Voters to Have Final Say
After four months of campaigning, the municipal election season will come to an end Tuesday night.
The polls will open at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday and close at 7:30 p.m. One-stop absentee voting ended Saturday, and any mailed absentee ballots must be received by the Board of Elections by 5 p.m. Monday.
This year's election features competitive races across the county, some of which can be viewed as as a referendum on key issues in those towns.
Water -- specifically the purchase of Wagram water and wastewater treatment plants -- has dominated much of the discussion in Pinehurst, while growth and planning has been a central theme in the Southern Pines election. Discussion of whether or not a new jail should be placed in downtown Carthage has been a hot topic in that town's mayoral race.
Among the other municipalities, Whispering Pines has had difficulties filling its slate and will feature two write-in candidates. Robbins faces a similar problem, needing a write-in to fill out its slate.
The exact opposite has happened in Taylortown, with 13 candidates running for five seats. There is no opposition to the candidates running in Aberdeen.
Village Water Deal
Two seats are up for grabs on the Pinehurst Village Council. Current Mayor Pro Tem Lorraine Tweed opted out of running for a third term. Councilman Jeff Dawson, who was appointed in 2007, is running to keep his seat.
While the village will have six names on the ballot for this election, only four of them are actively campaigning. Xan Smith dropped out of the race in mid-October, citing professional and family obligations. Mike McCrann filed for the election mainly to raise residents' awareness of proposals to put a park on the Village Green property, and has said publicly on multiple occasions that he does not covet the office.
That leaves Dawson, Doug Lapins (the member Dawson replaced), Nancy Roy Fiorillo and Patrick Barry. Smith has endorsed Lapins and Barry. McCrann has endorsed Lapins as well.
Water has been the 800-pound gorilla in the village this election season. The pending $5.5 million purchase of the Wagram facilities was announced in July, and the council candidates have been asked to stake out their positions on the issue.
Dawson, one of the driving forces behind the deal, strongly supports the purchase and considers it a regional solution to water concerns and "the last best chance" for the village to have an ownership stake in its utilities.
Fiorillo, a former Moore County planning director, is in favor of the idea, also, and she hopes to build a basinwide alliance to utilize the facilities. She considers basinwide alliances to be the future of dealing with water and sewer issues.
Lapins, a former councilman and businessman, opposes the purchase and argues that the council went about the deal "backwards." He thinks it should have put a consortium together before making a bid for the facilities. He also believes there are too many questions about the plants that haven't been answered.
Barry, the current president of the Pinehurst Business Guild and a banker, has chosen to remain undecided on the issue and feels there isn't enough information about the purchase yet to lean one way or the other.
Revitalizing the village core area of downtown, enhancing the Village Green, making the village more business-friendly and addressing concerns about the Pinehurst Police Department have all been listed as major issues in the campaign.
Growth Top S.P. Issue
The Southern Pines election features two separate races this year. The first has three candidates -- incumbents Chris Smithson and David Woodruff and challenger David McNeill -- facing off for two seats with four-year terms.
The other race is a showdown between appointed incumbent Mike Fields and challenger Marsh Smith to serve the remaining two years of former Councilwoman Abigail Dowd, who resigned in February.
Growth, development and community planning have defined much of the discussion during the campaign and have highlighted some of the differences between the candidates.
Smithson has served two terms on the council and ran unsuccessfully for mayor in 2007. The youngest candidate in the field, he has made the town's Comprehen-sive Long-Range Plan the focus of his campaign and wants to see it through to fruition.
Like Smithson, Woodruff is a two-term veteran of the council and considers growth the biggest issue. He also feels strongly about seeing several items that began during his tenure through to completion, such as the comprehensive plan, the police station and the reservoir.
While McNeill is a newcomer to municipal elections, he has a long career in local government as a former county manager in both Moore and Guilford counties. He has said he threw his name into the hat mainly to give a voters a choice in this election and that his experience gives him an edge and brings a new perspective to the council.
When Dowd resigned in February, the council unanimously selected Fields to serve until the election, citing his experience as a former mayor and council member. Fields, a businessman, offers a sharp philosophical contrast to Dowd, favoring planned, quality growth that will bring good jobs to the area.
Smith, an attorney and a Dowd supporter, said he is running to "pick up the flag" that Dowd dropped when she stepped down. He has been active in growth and development issues in the past and favors a new approach to economic development that encourages homegrown businesses and keeps money in Southern Pines.
Other issues that have come up include water and dealing with neighboring municipalities and the county.
Jail Big Issue in Carthage
The location of a new jail facility in Carthage has played a major role the mayoral race there.
Bert Patrick is the leader of the opposition to the jail and is running against incumbent Town Commissioner M.T. "Tom" Stew-art for mayor.
The candidates running for three seats with four-year terms on the Town Board are Arthur R. "Artie" Barber Jr., Milton T. Dowdy, Ronnie Gray, Lee T. McGraw, Robert Sullivan and Carl E. Williams.
Three candidates are running for an unexpired two-year term: Victoria Botson, Lisa B. Caddell and Michael C. Campbell.
Finding Enough Candidates
Whispering Pines has struggled to find enough candidates to run for the three available seats on Village Council this year.
At one point, five candidates had filed for the seats, but three of them dropped out, leaving only incumbent Mayor Bob Zschoche and Gregory Biggs.
In order to field enough candidates, incumbent Councilman Randy Saunders, who originally opted out of running for another term, changed his mind and is now an active write-in candidate. Another resident, Paul E. Sams, is running as a write-in candidate as well. A last-minute addition to the field of write-in candidatess is Gerald Osborne. Osborne was one of the original five candidates to file, but dropped out.
Like Whispering Pines, Robbins is short on candidates this election. Only two -- Joey Boswell and Terri L. Holt -- have filed for the three seats open on the Town Board.
On the other end of the scale, Taylortown has the most crowded field this year, with a whopping 13 candidates running for the five seats on the Town Council. The seats have two-year terms. The candidates are Jiles Barrett, Mayor Ulysses S. G. Barrett Jr., Tia M. Brown, Jesse F. Fuller Sr., Lonnie Jones III, David E. Levine, James A. Lindsey, Mitchell A. Ratliff, F. Ellis Ray Jr., Lori E. Staples, Marvin B. Taylor, James Lattimore and Charlotte Alston Worthy.
In Pinebluff, longtime mayor Earlene McLamb faces a challenge from Charles V. Davis. There are six candidates running for five seats on the Town Board. They are: Sharon A. Fox, William S. Garner, Dennis M. Johnson, Bud McAllister, Jerry O. Williams and Susan Zoppi.
Aberdeen has one of the simplest elections in the county. All candidates are unopposed.
Longtime mayor Betsy Mofield is seeking her sixth term. Two candidates are running for the two seats on the Town Board: incumbent Walter Wright Jr. and newcomer Alan Parker.
In Vass, Mayor Eddie Callahan is running unopposed. Four candidates are running for the Town Board: Margaret Clark Cirone, Rora M. Kellis, Sue Bullock McKenzie and Jimmy Pratt.
Cameron Mayor Michael W. Thomason is running unopposed. Donald D. Campbell and Royce G. Edmonds are running unopposed for two four-year terms on the Town Board.
Merry Isabel Thomas and G.R. "Mack" Womble are running against each other to serve out the remaining two years of an unexpired term.
In Foxfire Village, three incumbent candidates -- Victor J. Koos, Leslie G. Frusco and Page P. Coker -- are running unopposed for re-election to the Village Council.
Contact John Krahnert III at (910) 693-2473 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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