ELECTION 2020: Thompson seeks another term
Published 10:35 am Saturday, September 12, 2020
Norwood’s mayor has stated his vision for the town.
Harold Thompson, who is running in November against former mayor Linda Campbell, is a Norwood native.
Thompson, who works at Stanly Fixtures, said living in Norwood all his life “helps any individual have somewhat of an understanding of the community and the people in it.”
The mayor spent about 14 years as a council member before being elected mayor in 2018.
His previous experience, he said, made him want to run for mayor.
“There were a lot of things going on financially that I thought long-term were not in the best interest of the community,” he said.
Crediting Town Manager Scott Howard and the town’s staff, Thompson said many of those changes have happened since 2018, including a slow down on spending.
“(From) the previous three or four years, we had to slow down on spending because so much had been taken out of the fund balance that we had to become more conservative-minded,” Thompson said. “‘I think we are heading back in the proper direction.”
Issues important to Thompson include a possible renovation of the town’s wastewater plant.
Norwood’s recent water rate increases have been a big topic of discussion for the council in many public comment sessions. In terms of the new water meters, Thompson said he thought the information was not accurate and not enough testing had been done.
“We are finding out those meters are not producing enough revenue that folks were led to believe that was where the town was losing money,” Thompson said, adding he tried to get the town out of that contract.
The mayor said the town’s increased revenue has come from the rate increases and not the meters.
In choosing to run for reelection, Thompson said he does not have all the right answers but will look at everything that comes before the council with an open mind. Before making decisions, he said he tries to gather information on a topic “before I think the council should vote on it.”
Thompson said the biggest task for himself and the council is to bring down the town’s operating costs. He said there will have to be further water rate increases, but the town should also look at reducing costs through all departments.
He said he does not want to have to raise taxes because “people can only pay so much,” but he said the town has improved the water system, noting public works director Mike Thompson fixed four leaks which saved between 3 million and 4.5 million gallons of water per month.
He is also concerned about the job market in the time of COVID-19 and beyond for businesses in town to remain open.
In conversations with Rep. Wayne Sasser, Thompson said he has discussed broadband internet access needs, both for schools and businesses, including potential new industries.
Thompson said he wants the town to be financially responsible with taxpayers as well as transparent with the inner workings of Norwood.
He said small town boards like Norwood should design policy for towns, but some boards “get too involved in the day-to-day nuts and bolts” operation.
“We need to do a better job of getting back to what our true job is and letting the people employed do the day-to-day thing.”
Voters gave him that vote of confidence in electing him two years ago.
“I would hope that they still have enough confidence in me that they will do that again.”