Tryon mayoral candidates Alan Peoples, incumbent, and Jim Wright, challenger, speak to residents of White Oak of Tryon during a meet and greet event held Tuesday, Oct. 29. (photo submitted by David Widdicombe)
Tryon mayoral candidates Alan Peoples, incumbent, and Jim Wright, challenger, speak to residents of White Oak of Tryon during a meet and greet event held Tuesday, Oct. 29. (photo submitted by David Widdicombe)

Tryon candidates talk growth and what they offer residents

Published 11:20pm Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Editor’s note: In the Wednesday, Oct. 30 edition of the Tryon Daily Bulletin, Tryon mayoral and commissioner candidates answered the first two of the Bulletin’s four questions. Today we present you the answers to questions three and four.

Mayoral candidates
Alan Peoples:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
My idea of growth in Tryon would be to see more apartments in downtown buildings, more stores on side and back streets, and an influx of new creative ideas from citizens to build upon.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
My vision is to return Tryon to the days when all store fronts were occupied and people shopped at home before going to a big box store. We also had a large number of visitors who came often, enjoyed themselves and told their friends about our sweet town.
What I have that others do not is my institutional knowledge. I have twelve years of serving Tryon while leading her through the most financially devastating times since the Great Depression and paying back a $1.4 million dollar overspending bill that I inherited in 2001.

Jim Wright:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
Growth should be environmentally sound, building on the strengths we have as an older, architecturally beautiful community.  We can increase the property tax base by encouraging “infill” real estate development, improving existing residential and commercial properties, and recruiting new businesses. The town is a small geographical area, which inhibits large business growth. New businesses should be encouraged through town ordinances and tax benefits, especially if they will employ local residents.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
My leadership background in business required management skills that will help town government. Consensus building, inclusiveness and civility are among the changes that I would bring to the town decision-making processes. My vision for Tryon is to create a government that is respected for what it has accomplished and, as importantly, for the way it is accomplished. I envision Tryon as a vibrant community, with its residents and visitors safely and comfortably enjoying the amenities.

Commissioner candidates
Doug Arbogast:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
Until this year the Town of Tryon has not raised property taxes for almost 12 years.
Given the recent reduction in state funding this year as well as the reduction in funding proposed that will impact next year’s budget we may need to raise them again or services will need to be reduced or possibly lose two town employees to make up the shortfall. We do have a fund balance but it is not nearly large enough for a comparable town of our size.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
I do not think there is a bad candidate running. It is a common sense job and in the last four years there have not been that many controversies other than forced annexation… In fact I believe there have only been three votes that the mayor needed to break a tie on during the last four years.
This is an off year election and we will be lucky to inspire anyone to get out and vote. If you like the way I have performed then vote for me and if you do not, vote for one of these other fine people.

Bill Crowell:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
Tryon has plenty of room for growth (and revenue) by encouraging the use of our existing commercial building stock along Hwy. 176. We need to work with the Polk County Economic Development Committee to promote the opportunities and potential that we have right here.
We have the Pangea Internet Network that can entice business growth to many industries that can bring revenue to our community without overwhelming our infrastructure.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
My vision is to see our town alive again, to continue to be a healthy, happy and safe place to live, with active businesses and citizens that support each other and the town.
I am a business owner and a land owner in Tryon. I understand the value of commercial real estate and that the town needs to get a fair price for its land holdings when it decides to sell.
I know that we have to be proactive as a government, attract and keep new business, improve our infrastructure. For more than 30 years I have been involved in many of Tryon’s organizations by creating events and ensuring their success.  I have donated time and talent to each because this is my home. The best home on the planet.

Bill Ingham:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
Appropriate growth has to begin by having as many of our empty spaces downtown and along the corridors coming into town occupied.
A vital downtown automatically generates enthusiasm, which, in turn, makes our town more attractive to potential business owners, new residents, and visitors to town, all of whom bring more tax dollars to Tryon.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
My vision of Tryon is one of a vibrant business district, a positive and cooperative government, and a town where our residents and visitors, young and old, can come dine, shop, relax, and enjoy themselves.
Having a business for more than 15 years that is open every day of the year, I am accessible and have the pulse of the town. Also, having school age children, serving on several boards and working at the water treatment plant for three years makes my candidacy unique.
I love Tryon and have its best interests at heart. Thank you for your vote on Nov. 5.

Happy McLeod:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
Due to a lapse in government funding, the census website is down and demographic data is unavailable. However, my opinion is that more population growth will take place in the township and county rather than in town.
Increased businesses, sales and visitors will increase town revenues. Empty storefronts must be filled. I propose an Internet marketing and promotion plan be developed using one state-of-the-art website, “Telling Tryon’s Story,” of toy makers, artists, potters, writers, the theater, vineyards and equestrians, will attract visitors and potential business owners. The town can scrutinize its budget and spending to identify any duplication of services that can be cut.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
Vitalizing downtown is my vision with streetscape and a historic district to preserve Tryon’s character. NC’s Small Town Main Street Program equals revitalization. Casting the vision is the mission of revitalization.
My education and career have developed a package of work and personal skills that will enable me to put words into action on council. I have proven my ability to work collectively for a common goal by chairing an ad hoc committee that brought Town Council, TDDA and Tryon Travel and Tourism together to establish a proposed town museum and visitor center on N. Trade.

Billy Moss:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
The appropriate growth is hard to define. Because we have very little room to grow, we need to attract high yield business such as clothing retail shops, more family style restaurants or a sports entertainment facility, a family oriented hotel on the limited building sites that are available, along with the many empty shops on Main and Pacolet streets.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
My vision for Tryon is to be proactive not reactive about our infrastructure problems including water, sewer and street problems. Be more business friendly by offering incentives for new businesses coming into town.
Promote Tryon as a happening town and not just a retirement village. I can offer 29 years of experience working for the town in the street department, water department and wastewater department, having knowledge of some trouble spots and how to correct them. I have also assisted town residents to locate and repair their problems.

Wim Woody:
3) What do you believe is appropriate growth for Tryon? How do you propose to increase the city’s tax base without raising taxes?
I believe that appropriate growth will occur as our economy improves. We have appropriate citizen involvement in our planning and zoning areas that will protect us from inappropriate growth.
A few years ago we heard about “grow or die.” I fought to avoid growth that would have come from restricting our neighbor’s liberty, i.e. annexation. I believe Tryon will continue to attract people who will join our community and work for its continuing future.
I don’t believe we need to raise taxes.
We have been able to live within the existing tax structure for the past several years with effective management, controlling our expenses and using our revenues wisely by prioritizing our needs. I see no reason this trend cannot continue.

4) What is your vision for Tryon and what do you think you offer that other candidates may not?
My vision for Tryon is simple: Let Tryon be Tryon. We have been around since 1885 and we’re doing remarkably well.
By emphasizing our positive attributes, working to improve citizen involvement in our public processes, maintaining a stable tax rate by controlling our expenses, and helping current business owners plus new ones improve their businesses by removing any barriers to growth that can be controlled on the local level, we can help to ensure a prosperous future for Tryon.
While serving as a current town commissioner, I have tried to promote citizen involvement, build consensus among the members of the council, and be responsive to our citizens’ concerns while maintaining a stable tax rate.
If re-elected I will strive to continue this path.

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