Recap of “Meet the Candidates” Night at Town Hall Meeting

Candidates at Mint Hill Town Hall.
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The Mint Hill Women’s Club and League of Women’s Voters sponsored a meeting on Tuesday night October 24th at the Mint Hill Town Hall for citizens to meet and hear the candidates views and positions on some important challenges facing our community.

The Town of Mint Hill will be electing 4 members to the Board of Commissioners to represent our community on election day Tuesday, November 7th.  We encourage all interested citizens to participate in the voting process and come out to vote.

This is an important local election because the town is growing and we need strong leadership with a solid vision for today and into the future.

Therefore, the following candidates will be on the ballot and we have captured remarks from the meeting and separate interviews.

Board of Commissioners, Town of Mint Hill

Lloyd Austin:

Austin has lived in Mint Hill for 43 years.  He attends Hickory Grove Baptist Church, is a veteran, a Shriner, member of the Lion’s Club and a past President.  He mostly wants to maintain a small town atmosphere while supporting our local business entities.  He believes in controlled growth which takes good planning and proper zoning.

He is committed to having quality growth within the community for the long haul.  The town could use some additional tax revenue from business and quality residential real estate developments, not quantity.  He also supports water and sewers to all Mint Hill residents.   Austin has worked with other elected officials and town staff over the years and wants to keep the high density area only within our downtown.  He wants to preserve the natural beauty of Mint Hill neighborhoods so that our town does not get overcrowded like many other towns.  His preference is to keep taxes low while protecting property values.  “My availability to citizens to help with their concerns is of the utmost importance.” said Austin recently.

Mike Cochrane:

Mike has lived his entire life in Mint Hill since 1952.  He recently retired from the banking industry locally in Mint Hill for 38 years.  He is an Army veteran, active Board member on the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce, was a Board member of the Levine Senior Center, Mint Hill Lion’s Club member, Mint Hill Planning Board and is a man who lives his life through faith which plays an important role in his life and character.

Mike, would like to keep Mint Hill with a small town feeling, however, growth will continue and it will need to be managed in a smart way that benefits the town, community and our citizens.  He will always seek a fair and best outcome for the Town of Mint Hill and wants to make a difference to help craft the communities future.  He favors low taxes and wants to improve property values.  He wants to apply his experience as a banker within the community for years to assist local business owners and impact controlled growth in a well managed environment.

Dale Dalton:

Dale is seeking re-election and comes from a small town in Tennessee.  He is active in the Mint Hill Historical Society, a member of the Lion’s Club, Officer of Mint Hill Masons Lodge and attends Hickory Grove Baptist Church.  He is a people oriented individual where building relationships is important and he gains personal satisfaction in community service.

The issues that are important to Dale are Safety and Security of Mint Hill citizens and business owners.  “Our Police, Fire, EMS/Rescue professionals and volunteers provide a fantastic service for our community,” said Dale.  Parks and Recreation is important for a growing community and the quality of life.  He would like to obtain more awnings at Veterans Park in the Children’s playground area and would like to see more community involvement at the Town Hall meetings.  Being involved as a public servant as a Commissioner has shown Dale that a single citizen can make a difference, especially in a small town like Mint Hill.  Having real leadership, integrity and solid experience are what makes positive things happen in a town our size in Dale’s view.

Richard “Fig” Newton:

Richard is also seeking re-election as he has served on the Board of Commissioners for several terms.  He has a vast amount of experience in dealing with key issues that can impact the Town of Mint Hill.  He supports keeping taxes low, Mint Hill Historical Society, Mint Hill and Idlewild Fire department, Mint Hill Police, water and sewer extensions, building more sidewalks, veterans groups, in favor of controlled and well planned growth, Mint Hill Athletic Association and always making himself available to the citizens of the community.

He wants to keep the small town environment in tact, enforce and comply with the ordinances as currently written, not in favor of wasteful spending, treat all citizens fairly and with respect, views himself as good compromiser, negotiator and communicator.  He believes in being truthful, providing leadership and keeping his integrity.  In all his decision making he always strives to put the citizens of Mint Hill first.

Katrina “Tina” Ross:

Tina is an independent thinker who thrives on being honest, setting high standards which include integrity and being responsive to the citizens of Mint Hill.  The Safety and Security of Mint Hill residence is her highest priority.  “Our Police, Fire, EMS departments are essential to the high quality of life we enjoy in Mint Hill,” said Tina recently.  She would like the voters to know her dedication, experience, and commitment to excellence is paramount in being a public servant.

She is seeking re-election and wants to continue to make a difference in the community while being fair and responsive to the citizens of Mint Hill.  Tina sees her role as the voice of the people.  Tina believes that there should be more involvement, communications and cooperation with neighboring towns on different projects and synergies that could favorably impact our communities.  She would like to see another park or upgrades to our current two park locations.  Having more citizen involvement at Town Hall meetings would be a huge impact in getting a better understanding of concerns and obtaining new innovative ideas.  She favors attracting more business entities into the town to support and build up the tax base, however, she is not in favor of the big box stores.  Her vision would be a vibrant downtown similar to Belmont and West Jefferson, North Carolina as an example.

Note:  Alonzo Grier and Eric Random were not in attendance and will be on the ballot.

Also, at the meeting was Sean Strain who is running for Board of Education District 6.  He is a parent of four CMS students.  He is a School Leadership Team member at Crestdale Middle School and the cofounder of a community educational foundation.

Sean believes all students, in every zip code, deserves an excellent education close to home.  He supports the CMS mission, which is to maximize academic achievement for all students in every school.

His top priorities if elected as your School Board Representative include the following key areas, strong schools to serve the specific needs of every neighborhood, an exemplary principal, excellent teachers in every classroom and a robust menu of educational options to meet the academic needs, talents and interests of our students.

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Ed Berti
Ed is retired and remains active as a freelance writer, local journalist and independent contractor. He is engaged in print and electronic media writing stories covering business, sports, hometown news and veteran's affairs including articles of interest to various media outlets. Ed is a graduate of Wagner College where he earned an MBA and holds a BBA from Pace University.
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