Voters drill Mint Hill candidates on issues

MINT HILL – Voters in Mint Hill had a look at candidates running for the board of commissioners, mayor and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools Board of Education District 6 this past week at a forum hosted by the Mint Hill Women’s Club.

Questions were collected from audience members prior to the forum, and each of the seven candidates for the board of commissioners and two candidates for CMS District 6 were given one minute to respond.  Board of commissioner candidates Tina Ross and Eric Random and CMS District 6 candidate Doug Wrona did not attend the event.

Town board candidates were questioned on a number of topics, including Mint Hill sidewalks, multi-purpose sports fields and economic development; while school board candidates were quizzed about teacher pay, security in schools and taxes.

Many of the candidates, especially the incumbents, were on the same page regarding ongoing sidewalk projects in Mint Hill and the need to connect the community for pedestrians. The town is currently working on a two-phase project to connect all incomplete sidewalks throughout Mint Hill’s central district.

“Mint Hill has been really smart about building sidewalks,” current board member Brenda McRae said. She wasn’t alone in commending the work of the current board, with all other six candidates present – Lloyd Austin, Dale Dalton, Mickey Ellington, Rich Ferretti, Harry Marsh and Richard Newton – giving their approval of the projects currently taking place throughout town.

Candidates also discussed economic development and how to prepare Mint Hill for future growth while maintaining the small-town feel many residents have come to love.

“It’s going to come whether we like it or not,” so the town needs to plan for the future, Dalton said at the forum in regard to population growth.  “… (My family) moved here because we like our large spacious lots.”

To do that, the town needs to prepare now for new businesses and the space it will need, candidates said.

“We need more business, but we need to be very protective and get what we want,” Mayor Pro Tem Austin said.

Other candidates expressed their desire for town leaders to create lasting relationships with small businesses currently in town so they don’t find another location to call home.

“We do need more, but the town of Mint Hill is going to have to support them to keep them here,” Ellington said.

While the commission candidates debated economics and future growth, the CMS school board candidates wdiscussed security in schools and teacher pay – something both candidates seem to be on the same page with.  Both Paul Bailey, a Matthews commissioner, and Bolyn McClung, a long-time education advocate, agree these issues need to be addressed by working with the officials on the state level to come up with a viable solution, something they each plan to do if elected.

Find more information about the candidates, including their answers to Matthews-Mint Hill Weekly candidate surveys, at www.

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