Saturday, June 22, 2024

114 West Elm Street
Graham, NC 27253
Ph: 336.228.7851

Haw River voters will decide mayoral, town council races

Haw River voters are faced with competitive races for both mayor and town council as incumbents face challengers in both races.

For incumbent mayor Kelly Allen, finishing her first term as mayor after serving 10 years previously as a council member, is facing Aric V. Geda, who is making his first run for public office.

For the town council race, incumbents Steve Lineberry,  who is a former police chief and has served two terms on the town council, and Patty Wilson, who is completing her first term on the council, are being challenged by Debbie Brown.

Brown is challenging the two councilmen (Lineberry and Wilson) who opposed her selection in 2020 to fill a council seat left vacant by the elevation of Allen to mayor in the 2019 election.  Lineberry and Wilson favored Kristin Smith; Allen and Lee Lovette voted for Brown.  With a 2-2 tie, the council ultimately left the seat open until it was filled by voters in 2021.

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Biographical information provided by the candidates can be found at:

Taxes and spending are among the issues that divide the candidates.

Haw River, like many local jurisdictions, adopted a 2023-2024 property tax rate above the revenue neutral rate.  The town council adopted a rate more than four cents, or about 10 percent, above a revenue neutral rate.

The town council adopted a budget with a property tax rate of 44 cents per $100 valuation; the revenue neutral rate would have been 39.92 cents per $100.

Incumbent Lineberry, who opposed the higher tax rate when the budget was adopted in June on a 4-1 vote, and mayoral challenger  Geda believe the current tax rate is “too high,” while mayor Allen, council member Wilson, and council challenger Brown believe it is “about right.”

Only Lineberry says he believes the council could or should reduce the property tax rate to a revenue neutral level.

The property tax increases are also the area of greatest disagreement for Allen, Brown, Lineberry, and Wilson, with Allen adding that raises for town council members approved last year were part of her greatest area of disagreement.

For Geda, his greatest area of disagreement was “the rezoning of several ideal industrial and commercial properties to residential will result in further detriment to implement the Comprehensive Land Use and Master Plan.”

Candidates were asked about funding for the four primary town departments: police, fire, public works, and parks and recreation.  The three incumbents say police and fire are adequately funded, while Geda and Brown say more funding is needed.

Lineberry and Wilson say the public works department is adequately funded, while Allen, Geda, and Brown say more funding is needed.

And for parks and recreation, only Lineberry says funding is adequate; Allen, Geda, Brown, and Wilson say more funding is needed.

Allen, Geda, Brown, and Wilson do not favor raising property taxes, if necessary, to provide additional spending for the departments they felt were inadequately funded.

Candidates’ full responses to the issues questionnaire is HERE

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