1. In general, do you believe Alamance County government spending is too high, too low, or about right?
Rudy Cartassi: Too High
Steve Carter: About Right
Craig Turner: About Right
Robert Turner: Too High
At about what level do you think the county tax rate, now 66¢ per $100 valuation, should be set?
Rudy Cartassi: 64¢ per $100
Steve Carter: I would like to see a tax reduction this year
Craig Turner: 65¢ per $100
Robert Turner: Lowered by 2 to 3 cents.
2. Historically, Alamance County has been considered to have had a relatively low property tax rate, at least compared to more urban areas to the east and west. In recent years, there are some who have urged that maintaining a low tax rate should not be such a high priority, but rather that the county should increase its tax rate in order to fund additional government services and/or spend more in some existing areas. What is your overall philosophy on the proper balance between tax rate and spending for 2022 and beyond
Rudy Cartassi: Lower Taxes will attract more people for a bigger tax base, more people will attract more small business. As a consequence, the Quality of life will improve because of the additional of Public Services.
Steve Carter: My focus, try to do as much as we can to provided needed services, while being fiscally responsible and conservative. Our county is growing rapidly, as is our tax base, thus providing funding that I would like to see sustain our needs. My mantra, “Taxed enough Already”.
Craig Turner: Alamance County should have a low tax rate so that individuals, farms, and other businesses can keep more of their hard-earned income which is especially important in times of high inflation, and so that we are an attractive community for growth and business development, which will increase the tax base.
Robert Turner: We need to increase our budget off of growth, not by increasing the tax rate.
3. Prioritize your top three spending priorities among these (or other) possible issues for the next 2-4 years
– Building new/additional court facilities
– Funding a veterans community of “tiny houses”
– Establishing a diversion center
– Providing additional pay for county employees
– Raising the local supplement for ABSS teachers
– Increasing funding for other aspects of ABSS
Rudy Cartassi: 1. Safety, Sheriff, EMS. 2. Opportunity: Vets, Seniors. 3. Small Business – Lower Tax
Steve Carter: 1.Safety and security for our citizens. 2. Keep our experienced employees, while adding those needed to serve our community, at competitive wages. 3. Maintain our assets, building and equipment, in safe, efficient and effective condition
Craig Turner: 1. Ensuring county government is staffed adequately to manage growth 2. Providing additional pay for county employees. 3. Ensuring the county’s EMS services are sufficiently funded.
Robert Turner: 1. Law enforcement and emergency services need to keep step with growth 2. Schools should be a long-term priority 3. A diversion center, while important, should be funded by sources other than the local taxpayer.
4. Alamance County’s commissioners have agreed to expedite the county’s next tax revaluation to 2023. Do you believe the county’s tax rate after the revaluation should be “revenue neutral” compared the pre-revaluation level, to accommodate for the expected increase in property values?
Rudy Cartassi: Yes
Steve Carter: Yes
Craig Turner: Yes
Robert Turner: Yes
5. Alamance County’s commissioners have put a ¼-cent local option sales tax referendum on the ballot four previous times, each of which has been turned down by county voters. Supporters of the additional sales tax would help offset the impact of the property tax. Would you vote for or against putting the referendum on the ballot again?
Rudy Cartassi: Against
Steve Carter: For. At this time, I would vote for it only if it was to be used to offset the property tax.
Craig Turner: Against. The voters have spoken
Robert Turner: Against
6. About five to seven local non-profit organizations have received financing in recent annual county budgets, and the commissioners are now being asked to provide funding to help an adult daycare program. What is your view on whether county tax dollars should be used to help fund various non-profit organizations. Would you support or oppose the effort? [25 word limit]
Rudy Cartassi: Support on a Case-by-case Basis
Steve Carter: Oppose. Proper source funding is private funding or a loan. I have approached ACC Small Business Center regarding putting together request for Self-Help Credit Union.
