a water authority, they give up a lot of power for negotiating; plus protection for their citizens.

2) What do you feel is an appropriate level of police enforcement? Do you think the current level is too strict, too lenient or appropriate?

I feel like our police enforcement is appropriate. We need police officers to enforce the law, so that if the law is broken we can protect other people, not just citizens. The Columbus Police Department is very helpful to travelers, to businesses, and to the citizens. Our police officers offer a level of service that goes above and beyond basic law enforcement. I’m thankful that we have such a caring and knowledgeable police department to keep our city streets and homes safe.

3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Columbus? Specifically, do you think the town should approve voluntary annexations or not?

If the voluntary annexation will benefit Columbus, then I am 100 percent for the annexation, but you cannot group all voluntary annexations together because each annexation is different. Each voluntary annexation is closely reviewed by the Columbus Town Council.

4) What is your vision for Columbus and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?

I have eight years of experience (good and bad) of making hard decisions for the Town of Columbus. Regardless of what decision you make, someone will always feel let down.

I look forward to suggestions from the citizens of Columbus, their thoughts on pressing issues, and I care deeply for Columbus and the people. I am familiar with the problems of Columbus and I want to help with the solutions. Columbus is my hometown.

 

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