Taylor seeks alderman post
When it comes to leadership, Roy Taylor believes his experience as an entrepreneur and employee with the town of Canton sets him apart from the rest of the competition in the race for alderman.
"I think Canton needs a breath of fresh air on the board of aldermen," Taylor said.
Taylor owned Twin Barber Style in Candler for 13 years. He is retired from law enforcement after 30 years as an investigator/inspector with the DMV License and Theft Bureau and has been employed with the Canton Police Department for the last four years as a part-time police officer. He's also a retired Army veteran.
“I think it’s important for people to know that I’m probably the only candidate running that has any time being self employed in the business world,” he said. “For those 13 years I learned how to please people and how to treat people.”
Economic growth is the top issue in Taylor’s campaign for alderman.
“That’s always been the number one issue for every candidate that’s ever applied for the position of alderman, but it appears that it’s always been on the back burner,” he said.
One area he wants to see developed is Champion Drive.
“If I were elected I would urge the aldermen and the mayor to contact big companies like Cabela’s and Olive Garden,” he said. “People need a reason to get off the Interstate. We need to give them a reason to get off and want to come to our town.”
As a board member, Taylor said he would encourage store owners in the downtown area to make more of an effort to promote their businesses.
“We have to find a way to incorporate both the town and the business owners. We have one goal and that’s to make the town successful,” he said.
Marketing the town better will be another focus of Taylor’s in an effort to see those areas developed. He believes marketing and promoting the town as a whole should be a part of a town employee’s job description.
“I don’t think we need to hire anybody else. I think we’ve got capable people that can do that job rather than adding another salary and tax burden to the town of Canton would be necessary,” he said.
He said the responsibility of recruiting more ball tournaments and promoting the International Sports Complex in Beaverdam should fall on the town’s recreation director.
He also wants to work with local hotel owners to give discounts to players and their families when they come to town for tournaments in order to keep them in Canton.
When it comes to the idea of raising the county’s occupancy tax to help fund recreational opportunities, Taylor said he needs more information before forming an opinion.
“Who gets the majority of the money? Is it going to be shared equally in all the towns? If I knew Canton was going to get their fair share of that, I would go along with it,” he said.
Taylor would like to give children more opportunities at the recreation park, such as building a small skateboard park near the basketball goals. Currently, skateboarding in the rec park is against town ordinance.
“If I’m a new family in town and my first experience with the town is the police department taking a skateboard away from my child, I’m going to second guess why I moved to Canton,” he said. “There needs to be a place for kids to ride their skateboards.”
Taylor would like to work with the board to make a decision about what to do with the deteriorating swimming pool.
“For the last four years the town of Canton has put $200,000 into the swimming pool and it’s not fixed. That, in my opinion, is a real problem. Why have we put $200,000 into something that isn’t even close to being fixed?” he said.
Instead, he said the board should explore private funding and grants to find money to fund building a water park or other type of water recreation.
“You can’t put all the burden on the town because it's used by the whole county and Buncombe County. The Town of Canton doesn’t have that kind of money. We need to be proactive, not reactive, in everything we do,” he said.
He would like to see Canton succeed in the legal battle for Camp Hope, but he believes eventually the board must stop using taxpayer money to fund the legal fees without help.
“I’m for Camp Hope if we don’t have to continue sinking money in it for years to come. I don’t think the town needs to be involved in any lawsuit at all,” he said.
Because Camp Hope is available for the entire county’s use, he said he’d like to work with county leaders to seek more funding.
Taylor said he is in favor of the referendum on staggered terms, which will be on the ballot in November. But he questioned why all the board members voted in favor of it and then bowed out of the race for alderman.
“They felt like it was very important for the Town of Canton. If it was that important, why did none of them run again? You’d think that one of them would have said, ‘I’m just going to stay,'” he said.
Taylor said if he is elected, he will think for himself and base his decisions with the taxpayers in mind.
“I don’t have a vendetta. I don’t have a certain group that I’m going to cater to. I’m not going to be involved with any negative actions as a board member. I’m not going to vote yes on everything and I’m not going to vote no on everything. I want to make sure my vote makes the town a better place when I leave," he said.