Craig Turner: Oppose. Should not use the county’s general fund. Non-profits received occupancy tax funds for tourism (based on state law) and COVID funding for health initiatives.
Robert Turner: Against. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution. You need information from each organization about how it operates to make a decision.
7. What role, if any, should the county have in public transportation?
Rudy Cartassi: —
Steve Carter: I think our current role is appropriate.
Craig Turner: The county rightly provides funding (and channels grant funding) for ACTA, which operates by scheduled pickups at $5 / trip (except for certain elderly riders).
Robert Turner: The county should continue its commitments to both ACTA and LINK transit
8. Specifically, do you support continued county funding of Alamance County Transportation Authority (ACTA)?
Rudy Cartassi: Yes
Steve Carter: No.
Craig Turner: Yes
Robert Turner: Yes
9. Specifically, should the county provide any funding to Burlington’s LINK transit system to expand routes in other areas of the county?
Rudy Cartassi: Yes
Steve Carter: I believe that the two agencies should work together to find the most efficient, and fiscally responsible way, to provide transportation service to citizens.
Craig Turner: No. The LINK system operates by set routes and established schedules. It is often underused and would be inefficient and wasteful in the county.
Robert Turner: Yes
10. Please outline the principles that would govern your decision on which companies should receive tax-financed incentives and under what circumstances.
Rudy Cartassi: Government should not be picking winners and losers. Should be a standard package for all
Steve Carter: It’s a case-by-case evaluation. Each opportunity needs to be evaluated to determine if the benefit to our citizens in providing good paying jobs, and improvement to our tax base, is sufficient to offset the initial cost, with a solid and reputable company, it should be considered.
Craig Turner: We are a good business location, with a low cost of living and tax rate. Mostly, we should not offer incentives. But, when incentives are required to ensure substantial job growth and a large increase to tax base, we should consider them. If granted, we must enforce the agreement.
Robert Turner: The incentives should be based on the number of additional jobs and the added tax value of the new or expanded facility.
11. Do you support or oppose countywide zoning? Why or Why Not?
Rudy Cartassi: Oppose. You will disenfranchise a group of people in some way. The guard rails you build today could become prison bars years later.
Steve Carter: Oppose. At this time, we have seen an overwhelming negative response to recent planning board efforts at small area plans, and zoning
Craig Turner: Oppose. Not necessary currently. Nearly all industry and high-density residential in the county develops within the municipalities for access to water/sewer and proximity to the interstate.
Robert Turner: Oppose. We need to put more focus on permit approval rather than zoning to know what’s going on in the county.
12. What, if anything, should now be done to guard against companies like the Snow Camp rock quarry becoming established in rural areas of Alamance County?
Rudy Cartassi: Oppose. More Public Engagement and transparencies at the front end. Will help prevent problems like Snow Camp
Steve Carter: Without effective planning and zoning our development ordinances are our only protection conflicts resulting from future growth.
Craig Turner: The Heavy Industrial Development Ordinance governs industrial uses. It includes setbacks that create buffers with existing uses. Lack of water and sewer further restrict development.
Robert Turner:It would also help to have a straightforward contract with the company about how it operates and does business.
13. How much of a problem are gun ranges or other target shooting in rural areas of the county?
Rudy Cartassi: None
Steve Carter: We are getting some complaints, but state law limits our options.
Craig Turner: Noise from some outdoor gun ranges is a bother to some nearby property owners.
Robert Turner: I’m good with the Second Amendment. Firearm training is a necessity for law enforcement and any gun owner.
14. What, if any, additional noise or other county regulation would you favor? [25 word limit]
Rudy Cartassi: None
Steve Carter: State Statute prohibits the county from imposing restrictions, under zoning ordinances, HIDOs or noise ordinances.
Craig Turner: Most ranges have state law protection and are unimpacted by new noise restrictions. Property owners and ranges should attempt to address differences like good neighbors.
Robert Turner: None. NC Article 53C – Sport Shooting Range Protection Act of 1997. § 14-409.45 and the US Constitution.
