In their adventure for a bench on the Pasquotank Lath of Commissioners, Joe Winslow and Sean Lavin accompany altered resumes to a agnate goal: adorning their home canton with bigger jobs and stronger schools.
Winslow, a 71-year-old accountant and Democrat, is active for his third appellation as canton abettor in the Northern Outside district.
Challenging him is Sean Lavin, a 39-year-old Republican and administrator at aerostat architect TCOM. Lavin aboriginal ran for at-large abettor as an detached applicant in 2016, but absent to Abettor Jeff Dixon, who is not up for re-election this year.
In interviews Tuesday and Wednesday, Winslow and Lavin — who will face off in aing month’s accepted acclamation — discussed the county’s charge for bread-and-er growth, convalescent and announcement its academy system, and captivation bottomward spending.
Asked how he’d ascertain success for Pasquotank County, Winslow said if accepted addition four-year term, he action a assessable goal:
“I’d like to see that we’ve confused from a Tier 1 to a Tier 2 area,” Winslow said, apropos to the N.C. Department of Commerce’s designations for counties’ bread-and-er health. Tier 1 is for the 40 best economically afflicted counties, while Tier 2 is for the aing 40 and Tier 3 for the 20 best affluent counties.
Pasquotank isn’t that far off from actuality a Tier 2 county. Commerce aftermost year ranked Pasquotank as the state’s 37th best economically distressed, putting it four spots abroad from Tier 2.
Winslow said the best important footfall for Pasquotank’s abridgement is accepting the region’s U.S. Highway 17 aisle upgraded to artery standards.
“The number-one affair is accelerating I-87,” he said, abacus abounding abeyant businesses’ aboriginal catechism about an breadth is its accurateness to an interstate.
“It’ll transform the area. … We can’t accumulate cat-and-mouse for it,” he said.
Winslow said he’ll abide blame accompaniment admiral to armamentarium the abounding multi-million-dollar projects bare to accompany I-87 to fruition.
Winslow additionally said he’s pushed for added “ingredients” for Pasquotank’s bread-and-er growth, including added broadband admission in the rural genitalia of the county.
Economic advance is additionally “the alone way we can accumulate our taxes down,” Winslow said.
Asked if he would accomplish to argue acreage tax increases, Winslow said he would argue them unless the canton faced a banking emergency, citation above acquirement shortfalls such as happened during the recession in 2008 as an example.
For his part, Lavin said if he’s adopted he would admeasurement success for the canton by its “trending advancement in key areas.” He offered citizenry growth, bigger academy performance, and advantageous off debt as examples.
Lavin said Pasquotank needs to annihilate barriers to new businesses, including aerial taxes and fees.
He acclaimed commissioners beforehand this ages antipodal advance on adopting baptize fees, but speculated commissioners artlessly didn’t appetite to accession them afore the election.
As addition with administration experience, Lavin additionally said he wants to accomplice with Canton Administrator Sparty Hammett to attending for accumulation by authoritative canton operations added efficient. He additionally apprenticed to “squeeze every account band item” afore he’d accede adopting taxes.
Lavin additionally said the canton needs to lower its debt, and claimed the canton needs to “get abroad from” advantageous mostly absorption and not arch on its debt.
Asked Wednesday about the county’s debt, Pasquotank Finance Officer Sheri Baby said the canton does pay mostly arch with about all its debt payments, blurred how abundant absorption it ultimately pays. The one barring may be the county’s abiding debt on Albemarle Commune Jail, she added.
Economic advance additionally agency “we’ve absolutely got to get abaft our schools,” Lavin said, calling for added affectionate captivation in schools.
Lavin said the accessible schools charge to do added abstruse training and bigger advance careers in accomplished action to students. TCOM, like abounding added employers, has a curtailment of abstruse laborers, admitting the aerial accomplishment those careers pay, he said.
Lavin additionally alleged for the canton to accomplice with industries and address assets to accepting acceptance apprenticeships.
Like Lavin, Winslow additionally believes the Elizabeth City-Pasquotank Accessible Schools needs to accumulate accretion its abstruse courses. Winslow said he’s helped advance abstruse courses as both a canton abettor and affiliate of the College of The Albemarle Lath of Trustees.
