New manager says Rhodhiss going strong

Jun. 19, 2014 @ 06:17 AM

Arthur “Art” Delaney drives an hour and 15 minutes to work as the new town manager of Rhodhiss because he believes the town has a bright future, despite significant budgetary challenges. He said he would not have taken the job if there was no hope.

Delaney, who lives in Kannapolis but plans to move to Rhodhiss, officially starts on July 1 but has been working with current Town Manager Barbara Harmon and town clerk Diana Eckard since the beginning of June. Both Harmon and Eckard are retiring in July. Delaney himself recently retired as a firefighter in Landis.

“At 54, I didn’t really want to retire yet,” Delaney said. “I was ready to retire from the fire service after 37 years, but I wasn’t ready to retire. This seemed like a challenge.”

As the fire chief in Landis, Delaney had become more involved in town politics, and when he heard about the job in Rhodhiss, he submitted his resume with hopes of a career change. After landing the job, Delaney dived right into the inner workings of Rhodhiss, and he said that the town is on the upswing, even after acknowledging Rhodhiss's water and sewer troubles.

The town has been struggling with high costs associated with poor water and sewer infrastructure. For the 2014-15 fiscal year, water and sewer rates will go up 30 percent, and in hopes of preventing more rate increases the town is seeking a state grant to begin addressing more than $3 million in repairs and upgrades to the water and sewer systems. The increase in water and sewer rates drew a lot of heat from residents, including some wanting to take the extreme measure of disbanding the town.

“In every situation, you’ll have naysayers,” Delaney said. “You have to be positive. If you have a problem, tell me about it. It (the town) is financially solid. We’ll fix the water problems. We’ll fix the sewer problems.”

Delaney spoke with a big smile on his face about many opportunities he wants to see come to the town.

“There’s so much to do here, and the town is finally at a point to do it,” Delaney said. “And it’s a shame Barbara is stepping down because she’s brought the town to this point."

Harmon said that Delaney arrived with gusto and enthusiasm. She believes he has the will and positive attitude to move the town forward.

“Art’s going to do a fantastic job,” Harmon said.