15. There has been discussion from some residents who have suggested that the Confederate monument in front of the historic courthouse should be moved. Would you support or oppose moving the monument? If so, where? [25 word limit]
Rudy Cartassi: Oppose. It stays where it is. It is History
Steve Carter: We are currently in a lawsuit on this issue, so I can’t respond, and State Statute places limits on any movement.
Craig Turner: Oppose. State law prohibits counties from relocating county-owned objects of remembrance unless an object’s unsafe condition poses a danger to public safety.
Robert Turner: Oppose
16. Should Alamance County establish Juneteenth (June 19) as an additional paid holiday for county employees?
Rudy Cartassi: No.
Steve Carter: No. I don’t see the logic in adding another paid holiday, what would it replace?
Craig Turner: No. Alamance County has a sufficient number of paid holidays for county employees.
Robert Turner: No.
17. Does the county budget provide too much, not enough, or about the right level of funding for the Alamance-Burlington School System?
Rudy Cartassi: Too Little
Steve Carter: About right
Craig Turner: About Right.
Robert Turner: About Right
18. If too little, would you be willing to raise property taxes to provide increased funding?
Rudy Cartassi: No
Steve Carter: —
Craig Turner: No.
Robert Turner: No.
19. In your view, who is responsible for what some critics describe as the poor condition of the county school system’s physical facilities? (County Commissioners, School board, School administration, Other)
Rudy Cartassi: County Commissioners, School Board, School administrators
Steve Carter: In recent years there has been a lot of back and forth between ABSS and the BOC over what was provided and how it was spent. I think with all the current work we are getting the needs fixed. Let’s let transparency and accountability work and move forward.
Craig Turner: This year, Commissioners allocated $14 million for safety improvements and maintenance, and (at our urging) ABSS allocated $29 million from federal COVID funds for HVAC fixes. We are catching up maintenance deferred.
Robert Turner: When problems exist, the school board needs to notify the commissioners.
20. In general do you support or oppose the concept of allowing additional charter schools to be developed and started in Alamance County? [25 word limit]
Rudy Cartassi: Support
Steve Carter: Support. Charter schools are dependent upon student demand. If demand continues to grow then, as before, I support school choice.
Craig Turner: Support. Traditional public-school educators do great work. But, it’s a “one-size fits all” system with stifling regulation. Charters have freedom to innovate and allow parental input.
Robert Turner: Support
21. What is your greatest area of disagreement with action(s) taken by the county commissioners in the past 2-5 years? [25 word limit]
Rudy Cartassi: Not lowing Taxes, Accountabilities and transparencies in the administration in the school’s system, Greater Focus to Law Enforcement
Steve Carter: I would like to see budget issues delt with at budget time, instead of deferred and requiring budget amendments later in the fiscal year.
Craig Turner: The Republican-controlled Board of Commissioners generally has made the right calls, but the 8-cent tax increase was off the mark.
Robert Turner: The purpose of the commissioners is to run the business of the people, not their lives, and I can ensure it will stay that way.
22. In your view, what are the three main issues facing the county during the next 5 years? [50 word limit]
Rudy Cartassi: 1. Development
3. High Quality Education
Steve Carter: 1. Providing for the protection and safety of our citizens, through law enforcement, medical services, Health Department, and etc.
2. Rapid growth, Census projection of 205,000 population by 2035, and 235,000 by 2050, stressing services and infrastructure.
3. Constant competitive pressure on our payroll from surrounding counties, municipalities and private industry.
Craig Turner: 1. Growth in the county is a blessing, but we must manage it strategically.
2. It is increasingly difficult to retain quality county employees, as nearby counties and the private sector pay more.
3. Quality education is key to ensure a vibrant community. We must strive to retain quality teachers.
Robert Turner:1. Keeping our law enforcement strong.
2. Making sure infrastructure keeps up with growth.
3. Maintaining quality education.