Asked about the county’s low-performing schools, Winslow bidding aplomb in the ECPPS Lath of Education, commenting they won’t be annoyed until all schools are high-performing. Several ECPPS schools bigger their grades on the state’s anniversary testing affairs this year, but the accompaniment still considers the Pasquotank Elementary, P.W. Moore Elementary, and Elizabeth City Middle schools as low-performing.
Asked how perceptions of ECPPS schools could be improved, Lavin said the commune has positives, including some excellent, adherent teachers. However, he alleged for ECPPS admiral to appearance added transparency, and to accede area schools charge improvement.
Both candidates additionally addressed the Lath of Education’s arguable accommodation afresh to pay $318,000 in severance to above ECPPS Superintendent Larry Cartner, with whom the lath entered into a abandonment acceding in August. Academy lath associates accept said they’re accurately banned from adage why Cartner resigned.
Lavin said the academy lath should not accept accustomed a arrangement with Cartner absolute a “golden parachute,” apropos to the severance paid with bounded tax dollars.
“We should never get into a bearings area we accomplish agreements like that,” Lavin said.
Lavin said such severance agreements aren’t accepted in business, and “that’s area I’d booty my cues.”
As a taxpayer, Winslow said he “was not happy” with the acquittal to Cartner. However, he said he believes affairs like Cartner’s aren’t unusual.
Another way Pasquotank ability draw bread-and-er action is through a new solar farm. An bearding developer is because a above solar acreage in the county; the activity could accompany millions of dollars of new advance but additionally put solar panels on acreage acreage or aing to residences.
Those apropos led Winslow to abutment solar moratoriums this year while the canton considers new solar regulations.
“I adulation solar” but “I anticipate it’s got to be in the appropriate place,” Winslow said, abacus he couldn’t say if the activity should happen.
As for solar development, Lavin said, “I anticipate we’ve got to be careful” about solar farms, because they booty acreage abroad from agriculture or added uses. That’s clashing the county’s wind farm, area agriculture continues about turbines, he noted.
Lavin additionally bidding apropos about solar farms actuality congenital too aing to people’s houses, calling them “unsightly.” He additionally said solar farms should not booty up acreage adorable for added bartering development, such as a Halstead Boulevard Extended.
Asked about his opponent, Winslow said he has no problems with Lavin. However, Winslow argues he is the proven, added accomplished candidate. Winslow said he’s continued formed on the issues Lavin is now aggravating to get complex in.
Asked why voters should abutment him instead of Winslow, Lavin said he “liked” Winslow and has no botheration with him. However, he said Republicans are under-represented on the lath of commissioners — there are six Democrats and alone one Republican, Frankie Meads — and Winslow tends to vote with added Democrats.
Lavin apprenticed to acquisition time to apostle for Pasquotank beyond the arena and in Raleigh. Pasquotank is his home now and he’s adherent to convalescent it, he said.
“This is area I buried my roots and area I’m adopting my children,” he said.
Occupation: Owner of Winslow Accounting
Education: Bachelor’s amount in automated engineering from N.C. Accompaniment University, accessory amount in banking planning from Old Dominion University
Military service: Drafted into the U.S Army, 1972-73
Previous campaigns/offices: Adopted as Pasquotank Canton Abettor in 2010, re-elected 2014
Civic involvement: Member, Elizabeth City Morning Rotary Club; 32nd amount Mason at Eureka 317 Masonic Lodge; affiliate of Providence Ruritan Club
Family: Wife, Sandi, two children
Occupation: Operations affairs manager, TCOM
Education: Bachelor’s amount in baby business management/entrepreneurship, East Carolina University
Military service: None
Previous offices/campaigns: Ran abominably as an detached applicant for Pasquotank Canton abettor in 2016
Civic involvement: Chairman, affect lath for Ramoth Gilead Baptist Church; lath member, Arts of the Albemarle; lath member, Elizabeth City Breadth Chamber of Commerce; member, Northeastern Workforce Development Board
Family: Wife, Allison, three children
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