Get to know your municipal candidates
For those who even casually follow municipal government happenings in Haywood, both Canton and Maggie Valley are poised for change. The direction of that change will be determined by the November election results.
That means residents of those communities have just six weeks or so to get up to speed on the issues facing both communities.
The Mountaineer will, of course, be providing plenty of opportunities for the candidates to discuss their goals and views. Hopefully there will be forums organized in each community where citizens can personally meet candidates.
In Canton, only Mayor Mike Ray is seeking re-election. There are six candidates vying for the four available seats on the board. Regardless of who is elected, there are bound to be changes in store in the community.
One of the pressing issues is hiring and working with a new town manager to replace retiring Al Matthews. Though the process to fill the position began in January, no replacement has yet been chosen.
There’s also a decision to be made about the Canton outdoor swimming pool, which is leaking like a sieve, ongoing issues with Camp Hope, ongoing development at the International Sports Complex and a variety of daily governing issues the new board will oversee.
In Maggie Valley, governance has been almost paralyzed since the departure of Alderman Phil Aldridge about a year ago. The remaining four on the board have consistently locked horns, two to two, and haven’t even been able to agree who to appoint as a fifth board member who would have been a tie-breaking vote.
In the November election, two of the sitting board members are up for election — one from each camp, and Aldridge’s position will be filled. That means three of five seats are up for grabs this election — enough to change the tide in whatever direction town residents choose.
There is no election in Waynesville this year, and in Clyde, the only choices are for the incumbents, who are seeking re-election.
But in Maggie Valley and Canton, the November elections hold great significance.
We encourage readers to pay close attention to upcoming election coverage as it unfolds. It is a great opportunity to become acquainted with the civic-minded individuals who have offered to serve.
In Canton, look forward to getting to know Ralph Hamlett, Gail Mull, Phil Smathers, Carole Edwards, Roy Taylor and Zeb Smathers.
In Maggie Valley, get ready to read more about Saralyn Price, Mike Eveland, Billy Norris Case, Steve Hurley, Mike Matthews, Charlie Meadows, Janet Banks and Joe Maniscalco.
Be prepared for the Nov. 5 election and help chart the course of the government closest to you.