Orange County

With 4 open seats, Carrboro will get at least 1 new Board of Aldermen member on Nov. 7

Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 19, for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board and municipal races in Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7.
Early voting begins Thursday, Oct. 19, for the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board and municipal races in Hillsborough, Carrboro and Chapel Hill. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7. File photo

Three incumbent Board of Aldermen members are up for re-election in November and a fourth seat is vacant because former Alderwoman Michelle Johnson moved out of state.

Two challengers – Paul Clark and Barbara Foushee – are on the ballot, along with Alderwomen Jacquelyn Gist and Randee Haven-O’Donnell and Alderman Sammy Slade.

The four winners of the Nov. 7 election will wrestle with such issues as commercial and residential growth, including what gets built on the Lloyd Farm property on N.C. 54, and how those changes affect affordable housing, transportation and neighborhoods.

Carrboro voters also will choose between two candidates for mayor: Mike Benson and incumbent Lydia Lavelle. Early voting in Orange County’s municipal and Chapel Hill-Carrboro City school board races starts Thursday, and runs through Saturday, Nov. 4.

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Here’s what each candidate said when we asked why they want to be a Carrboro alderman:

Paul Clark: I want to include all of the community in decision-making. I want to bridge the communication gap between busy family neighborhoods and Town Hall. Currently, only one alderman lives more than a mile from Town Hall, yet more than 50 percent of the population lives outside of downtown. I plan to maintain consistent communication with community centers, PTAs, HOAs, social groups, fitness groups, and any other established network so everyone gets fair input.

Barbara Foushee: ​I have a history of community engagement in Carrboro that includes my service on the OWASA Board of Directors and the Human Services Advisory Board. I want to use my experience to increase citizen participation and also to ensure that Carrboro is affordable for all of its community members.​

Jacquelyn Gist: During the 28 years that I have helped lead Carrboro, the issues have changed. My commitment to serving our entire community has not changed. When asked who my constituency is my answer is always that Carrboro is my constituency, not any one group or interest. I have worked, and will continue to work, to bring people together to work through differences and find solutions that build rather than diminish our sense of community. The work I did to help lead the community in designing the plan for the Dr. MLK Park is a recent example. I am running to continue helping lead Carrboro as we work together to address our challenges.

Randee Haven-O’Donnell: I am seeking re-election to continue building a strong, responsive and participatory government in Carrboro. People are reaching out for government that is authentically inclusive of their concerns, that works for them, and that they can trust. The expectation of truth and trust in government begins locally, within our hometown.

We must be free to openly question and be responsible to participate in thoughtful dialogue. I am working to further Carrboro’s deliberative approaches to engage community in neighborhood infrastructure issues, decision-making, and planned development. Community representatives must model, lead and enable others to act in a manner that reflects respect, inclusion, social justice and equal rights. Social justice is what binds a community. I seek to encourage community unity, collaboration, cooperation, problem solving and moving forward together. Strengthening government that works for all people.

Sammy Slade: I am running for office because I believe Carrboro is a place where we can take concrete local actions to create a more just and livable economy, community and environment. This is particularly important in these times when the state and federal governments are further retreating from supporting life, social welfare and justice, and, in the process, threatening the livelihoods of current and future generations. Sanity needs to be modeled.

Tammy Grubb: 919-829-8926, @TammyGrubb

Quick answers

Do you support giving development in the rural buffer another look?

Paul Clark: Yes

Barbara Foushee: No

Jacquelyn Gist: No

Randee Haven-O’Donnell: No

Sammy Slade: No

Do you support economic incentives to attract businesses?

Paul Clark: Yes

Barbara Foushee: Yes

Jacqueline Gist: Yes. Carrboro’s assistance to the Hampton Inn, through leasing parking spaces using money from hotel occupancy fees, allowed the hotel to obtain financing for the project. I support this type of incentive that adds to our non-residential tax base without spending town funds.

Randee Haven-O’Donnell: Yes. Without adding taxpayer money, Carrboro successfully entered into agreements that allowed financing of downtown projects that have added to our tax base; examples: Hampton Inn and Fleet Feet.

Sammy Slade: No. Businesses that are not locally owned do not contribute to a healthy community the way that locally owned businesses do.

Do you consider Carrboro taxes and cost of living affordable?

Paul Clark: No for some and yes for others

Barbara Foushee: No

Jacqueline Gist: No. Carrboro has not raised taxes in at least seven years and yet the tax bill our citizens pay is high, because the town tax bill is combined with the county’s and includes our schools – our excellent schools – one of the driving factors behind our high taxes.

Randee Haven-O’Donnell: No. We have a small commercial tax-base, making residential property tax the largest percentage of revenue; our local economy and sound fiscal management make us resilient, but affordability depends on commercial growth and revenue generation.

Sammy Slade: No

Early Voting information

One-Stop Early voting in the Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough municipal races and in the Chapel Hill-Carrboro School Board election begins Thursday, Oct. 19. The general election will be held Tuesday, Nov. 7.

Eligible citizens can register and vote during the early voting period with an approved identification, such as a bank statement, drivers license or utility bill, showing their name and current address.

All early voting sites will close at 5 p.m. on Tuesday, Oct. 31. Otherwise, the following polls will be open:

▪ Board of Elections, 208 S. Cameron St., Hillsborough

Thursday-Friday, Oct. 19-20, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.,

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

▪ Carrboro Town Hall, 301 W. Main St., Carrboro

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Saturdays, Oct. 28 and Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

▪ Chapel of the Cross, 304 E. Franklin St., Chapel Hill

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, noon to 7 p.m.

Not open Saturday, Oct. 28, because of UNC football game

Saturday, Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

▪ Seymour Senior Center, 2551 Homestead Road, Chapel Hill

Monday-Friday, Oct. 23-27 and Oct. 30-Nov. 3, noon to 7 p.m.

Saturday, Oct. 28, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Saturday, Nov. 4, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

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