The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Local News

April 24, 2014

County Commission candidates express views on issues


Thursday, April 24, 2014 — Bill Lawhon (Republican)

Personal:  62 years old, married to Gail for 42 years, two sons,.

Occupation: Worked in banking industry for the past 34 years,  holds the position as Stanly County market president with Uwharrie Bank;

Background:  N.C. National Guard, N.C. School of Banking, University of North Carolina (1987), graduate school of banking at Louisiana State University (1998);

Civic activities: Chairman of the board of directors for the Stanly County Chamber of Commerce for the year of 2013, chairman of the board of directors for For Stanly, Inc., chairman of the Deacon Board of Pleasant Grove Baptist Church, board member for Centralina Development Corporation, Stanly County Economic Development Commission, and the Stanly County YMCA.

1. I am running for county commissioner District 2 because I care about the citizens of our county. My working career as a banker has been to help grow our economy. As a banker, my knowledge and experience should fit well as a county commissioner. It has been my job as a banker to provide capital in the form of loans to business owners and individual citizens. This form of capital has allowed businesses to fund inventory, equipment and provide operating capital. With capital, businesses can employ citizens to help run their business. It has provided local citizens the funds to make purchases for homes, cars, boats and other major items. When purchases are made, this helps generate revenue for our county. In turn, it makes our economy better and as a taxpayer it spreads the tax burden. My budget and financial experience will also be a benefit if elected. It will allow me as one of your commissioners to make sure tax dollars are being spent wisely. I am asking you to favor me with your vote. I am sure we can together make positive changes in Stanly County.

2. Our local weak economy and lack of new jobs being created. Stanly County is blessed with a good workforce, good location in the center of the Piedmont and good natural resources. If we use these assets properly, we can create jobs. We are blessed to have Pfeiffer University and Stanly Community College in our county which can prepare our workforce for current job opportunities and jobs of the future. We still have many good companies in our county but we need more to come. We also need to take care of our agri-business community to ensure this business sector remains a viable employer and revenue stream for our county. Remember everyone needs to eat, buy clothing, work and have a place called home. I believe Stanly County has a great future if we make the right decisions.

3. We have an excellent agri-business community and still have some very strong companies and small businesses in our county. We need to build stronger relationships with those businesses that are already here which are providing jobs. Working together with those businesses we can focus on companies that we want in our community and then start building relationships with those companies in an effort to move some of them to Stanly County. In the banking world, if you want to do business with someone you first ask for their business and start building a relationship built on trust. We cannot totally depend on referrals from allies. We must all stand together, work together and focus on the business we want for Stanly County. We need to continue improving our infrastructure which will also help in recruiting more companies to our county. Our school system needs the best technology we can put in our children’s hands, so they will be prepared for the world as it continues to change. We can make a positive impact for our county, if we all work together.

4. No one likes taxes, especially real estate taxes. This proposal of a sales tax increase was put on the ballot by our current Board of Commissioners for the citizens to decide on this increase of ¼ of 1 cent sales tax. My research on this matter shows, if it passes, it will first provide funds to pay for the new 911 Communication System used for the safety of our citizens. Our current sales tax  in Stanly County would increase from 6.75 percent to 7 percent and would be paid by anyone who makes purchases in Stanly County whether they are a citizen of our county or not. This tax is already being charged in surrounding counties, so if you make a purchase in one of those counties you are putting money in that counties revenue tax bucket.  I am like you, a voter who will have to make my decision whether to vote for or against this tax referendum in November in the privacy of the voting booth.

5. No one likes tax increases, especially property tax. Our county and Board of Commissioners have maintained for the past seven years a stable tax rate without increase. No one needs to remind you that our country, state and county have gone through the worst recession since the Great Depression. During this our county has increased our General Fund balance to more than 26 percent of our annual expenditures. At year end, our county moved another $830,034 into the General Fund balance which is good for our taxpayers. As a county, we are well reserved in our General Funds far greater than what is required. Now it is our job as citizens to get our county economy growing at a faster pace than inflation. We can do that by adding jobs and making a commitment to buy local.

As a commissioner, I will be reviewing expenses and services offered to make sure they are relevant and needed. I prefer we work together to make sure we get our economy working for us so we don’t have to raise taxes or cut needed services. If our economy is growing, we should have additional tax dollars to continue and improve services offered.

6. As a taxpayer, I am concerned about how all of our tax dollars are spent. If elected as one of your commissioners, I promise I will work hard to make sure our tax dollars are being spent wisely and the services offered benefit the majority of our taxpayers. As a citizen, I want to see our community grow and thrive and return to a growing community that we can all be proud of. As I have stated, I love living, working and playing in Stanly County and want it to be recognized as a leading county in our state.

7. Our new format will be to elect commissioners from districts in which they live. We will also elect one at-large representative in the upcoming 2014 election. In the past, commissioners were all elected at large which means they all could have been elected from one city or town in our county. The new district representation will ensure all parts of our county have a representative. Lots of voters are thinking that they can only vote for the candidate that is running in their district. That is not true. All districts will be voted on by the voters throughout our county. I do think district representation will be good for the county.

If elected, I will be the commissioner from District 2 which consist of parts of Stanly County that runs down 24/27 East to Lake Tillery, all of  Norwood, Cottonville, Aquadale, and then runs up between Highway 138 and Efird Road. Even though I represent this large area, I will also be one of your county commissioners committed to all of Stanly County. Again, I ask for your vote on May 6th primary.

8. The song that I want our lifestyle to reflect is the song “Let’s Work Together” by Canned Heat.



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