To the Editor:
This is my first ever letter to the editor. I feel I must respond to comments made in local papers by several candidates for Alderman for the Town of Canton. One statement made was that there had been no progress made in Canton over the last four years, and that things had declined during that time; others referred to lack of infrastructure and economic development.
Some of the many accomplishments made over that last four years are as follows:
• A new larger sewer line was extended to Buckeye Cove at a cost of $1.8 million, paid for with grants and local funds with no additional debt, all contributing to future economic development.
• The town cooperated with the county, the hospital, and private business to locate a new Urgent Care in Canton.
• Purchased a new fire truck for more than $300,000, which enabled our fire department to maintain top rating so our citizens get the best homeowner insurance at a lower cost.
• Secured grants to fund a new water line in the Beaverdam and North Canton Road area that would have otherwise cost town citizens.
• Secured funding in excess of $1 million to install a new storm drainage system from Radio Hill to Evergreen Packagin which will help mitigate future flooding problems.
• Helped form a N.C. Step Group in Canton that has acquired $125,000 to help promote Canton businesses.
• Worked with DOT to secure funding for new sidewalk on Penland Street.
• Have paved more road footage that any board in the past decade and have in place a sidewalk replacement program that has spent $50,000 plus each of the last four years.
• Fought two major legal battles — one to keep Camp Hope public and one to prevent large billboards all over town.
• Invested more money into recreation to hire a fulltime recreation person, installed a sand volleyball court, enhanced lighting at old tennis courts, began walking in the Armory in the winter, and also picking in the armory in the winter, along with new batting cages and some much needed drainage work at IP Complex.
• Worked to get the question of staggered terms on the ballot for our citizens to decide which way they wanted to elect the board.
• We were able to provide new weapons for our Police Department to replace other outdated ones along with new radar equipment and drug fighting equipment. Funding was acquired through grants and sale of surplus equipment.
All of this and more were accomplished over the last four years with no ad valorem tax increase to our citizens; and we were also able to give a small raise to our employees by combining several positions as people retired. Several candidates have stated they will move Canton forward and recruit new business downtown, but no one has stated how they plan to do it and where the funding will come from.
As for the new town manager, I will not refer to what was discussed in closed session concerning personnel; however, I feel we have capable personnel to run the town government in the interim while the new board decide who they want.
Last of all, I sincerely give my best wishes for the new board, whom ever is elected and hope they can accomplish great things for the Town of Canton, and I encourage them to vote on all issues with the Town of Canton taxpayers and employees’ best interest at heart. There are many other accomplishments over the last four years I would be glad to discuss one on one with any taxpayer. I will always support the Town of Canton in any way I can.