Cajah's Mountain candidates on the issues

Oct. 24, 2013 @ 03:43 PM

The News-Topic sent questions on a variety of local issues to candidates for local office in each of Caldwell County's municipalities. Below are answers from mayoral and board of commissioners candidates in Cajah's Mountain.

 

What makes you a qualified candidate? What can you offer that no other candidate can?

Ronnie Setzer, 58, owner of Southern Motorsport Hobbies, incumbent mayor (unopposed): I can bring to the town council 10 years of experience in public service. I spent two years on the town’s planning board prior to being elected to the town council in 2005. I have volunteered for numerous town committees as well as participating in other collaborative projects. I have a desire to make improvements and changes where necessary. My experience has given me a direct knowledge of how town operations work. I will continue to do my very best to represent the citizens of Cajah’s Mountain, and make quality decisions that are best for the whole and long-term benefit of the town.

Cheryl Pritchard, 45, Lower Creek Elementary School teacher, incumbent: I feel like I am a qualified candidate because I have lived in Cajah’s Mountain since childhood. I have deep ties to the community and want the best for the town and its residents. As the only woman currently seeking a seat on the council, I also feel like I can be a voice for the women of Cajah’s Mountain. I feel that it is important to have a woman on the town council. (Lois Andes has decided to not seek re-election, and her wisdom and experience will be greatly missed.)

Lloyd C. Robbins Jr., 55, Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office transport officer, not an incumbent, did not send an answer to this question.

What is the number-one issue facing the town – the issue that would be your number-one focus while in office?

Setzer: I believe the number-one issue facing the town is the state of the economy. This is what worries me the most. Given the town’s limited resources and these uncertain economic times, the most important course of action, which I have wholeheartedly advocated during my years of the council, is for the town to promote conservatism and to curb capital expenditures. For the past 30 years, the town has operated without a property tax. The past and current councils have been excellent stewards of the town’s finances, and in doing so, have been able to provide the citizens with services, such as solid waste and recycling collection and sanitary sewer service, without levying a property tax. It is my goal to continue to maintain our current level of services without implementing a property tax.

Pritchard: I think the number-one issue facing the town at the moment is the budget situation. We need to find more ways to support our residents with less revenue. I plan to do all I can do find solutions to the budget crunch that we are all facing.

Lloyd C. Robbins Jr., 55, Caldwell County Sheriff's Office transport officer, not an incumbent, did not send an answer to this question.

What do you see as the town’s greatest underutilized asset and how would you make use of it?

Setzer: I believe the town’s citizens are its greatest underutilized asset.  So many people have turned away from government because they have a sense that their input does not matter. I desperately want to change this perception of government. I want to shift to an approach that puts our citizens and their concerns at the center of our attention. I want to take action on the problems that are most important to them. I also want to get more of our citizens involved in our community. The town has numerous appointed and volunteer boards and committees. I want to actively recruit our citizens to get involved and make a difference in their community. 

Pritchard: I think our residents are our biggest asset. I would love to see more of our residents become involved in our community. I would love to see more attend our monthly meetings. We have good hard working people in Cajah Mt. and I am honored to represent them.

Lloyd C. Robbins Jr., 55, Caldwell County Sheriff's Office transport officer, not an incumbent, did not send an answer to this question.

How should the town cope with potential revenue reductions, whether from the state legislature, from sales tax revenue, or from other sources?

Setzer: We need to continue to cut costs but we also have to seek ways to enhance our revenue stream so that we can continue to maintain our current level of services to our residents. The town council continually looks at ways to cut costs. Just last month, the council took action to cancel its contract for planning services and bring these services back in-house. This will save the town $18,000 a year.  If re-elected, one of the first items on my agenda will be a roundtable discussion with the council to determine other areas of where we can cut costs. As I stated earlier, the council, along with the support of the staff, has been excellent stewards of the town’s finances and we will continue to operate the town in the most efficient manner possible.

Pritchard: Our town, as well as other towns in our state are going to have to be creative in coming up with solutions to our budget shortfalls. We need to be very careful about what we spend and to make sure that each expense is justified. We need to be looking for ways to increase revenues. We want to be able to continue providing the level of service that our residents are used to without burdening them with a tax.

Lloyd C. Robbins Jr., 55, Caldwell County Sheriff's Office transport officer, not an incumbent, did not send an answer to this question.