Hurley offers road maintenance, board involvement with departments

By Jessi Stone Assistant editor | Oct 28, 2013
Photo by: Jessi Stone Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen Steve Hurley speaks at a candidate forum.

Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen candidate Steve Hurley said positive change in the town is possible, but it has to start with the mayor and the five board members.

Hurley is the owner of Hurley’s Creekside Dining & Rhum Bar in Maggie and has been attending town hall meetings for many years. He said the personal vendettas the board members and the mayor have for one another needed to be put aside for the sake of progress.

“We need to get back on track and get along with each other,” he said. “It wouldn’t be hard to sit down with the mayor to bury the hatchet and move Maggie forward.”

If elected, his top three goals would be to unify the board, pave all the roads in Maggie Valley that need it and increase tourism in the town. In his opinion, the town should maintain the roads that it takes over whether they are up to standards or not because they are paying taxes.

According to Hurley, he has counted more than 30 closed or “for sale” signs on buildings along Soco Road.

“This hurts real estate and property values dive,” he said. “We have to get businesses down here.”

He said lowering the town’s appearance standards might encourage business owners to make renovations and upgrades to their buildings, which would improve the town’s curb appeal. Lowering or suspending impact fees would also save business owners some money if they want to expand.

“The town has to be behind someone to bring in tourism. We have to work with the TDA because the town was nothing like this three years ago when I bought my restaurant.”

One idea he has was to install an ice rink behind town hall to attract more winter guests. He has done the research on having a company set up a temporary synthetic rink that would fit 300 skaters. It would cost $150,000 to set it up and includes music and skates as well.

The Moving Maggie Forward plan was developed earlier this year with the goal of improving tourism and the overall economy. Hurley said the plan was a great concept but it had “hit a brick wall.” He said the board should be involved in implementing the recommendations in the plan instead of it all falling on the chamber of commerce.

Hurley said the board members needed to be more involved and be held accountable for town departments by having each member and the mayor assigned to oversee a certain department.

“They should go to the meetings and give an update at the board meeting,” he said.

On the other hand, Hurley said not every little issue should come before the board. He hopes a new town manager will do a better job of solving problems before they reach the board. To make the meetings go more smoothly, Hurley said public comment should be limited to three minutes and agenda items should be limited to five minutes for comments.

Hurley promised to go over the budget “with a fine-toothed comb” to look for savings for the taxpayers.

“I think the police department guys are great, but I think their budget is way out of line,” he said, adding that EMS, fire and police protection were the most important services the town provides.

As a professional businessman for many years, Hurley said he would be able to cooperate with everyone if elected to the board. He said he refused to fight with anyone on the board.

“People need to look the word professionalism up and practice it,” he said. “There’s a few (on the board) that have no finesse on how to talk to citizens in Maggie Valley and how to talk to each other. I can get my point across without yelling or making faces.”

Over the years he and his wife, Julie, have fostered 150 children and adopted five children. He has worked with two South Carolina governors to help improve adoption procedures. He was in charge of a committee made up of experts, senators and representatives. With that type of experience under his belt, he feels confident he can make a good leader in Maggie.