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FLETCHER Q&A: Whiteside challenges Mayor Moore

Fletcher Mayor Bill Moore and challenger Rod Whiteside. Fletcher Mayor Bill Moore and challenger Rod Whiteside.

FLETCHER — In Fletcher, Rod Whiteside, 44, who works in risk management and serves as an interim pastor, is challenging Bill Moore, 73, a retired car salesman who is seeking a fifth term as mayor.

Why are you running for election to the Fletcher Town Council?

Moore: It is because I care about Fletcher and the future of the town and especially our children. As I have said before the best thing that has ever happened to Fletcher is the Incorporation in 1989. This community has come together and realized that if we work together we can accomplish great things. I have seen our town increase in population from 2,000 to over 8,000 and we will continue to grow. The reason we have been successful is for the people I have around me with our Town Council, Town Manager and all the other departments in the town. It has been an honor and a privilege to serve as mayor in Fletcher.

Whiteside: Sixty-percent of the residents of Fletcher are my age or younger, but 100-percent of the current Town Council, including the mayor, is older than that. I happen to believe that government should be reflective of the residents. Fletcher government is not. Mayor Moore has served for 17 years. It’s time for a fresh perspective for Fletcher that is representative of the majority of the residents. In addition, I believe in service to my community. I am not running for Mayor because I’m bored. I’m running for Mayor because I believe in the people and the process.

What ideas to you have for implementing the Heart of Fletcher and what would you to attract more in-town retail, commercial use and residential development?

Whiteside: The main priority is reaching out to corporate/business entities to create partnerships that are necessary to move the project forward. This is not a project the Town can complete solo. Securing a business (or several) up front to serve as the anchor for the mixed-use development would make the residential piece more appealing to prospective residents.

Moore: We are blessed to have over 50 acres of property of what is called the Heart of Fletcher and we made the right decision to build our new town hall in to show our commitment to the project. If town council and our citizens just wanted to have residential use then we would have already built that out but we wanted more. Developers have told us that we need more roof tops in the Heart of Fletcher to make retail happen. For the last several years we have tried to direct growth to our downtown area and the Hwy 25 corridor project will play a huge role in the development of this area. When we built our new town hall we made a commitment to our citizens to develop the Heart of Fletcher and we will continue to honor that commitment.

Town residents are rallying support for a new library in Fletcher. Do you support that effort and would you be willing to fund it from the town budget?

Moore: For the past several years we have been working with the county on a new library in Fletcher. A library is not something that is funded by the town, with that being said we will continue to have dialogue with the county. A group known as the New Fletcher Library Partners (NFLP) has been working to keep this moving forward. As mayor and town council we will continue to support this group. The town of Fletcher has offered up to 5 acres of property in the Heart of Fletcher for this new library. The Fletcher Library branch is the second most used library in the county and has outgrown their current location. As mayor and council we are willing to have discussion on ways to fund a new library however, I cannot ask Fletcher residents to totally fund a new library in Fletcher that says Henderson County Library. We will keep the door open and continue to have dialogue.

Whiteside: Yes, I wholeheartedly support the construction of a new library in Fletcher. The Town of Fletcher has already earmarked five acres of land for the future library. I support that allocation. I’m in favor of pursuing funds from Henderson County for the construction since the library would be a branch of the Henderson County system. I understand the current position the County has taken on the issue, but reasonable minds all likely agree that a Henderson County library should be funded by Henderson County dollars. I am agreeable to the Town of Fletcher contributing to the construction, but I do not believe the full cost should rest on the shoulders of Fletcher.

What other priorities do you have for the town of Fletcher?

Whiteside: I have heard from residents that Fletcher government seems distant and non-responsive. I would like to improve communications between the government and the residents. One way to do that is by being more accessible to the residents. As mayor, I would continue the meet-and-greet concept that is used during campaigns. Just because you get elected doesn’t mean you stop listening to the voters. I would also like to establish a monthly student recognition program. The Town would recognize elementary students at council meetings. The parents would learn about the Town business while attending the council meetings for the recognition program and students would get some much deserved attention.

Moore: Managing our budget and continuing to use our resources wisely will always be a top priority. We currently have a $6.6 million budget. In a recent study 80 percent of the people who live in Fletcher own their home and 99.8 percent pay their taxes on time. This is a good formula for moving forward in Fletcher. Having quality law enforcement and continuing to be a leader in Parks & Recreation and providing services for our citizens our also top priorities for me. I will also continue to work with local industry and small business people in Fletcher to insure good paying jobs for our citizens which is the back bone of our community. We want to continue to provide quality education and training as well. If we continue to work together and listen to our citizens the future is bright for the Town of Fletcher.