Meadows focuses on fairness
Charlie Meadows said he is running for the two-year unexpired term on the Maggie Valley Board of Aldermen because he wants to be a part of moving the town forward.
“I feel that I could do a good job on the board making decisions for the best interest of Maggie Valley taxpayers,” he said.
Meadows runs three local businesses — Charlie’s Wing House, Sweet Briar Motel and Lucky Jake’s Bar. He said his experience managing three businesses and staying within a budget would be beneficial in this position. While there have been rumors that Charlie's is behind in rent and may close down, Meadows said all his businesses are doing well and growing.
He said he recently opened Lucky Jake's to keep another building from sitting empty and to give the residents of Maggie Valley some more night life options. However, he said for the right price, all his businesses are for sale.
Meadows said a board member’s role includes making decisions in the best interest of all citizens, having leadership skills, the ability to compromise and to work together.
“I would listen to each taxpayer and make a decision in the best interest of the town regardless of whether they voted for me or not,” he said.
If elected, Meadows said his top three goals would be to work to implement the Move Maggie Forward plan, analyze the budget to look for savings and make sure all the residents have the same rights as the business owners in Maggie.
The Move Maggie Forward plan is a framework for the business community to implement with the goal of improving the local economy, which relies heavily on tourism. Meadows said he thinks the board should look at the plan and decide who should implement it whether it is the chamber of commerce or a newly developed committee.
“The board of aldermen should interview each party to see who would do the best with the plan,” he said.
As for the budget, Meadows said the board members should get a copy of the proposed budget several months in advance to give them enough time to review and understand each line item. He would also like to form a finance committee and have the committee of experts make recommendations to the board before the board votes on a final budget.
“It should be a professional group of people to find unnecessary spending or to say more money should be allocated to a certain part,” he said. “They would be there for the board to ask questions to clarify and to make sure each board member knows what the budget contains line by line.”
Meadows said business owners seem to get more services from the town than the residents do. For example, he said every month residents comes before the board begging for their road to be fixed or to ask that a street light be put back in operation. Many residents have expressed frustration because they claim they were forced to annex into the town but aren’t provided proper services.
“When previous boards annexed those people, they knew the roads didn’t meet standards,” Meadows said. “They shouldn’t have annexed them if they can’t provide the services. It’s not fair to those taxpayers.”
If a town road is too dangerous for town employees to maintain or to plow snow, Meadows said the project needed to be subcontracted out to someone who could do it.
In the last year years, Meadows said he had only missed two town hall meetings. He also serves on the parks/recreation and festival grounds committee. Those experiences have made him very aware of all the issues facing the board and the town.
“I feel there is a lack of communication, especially when members cant come to a conclusion about filling an empty seat,” he said. “I’d like to put all the differences aside. We can disagree but we can compromise instead of saying no.”
Meadows said it only hurt the people of Maggie Valley when the board couldn’t agree on important decisions. He has gotten entangled in some of the dysfunction at town hall recently after trying to promote a concert at the festival grounds.
The town fronted the expenses for the show and Meadows signed a contract stating he would reimburse the town for any expenses not recouped from ticket and alcohol sales. The show was rained out and ended up losing more money than expected.
Now Meadows owes about $11,000 to the town. Meadows said he plans to dispute some of the charges in court because money was spent on advertising before he signed the contract.
When asked if he thought the issue would hinder his chances of getting elected, he said he didn’t think it would because he thinks residents know it wasn’t his fault.
“There’s a part I am paying that was agreed upon and some things will be handled in court,” he said. “I ask the taxpayers to set that aside until the whole truth has come out.”