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With seven candidates vying for three open seats, the Maiden Town Council race is competitive this year.
Both familiar and new names line the 2011 ballot, and candidates say increasing jobs and industry in the town will be key issues to address.
Early voting for the Maiden council race â€“ and all municipal elections â€“ begins Thursday at the Newton Main Library.
All three incumbents are running for re-election on the Maiden council. They are challenged by four candidates who offer varying degrees of public-office experience.
David Boldon, Max Bumgarner Jr. and Howard Ervin are the current Maiden councilmen in the race.
â€śJobs and industry are the biggest things that we are facing right now,â€ť Boldon said. â€śWeâ€™re one of the few towns that have had a net gain in jobs. Weâ€™ve had several prominent industries come in, and weâ€™ve seen some expansion.â€ť
Maiden approved a one-cent tax break this year after recent investments in the town brought increased revenue. The new tax rate of 39 cents per $100 of valuation is the lowest municipal tax rate in Catawba County and will save residents about $80,000 in total, said Maiden Town Manager Todd Herms.
â€śIâ€™m going to run on my record,â€ť Boldon said. â€śIâ€™ve never voted for a tax increase and have always voted to be the best I can.â€ť
Ervin declined to comment about the election. Bumgarner could not be reached for comment before press time.
The Maiden candidate list also includes George McClellan, who served four years ago on Maiden Town Council. He is running again after a short absence because he feels he can still contribute to the town.
McClellan said the economy is the main issue to be addressed.
â€śIâ€™ve been on the council before, and maybe I have a little something that I had to contribute to the discussion of the council,â€ť McClellan said earlier this year.
The former councilman said he still keeps up with town activities through sharing breakfast and talking with townspeople he served with.
Candidate Mike Moore has also served on Maidenâ€™s council before, serving from 2007-09. He said Maiden needs to focus on maintaining the businesses that have flocked to the town recently.
He also said focuses on infrastructure and accountability are necessities for the future.
â€śWe need infrastructure improvements,â€ť Moore said. â€śIt needs to be looked at long and hard. You move into a place and get into a place and a waterline breaks. Business through town and U.S. 321 is in terrible shape. We can get it patched, but it seems like we canâ€™t get it paved.â€ť
William (Bill) Cashion is running for councilman for the first time. He said his background is in technology and computers, and he feels he can contribute his voice to the town during a tough economic time.
â€śWe need to bring more industry and even some small businesses,â€ť Cashion said. â€śWe have them come, but then they go so rapidly and we need to do something to stabilize that.â€ť
Wayne McKinney is also running for a council seat. McKinney could not be reached before press time.