City Speaks – Even if it was less than 30% of Eligible Voters

November 7, 2007 at 12:23 pm 12 comments

There were some bright spots in the Municipal elections yesterday. 

Two new people were elected to council — Martha Stowe and Ron Foulk. One incumbent, Charlie Flowers returned to office.

Belmont Council

* Martha S. Stowe 852 20 %
* Ron Foulk 710 17 %
* Charles Flowers 556 13 %
Richard Turner 517 12 %
Curtis Gaston 509 12 %
Irl Dixon 501 12 %
Becky Burch 361 8 %
Dennis Boyce 230 5 %
Karen Valentine 56 1 %
Write-in 8 0 %

Congratulations to the new and returning council members. However, the dynamic does not change al that much.

Becky Burch was replaced by an ally in Ron Foulk. His positions on growth management  are still fuzzy and we wonder if his job responsibilities may interfer with his ability to be an effective member of council. He is a vert smart and articulate administrator and that pleases all of us, because he will take the time to read and research issues that come before council – not blindly vote as directed by others. As a community, we encourage you to watch Mr. Foulk carefully on issues such as city personnel and public safety, strategic planning, view points on annexation-related services and timelines. A person can do a lot of damage in 4 years.

Charlie Flowers’ support has diminished in this election, earning only 556 votes this time around. The overall turnout and number of candidates certainly contributed to the number. We hope that he would have promised to stay awake through the council meetings and work sessions in return for his re-election bid, but he didn’t offer that to the voters. It is difficult to see if he will still carry his chip on the shoulder towards newcomers to the community or if he will embrace the positives that come with planned growth and management.

The new triumvirate will line up with Flowers, Foulk, and Martin setting the tone and quite possibly fighting the manager’s and mayor’s overall strategic comprehensive growth agenda. Basically, this election result guarantees that we will see at least two more years of personal agendas over what is best for the community.

Martha Stowe brings a good mind and energy to the council. We hope that she will remain even-handed in this public role. She is certainly articulate and will speak her mind.

All are supporters of parks and recreation plans. That is a good thing. With the approval of the Bond, the Parks and Recreation Department can seriously begin work on their master plan of 2003.

Belmont Park and Rec. Bond – $12,000,000
* Yes 1,046 69 %
No 477 31 %

We certainly expect that Mr. Dixon and his 100-year family legacy will be back for either another run for council or to challenge as Mayor. That will bear watching the next two years.

Again, we will support — and watch carefully — as the new council members are seated and begin their term. 

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Entry filed under: Belmont, Belmont Muncipal Elections, Bond Referendums, Charlie Martin, City Council, Community, Elections, Front Porch, Irl Dixon, Newcomers, Parks and Recreation, People, Politics, Small Town.

Bonds, City Council big draws for Belmont voters Gaston County School Bonds are Passed

12 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Geno  |  November 7, 2007 at 1:48 pm

    I wish our winners well. Yes, we will watch their decisions! Boyce and Turner…store those signs – you’ll need them in two years. Richard, exude a little more energy next time and work those polls on election day! Dennis- you won’t be in the middle of a church opening and you can start earlier with more money and support.

    Council- the moratorium idea is not a bad one…. why not put the brakes on until we can get the code/ordinances up to snuff with the land use plan! Best wishes.

    Reply
  • 2. maverick  |  November 7, 2007 at 8:43 pm

    Much of what the author says regarding the assesment of the new council is correct and some is very much off base. The evaluation of the council candidates in many cases, especially the majority of the incumbents, was pretty much on target (with the exception of Mr. Dixon and his capabilities). The most obvious error was in the assesment of priorities of some of the new council members.
    Ms. Stowe and Mr. Foulk are very much on the same page with their views on growth and the direction of the city. To even suggest that Mr. Flowers, Mr. Martin and these two have similar views shows that you have not been paying attention.
    As someone who has known both of these individuals for many years, I am confident their views on what is best for our city, both long term and short term, are not cut from the same cloth as Mr. Flowers, Ms. Burch, Mr Martin or any of the ” old guard” that has been recently removed. These are intelligent, educated professionals –a welcome change to our city council.
    We will now have people on the city council that actually will understand the questions–what a difference a day makes! Our mayor will now have council members that he will be able to converse with that will actually be able to understand what is being said.
    To even suggest that Ms. Burch has any common ground with either of these people suggests you need to meet these folks and find out who they are.

