Newsoms supervisor hopefuls debate again

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 28, 2007

NEWSOMS—Three candidates vying for the Newsoms District seat on Southampton’s Board of Supervisors took one more opportunity this week to speak directly to their potential constituents in an organized forum.

Incumbent Walt Brown and challengers Bert Blythe and Glenn Updike spent nearly two hours answering questions from a group of about 25 supporters and residents of the Newsoms District Tuesday at the Newsoms Community Building.

In the second and final of the meet-the-candidates events organized by the Newsoms Ruritan Club’s Patriotism Committee, discussion ranged from taxes to solid waste and touched on illegal immigration, economic development and emergency services along the way.

Following is a synopsis of the candidates’ positions on the various issues that were raised in the two forums. Direct quotes are used whenever possible, and the candidates are listed in alphabetical order.

On Taxes and the County Budget

Blythe: &uot;I’m going to do everything I can to cut the budget.&uot;

&uot;I would like to see a tax system where everybody pays, not just a few.&uot;

&uot;You need a ‘No-man,’ instead of all ‘yes-people.’&uot;

Brown: &uot;I want to try to keep taxes low.&uot;

&uot;You have to think what is going to be best for the children in our county.&uot;

&uot;You have to look at trade-offs.&uot;

Updike: &uot;Spending is going haywire. We’ve got to look at the tax rates.&uot;

&uot;We do not have the money or the borrowing capacity to meet all these wish lists.&uot;

&uot;We need to take care of citizens’ needs now, before we start looking to the future.&uot;

Solid Waste

Blythe: &uot;I would go with whoever gave us the best deal&uot; for disposal costs.

Brown: &uot;It is fortunate for us that we have the monitored refuse collection sites&uot; to help reduce the amount of trash sent to the regional landfill.

&uot;What SPSA (the Southeastern Public Service Authority) is doing will reduce tipping fees.

Updike: &uot;Flow control limits free enterprise.&uot;

&uot;We have our hands tied (with SPSA) until 2018. We need to start now looking at alternatives.&uot;

On Economic Development

Blythe: &uot;I agree that there should be some type of economic development, but not one that is expensive to the taxpayers of this county.&uot;

&uot;I don’t feel like it is the duty of the taxpayers in Southampton County to furnish anybody with a job.&uot;

Brown: &uot;We must find a means by which we can raise additional tax revenue besides property taxes.&uot;

&uot;You can’t have a growing industrial base if you don’t have what’s called a product,&uot; such as the Turner Tract, purchased by the Industrial Development Authority recently.

Updike: &uot;We’ve got to put some restrictions on developers. We’ve got to put restrictions on how we’re giving away public money.&uot;

&uot;Businesses (attracted by economic development incentives) have got to be able to generate enough revenue to pay for our investment.&uot;

On Emergency Services

Blythe: Would get fire and rescue additional money &uot;by curtailing expenses on other things.&uot;


&uot;Piano-key development taxes our services,&uot; so it should continue to be curtailed.

&uot;I am totally in support of (tax and other) incentives&uot; for first responders.

Updike: &uot;Volunteers for the county do not get the recognition they should be getting.&uot;

&uot;Volunteers do a heck of a lot better job than anybody we’re going to hire.&uot;

On Newsoms District Influence

Blythe: &uot;I don’t expect to have any influence on that board, but I do intend to bring up things that (the other supervisors) should hear.&uot;

Brown: &uot;I am very verbal, and I have had a lot of influence&uot; as the Newsoms District supervisors since 2004.

Updike: &uot;I am one of the critics of the board, and people say ‘Thank you for running.’ Our district is going to carry tremendous influence.&uot;