Five Elkin town commissioners make up the board, but three are up for re-election this year.
Terms will expire for Commissioner’s Terry Kennedy, Joe Walker, and Cicely McCulloch.
“In just one night the people can speak, thus changing the landscape of town politics,” said WalMart shopper Mindy Smith, a new resident who moved to Elkin after taking a job in Dobson. Smith said she wants to see more funding for trails, parks, and recreation and that she’s fluent in the political process.
“Who knows. Maybe I can make a difference,” she said.
Her husband Rodger, who’s unemployed and looking for work, asked about employment opportunities.
“I can’t get a job at PGW because that’s not my field. Is that all we have over here that’s coming? What else have they done to bring jobs into the area?” asked Rodger Smith.
The commissioners may have some tough decisions on the table, especially as they review and prepare to vote on the next budget.
Early indicators on budget negotiations from town officials suggest that this year’s budget will be belt-tightening. With a budget usually agreed upon in June, it is unknown if voter sentiment from budget negotiations can carry to a November election.
“We can’t say yes to everybody. Money is just not there,” said John Holcolmb, finance director for the Town of Elkin.
Commissioners, who have the final decision on the budget, are not 100 percent sure if they’ll even be in the November ballot box.
“I anticipate I will be running, so my plan is that I will seek re-election,” said Commissioner McCulloch, who is also the owner of the Liberty building on Main Street, a development town officials are banking on to help revitalize downtown. She also owns Diana’s Bookstore. “I’m still going to fight for downtown. Not only have I put my money where my mouth is, but I want to stay on the board to make sure downtown gets the credit it deserves and to ensure that Elkin is the right destination for people who visit.”
Both Walker and Kennedy say they still haven’t decided.
“What I have in front of me right now is the budget,” said Commissioner Walker. “I can tell you that I have not made up my mind on seeking another term. I’ll get to that decision in late May or June.”
Commissioner Kennedy spoke highly of the existing board, suggesting that even though they don’t always agree, they do come together on issues vital for Elkin.
“I don’t know if I will run for another term. It’s a good group of people who I work with, but its also very demanding. I’ll make a decision soon. Right now I’m worried about the budget. People who earn a living and can understand how and why rates went up in the past. I’m worried about people on a fixed income like my mother, as an example, who can’t afford paying more,” said Commissioner Kennedy.
The first budget workshop is open to the public and will be held at Town Hall on Tuesday, April 30 at 6 p.m. Like potential candidates, commissioners have indicated that in recent years public participation at the workshops have been scarce, a trend they would like to change.
Reach Anthony Gonzalez at 336-835-1513 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.