    Reply
  • 3. Ashlie Ford  |  November 8, 2007 at 12:13 pm

    What a race!!!! I wish all the winners well, and hope that they well focus on belmont and refrain from rude remarks concerning past council members.
    I think that it is important that we get to know each of these members, The bar has been set high since the defeat of Ms. Burch.
    This is a lady who many people can and still will see on the streets fighting to make Belmont a more pleaseant place to live.
    Ms Burch hasn’t been blessed with very good health the past few years, but I find it miraculous that she still continued to fight for the people and the issues that were important everyday and not just concerning herself with growth!!
    I think growth is important, but we can’t forget the people who live here and issues that citizens battle everyday, we can’t forget that slum lords are very much apart of belmont and that these slum lords are taking advantage of the good people of belmont.
    These issues alone requires months and years of work and follow up!!! Ms Burch along with officer starnes were our code enforcers. The only two people to show up when a call was placed. I am very comcerned what will happen now! Who will take Ms burch place in dealing with code enforcement!! I think we have enough people to cover growth, it would be nice If the council could work with Ms burch before her exit, So she can share her thought s and ideas with other council members to educate them. We all must admit where we are weak.
    I have had some time to get to know martha Stowe and issues that concerns her, and my hopes are that she can pick up some of the issues the Ms. Burch addressed, I think Marthca Stowe would be a wonderful person to take over. with here work on Keep Belmont Beautiful, I feel she will help to get a ordinace that can be enforced!! I am tired of everyday harworking citizens paying citations ,while our slum lords profit from the misery they subject their neighbors to everyday. I hope that Martha will grab the Bull by the horns and get something in place and finsih what Ms. Burch has started!!!! I don’t believe that Ms. Stowe would feel that any member of the council was not on common ground with her,
    Ms. Stowe would never think she was above anyone!!! and I hope people will see this side of her if nothing else.

    Thank you Ms. Burch for all the wonderful things you accomplished!! God bless you

    Reply
  • 4. maverick  |  November 8, 2007 at 7:40 pm

    Geno makes valid points about the moratorium idea. Having been involved in residential construction for many years, I can assure you that the production (tract) builders in the area are not pleased that we now will have a city council that will make them pay their way. It ( the fees that most cities demand for infrastructure, schools etc) was expected all along but no one knew how to ask the right questions.
    Richard Turner is a bright and insightful guy who studies the issues because he wants to be involved. Dennis Boyce, nice guy that he is, does not understand the process and will not be a viable candidate. By his own admission, he is not a team player and will only pull votes away from electable candidates. Consider this: Mr. Turner and Mr. Gaston, both good alternatives to Mr. Flowers could have been elected but for the votes cast for Dennis Boyce and Karen Valentine—think about it; a clean sweep was within our grasp and it was blown.
    Belmont may actually be the last mill village in the state–at least from the point of view of some people. It is time to move ahead and ignore those like Charles Flowers that feel anyone not born in the city has no say.
    The tide started to change with the trouncing of Mr. Joye in the last election and has continued. Next election will bring our small town to a new level!!

    Reply
  • 5. Ashlie Ford  |  November 8, 2007 at 10:48 pm

    Charles Flowers seems to be a Hot Topic, It appears he has intemidated a few people. Well atleast if the abuse is inflicted on Mr. Flowers it will give other council members a rest. Thats Charles always taking one for the team!!!

    Reply
  • 6. Frogman  |  November 9, 2007 at 1:30 pm

    Well said Maverick!

    Reply
  • 7. Richard Turner  |  November 11, 2007 at 11:04 am

    Geno, thank you for your enthusiasm for my candidacy. Your thoughtful comments were helpful and appreciated. I am sorry I missed you at the poll’s on election day. I did work them beginning at 9:00 am until 7:00 pm. I rotated every 30 to 45 minutes to a different precinct. I’m sorry we did not get the opportunity to see one another in person.

