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Franks endorses Stephens in mayoral race

Mayoral candidate Steve Franks makes a point during a campaign forum. Mayoral candidate Steve Franks makes a point during a campaign forum.

Retired District Court Judge Steve Franks, who placed third in the Oct. 8 primary, endorsed runnerup Ron Stephens over Mayor Barbara Volk.


"œI believe it is time for a change in the Office of Mayor, and Ron Stephens and I are in agreement on most of the important issues facing our City," he said in a news release. "We might differ in our approach to solving each problem, but we agree on what the outcome should be."

Volk won the primary with 45.7 percent of the vote followed by Stephens with 35 percent and Franks with 19.2 percent. Volk, the first woman to be elected mayor of Hendersonville, faces Stephens in the Nov. 5 election.

Franks said in a news release that he agreed with Stephens on the need for "stronger leadership in the area of fiscal management," citing better oversight of contacts to avoid cost overruns and delays.
"Basically, we agree that we want to keep taxes as low as is reasonably possible, and we'd do that by spending more responsibly," Franks said in the news release. "And, while we would work hard for the proposed renovations at Berkeley Park, we both disapprove of funding them by a bond issue, because that would certainly cause a substantial tax increase."

Other areas of agreement, Franks statement said, include "strong support for redevelopment of the Historic 7th Avenue district; strengthening the City'€™s ordinance concerning dogs on chains; working closely with Norfolk and Southern Railroad to complete the hiking and biking trail known as the Ecusta Trail; and addressing the problem of parking in Downtown Hendersonville by increasing available spaces where possible and providing signage to identify and direct drivers to available parking."

Franks did not mention in the news release one area where he and Stephens had sharply disagreed. Franks endorsed using a state law allowing for revenue bonds to redevelopment Seventh Avenue. Stephens responded that Franks' version of urban renewal would demolish historic buildings.