Archived Story

Tryon mayor and commissioner candidate answers

Published 7:53pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Editor’s note: The following includes answers to questions one and two posed by the Bulletin to candidates for mayoral and candidate seats in Tryon. Answers to questions three and four will run in the Thursday, Oct. 31 edition.

Mayor candidates

Alan Peoples:
1) Do you believe Tryon should sell its water system or join a local water authority? If not, how do you propose the town improve its water system without increasing rates?
A WASA has been a concern for me since shortly after I became mayor in 2001. The benefits should be obvious. If we increase customer base, we hold increases to the cost of water and sewer to a minimum.
I believe that we should consider the following possibilities for Tryon’s water and sewer systems. They are in descending priority.
1. We keep and run our systems-possibly not feasible; 2. We have a WASA with the municipalities and the county; 3. We have a WASA with the three municipalities; 4. We have a WASA with Tryon, Saluda and the county; 5. We have a WASA with Saluda; 6. We have a WASA with the county; 7. We sell to a Rutherford County system; 8. We sell to Spartanburg County, S.C.; 9. We never sell to a private for profit group

2) How do you propose the town attract more residents, visitors and businesses to downtown?
In order to attract more residents downtown, we must have more housing. A number of proposals have been made that were viable; however, the economy from 2007-2012 caused all of them to stop, step back, or go bankrupt.
We now have an environment that has begun to unfreeze some monies and again investors are looking at spending in Tryon.
The building of the new dentist’s office, the renovation of the Depot, the rehab of the St. Luke’s Auxiliary building and Sunnydale, the Open Road Coffee Shop, Lavender Bistro, Ruby Slipper and the purchase of the old gas station are examples of a thawing economy.
All of the above are off to a running start. Now we need to advertise locally and regionally, and, eventually, move to nationally. This is the successful path followed by many small communities that are exceptional. We are exceptional.

Jim Wright:
1) Do you believe Tryon should sell its water system or join a local water authority? If not, how do you propose the town improve its water system without increasing rates?
Water is a precious natural resource and improving the water system is critically important to our future.  Stakeholders, including town residents, other water customers and property owners next to our water sources, should be involved in planning for this future.
The announcement this week to pursue a water authority does not involve stakeholders.  I would convene a task force of stakeholders, led by the town manager, to develop a fact-based approach.  I also believe consolidation of services is good for purposes of efficiency and would work with a broader group to that end.
A private company would expect to operate our system for profit. Two ways a profit can be made are: Either sell over-capacity outside our area or raise rates. I am not convinced that selling the system is in our best interests. Before we do that, we should determine whether we can sell excess water to pay off debt and make improvements.

2) How do you propose the town attract more residents, visitors and businesses to downtown?
Making the town more attractive is one way to attract others.  We should clean up invasive vegetation at town entrances and work with property owners on civic beautification. Neighborhood improvements are needed including building sidewalks, enhancing parks and dealing with abandoned houses that are dangers to other residents.
The comprehensive downtown streetscape plan, if funded, will continue to improve the downtown. Festivals, trots/treks and parades all help attract people to town. We should develop one event into a Tryon signature festival.
Consolidating agencies and groups working on economic development and tourism will increase focus and reduce cost.

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