    Best regards,
    Richard Turner

    Reply
  • 8. Dennis Boyce  |  November 11, 2007 at 4:00 pm

    Maverick,

    What I indicated to you was that I wasn’t interested in being on YOUR team. If the process is that an unelected citizen seeks to sway the election by offering a quid pro quo, then you’re correct, I don’t understand that process.

    I am very much interested in being a team player, but I reserve the right to be selective about which team.

    I don’t see the value in ignoring Charlie Flowers. Charlie is revered in this town, that’s obvious. If the people who lived and worked and built this town are comforted to have a friend on the Council, then so be it. Ashlie makes a great point in that every member of this Council has a valuable distinct perspective.

    I do not understand the vitriol that you exhibit and I hope that someday we can meet over coffee and enjoy friendship even though we disagree. Whenever you’re ready, I’m buying!

    Best regards,

    Dennis Boyce

    Reply
  • 9. Irl Dixon  |  November 11, 2007 at 5:12 pm

    Mayor, hmmm. Hadn’t thought of that. My family will have been here 102 years by then. Thanks, Front Porch.

    Reply
  • 10. Geno  |  November 12, 2007 at 10:08 am

    Seems ” the group” is going to continue their nastiness – not good for Belmont I would say. Dennis- your integrity shines through! Refreshing!

    Reply
  • 11. Irl Dixon  |  November 12, 2007 at 12:20 pm

    I noticed Maverick’s comments about making tract builders pay for frastructure. Unless I misunderstood his comments, he was completely wrong. The builders already pay for everything as well as contribute to many overall system upgrades..
    For water & sewer, Belmont does not pay for this type of infrastructure for any developer. In fact, we have impact fees that we charge throughout town that the builders have to pay to help the City maintain and/or upgrade the infrastructure that is already there. For instance, it added thousands of dollars to each house that was built in Hawthorne Place.
    In many areas there are multiple impact fees charged. In North Belmont there is an impact fee for using the main sewer line and an additional impact fee for the sewer lift station that serves that part of town. Those fees are our main source of funds for enlarging main lines or upgrading those lift stations. As far as a new subdivision’s infrastucture, that is put in entirely by the developer with no help from the City. It not only includes the water/sewer lines inside the subdivision but also includes the lines necessary to reach the subdivision. Reflection Point, for instance, paid the entire cost to run water/sewer lines all the way down South Point Road from Graystone to Reflection Point (including the cost of getting across the canal). The city added a small amount to enlarge those lines for later growth-not just for future construction but for people already on the peninsula who may want to tie in later. It was not necessary for that particular developer to have the City do this. It is a City policy in planning for the future.
    If Parks and Rec were the infrastructure issue, then we need an Adequate Public Facilities Ordinance first. We looked at doing this about six years ago but it would have taken additional personnel to make it work. Do you want to add a salary and benefits cost to get this? I think it will be a break even situation at best and we may even lose more than we take in. On the other hand, the City will have to hire a Stormwater Manager soon to meet state guidelines and maybe that can be an extra duty for that person. That way the cost can be shared between the 2 departments.
    If by infrastructure he meant schools, then that’s a County issue and not a City one. The county has the schools. Unfortunately, it is not legal in North Carolina to charge impact fees for schools so it really becomes a state issue. So I really doubt any of the developers out there are concerned about our new council members. I can tell you that Belmont is already considered the hardest City in the Charlotte area for developers to deal with and has been for many years. Believe me, I’ve heard them complain.
    If I’m not going to be on the Council, then I will watch this web page and try to correct misconceptions like these. It is not fair to condemn the actions of Council members when those doing so don’t understand their limits. Consider me the retired politician turned educator. I’m not doing this to try to try to demean anyone so I hope Maverick doesn’t take this personally. It’s just that having served on the Council, I was often crucified publicly and on web pages for following the law. Hopefully, this will get where people will ask me for comments.

    Reply
  • 12. Geno  |  November 13, 2007 at 7:00 am

    Looks like we need to be lobbying Raleigh to CHANGE some laws!

    Reply

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