Melton, Marquez Vie for Board
The District 5 seat on the Moore County Board of Commissioners is the only local government contested race on the Nov. 7 ballot.
Vying for the seat are Republican Jimmy Melton and Democrat Teresa Marquez. It is the seat presently held by Republican Commissioner Michael R. Holden, who did not seek re-election this year.
Marquez, Democrat, believes in bringing people together in the collaborative spirit to get things done.
It's a quality she will need, if elected, because she would be the only Democrat serving with four Republicans on the board.
Melton, Republican, is a former chairman of the Planning Board. He says growth is the subject on everyone's mind, and he would use his planning experience in developing answers to these issues.
"We need to target growth by finding out where people are and work from there," he says. "We don't need to go out and tear up the countryside where the infrastructure is not in place."
Melton, 64, calls Moore County unique in its make-up of rural communities and small towns, and he believes the residents want to keep this atmosphere.
An Aberdeen resident, Marquez says the county commissioners and the Board of Education should work closely to develop a workable plan to meet the schools' building needs in the next 10 years. She says she is willing to look at a variety of financing methods: a bond issue, a certificate of participation, a land-transfer or impact fee.
Marquez says she is also interested in examining a new idea, that of contracting with private enterprise to build school facilities on a private lease/purchase plan.
"We're on the right track by phasing it in," she says of the school board's proposal to develop a 10-year plan for construction, which lists almost $144 million in building needs.
Opposes Special Taxes
As for school growth, Melton says the commissioners must work closely with the Board of Education and follow those recommendations. He favors the master plan concept of planning for school building needs. He further sees the use of 80 to 90 mobile classrooms as costly and ineffective.
Melton says he does not support land-transfer fees or similar special taxes. He says these fees would have an impact on many low or moderate income families who are among the people least able to pay more to buy homes. Besides, he doesn't think such a tax would generate as much revenue as expected and fears that it would have a negative impact on newcomers and also on the construction business.
"Everybody lives in this county," he says. "Everybody ought to pay taxes."
Marquez says the commissioners should work with the legislature to rid counties of the heavy Medicaid burden, freeing local money to meet school needs.
As for county water needs, Marquez says Pinehurst should control its water system, but she prefers development of a regional water system connecting existing municipal and county systems. She says this can be done if everyone works together in a cooperative spirit.
Marquez says "economic development is near and dear to my heart." She says she has enjoyed working with Partners in Progress and its director, Ray Ogden, and is also a strong supporter of the Chamber of Commerce.
"But I don't want to forget our small businesses," she says. "That's our backbone."
Marquez wants to set up a revolving fund from which local businesses, both new and old, could borrow small amounts for expansion purposes.
"I would like economic development to be a bigger priority for the county, including more support from the county budget," she says. "I love public/private partnerships."
Marquez grew up in Greensboro, but she and her husband, Mark, moved to Moore County from Kinston in 1996. However, her father grew up in Cameron and picked dewberries there in the days when the town was known as the Dewberry Capital of the World.
Her husband holds a doctorate and is employed with Sandhills Mental Health Center. They are parents of twin sons, Drew and Justin, who attend Sandhills Community College and plan careers in education. She is a Presbyterian.
Marquez, a 52-year old librarian is on the faculty at Southern Pines Elementary School. She is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and holds a Master's degree in library science from East Carolina University. She is a former member of the Aberdeen Town Board.
Marquez calls her library experience an asset because librarians are resource people.
"A librarian doesn't know all the answers, but a librarian knows where to find the answers," she says
Calling herself a conservative at heart, Marquez says she has been "a working person since I was 16" and knows the concerns of working people. "I do believe that Democrats are interested in taking care of people," she adds.
"I am an independent thinker who loves working with people and collaboration," she says.
If elected, Melton says he expects to work well with all commissioners and sees no place for personality conflicts with new or old members of the Board of Commissioners.
"The business of the county should be handled in a businesslike manner," he says. "I will do everything I can to keep all qualified employees. We need to keep politics out of the job and let them do their jobs.
"When you get good employees, you keep them," he adds.
The 64-year-old Melton grew up in Jackson Springs and graduated from West End High School and has operated businesses here about 40 years. He is owner of Sandhills Cycles/Harley David-son/Yamaha.
A deacon at Aberdeen First Baptist Church, he is a trustee of Campbell University. He and his wife, the former Dorothy Furr, have a daughter, Cynthia Floyd, and a son, Darrold Melton, and two grandchildren. Melton is an active member of the Moore County Gideons.
"I owe everything to this county, and now I want to give back," Melton says.
Florence Gilkeson can be reached at 947-4962 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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