Four vying for two seats on Spindale Town Council
Four candidates are seeking two seats as commissioners for the Town of Spindale.
Incumbents Tommy Hardin and Ed Searcy will be on the ballot for re-election, as will newcomers Brett Hooper and Robin Ensley.
A look at the candidates
Tommy Hardin: Spindale native; graduate of R-S Central High School, graduate of Wofford College and attended Wake Forest and Southeastern; currently retired, former owner and president of Hardin Insurance Services, Inc. and has 52 years of insurance service; serving 31st year on Rutherford Regional Health System Board of Trustees and serves as board secretary and on the executive committee, current chairman of the Broad River Water Authority and has served eight years on Spindale Town Council.
Ed Searcy: Spindale native; graduate of R-S Central High School and attended Isothermal Community College; currently retired and was enlisted in the United States Air Force; served as Rutherford County Sheriff for four years.
Brett Hooper: Spindale native; graduate of R-S Central High School and received an A.A.S. in Criminal Justice Technology; worked seven years with Spindale Police Department as a road officer, road sergeant and investigator and currently serving as Lieutenant of the Criminal Investigation Division and Animal Control Service for the Polk County Sheriff's Office; serves on town's parks and recreation committee and as a Lieutenant with the Spindale Fire Department, volunteers with Therapeutic Ring of Tryon and member of Spencer Baptist Church and Western Star 91 Masonic Lodge.
Robin Ensley: Spindale native; graduate of R-S Central High School and Isothermal Community College; currently working as a tax technician with the Rutherford County Revenue Department; member of county's Relay for Life team and on the administrative council of Spindale Methodist Church.
Why are you seeking a seat on the Town Council?
Tommy Hardin: To see the completion of projects already underway such as the wastewater treatment plant rehabilitation and replacement of as much of the wastewater delivery system as is financially possible. Of course it is primary for Spindale to seek new industry creating new jobs and increasing our tax base at the same time.
Ed Searcy: A lot of things come up, like zoning issues and whether or not we'll have the money to run things, and I think that I could do some more good on the Town Council.
Brett Hooper: I am a life-long resident of Spindale and I want to make a difference in Spindale's future. The town has undergone some setbacks with the 2011 County's Property Revaluation and loss of the Hold Harmless Funds causing a sufficient loss of revenue. I have the desire and ability to help turn the town back in a positive direction for the future of our residents, making it an affordable place to live while offering valuable town services. I want to be part of a council that works hard in a professional manner to reflect the views of the citizens and I will do what is fair and right.
Robin Ensley: I have watched this town for many years and would like to see it as a place that people want to come, live and raise families again. A place that they are proud to call home.
What is the biggest issue facing Spindale?
Tommy Hardin: In years past, industry represented 80 percent of Spindale's tax base and residents and small business created 20 percent. Today it is just opposite. This cannot continue. As I have stated earlier, it is imperative for the town to seek new industry and business. This is our greatest problem.
Ed Searcy: There are several big issues in Spindale right now. We're not just blessed with money at the moment, but it'll come along. For instance we've been doing a lot of work with the sewer pipe replacement in town.
Brett Hooper: Clearly the biggest challenge is the financial health of Spindale. Over the past decade Spindale has lost large amounts of revenue as a result of industries closing or moving from the town for various reasons. Additional income was lost from property taxes due to the county property revaluation in 2011 which was lower than previous years with a median of $34,000, and some homes have only been valued around $500. Also, the town lost around $105,000 when the state's Hold Harmless Funds were cut.
Robin Ensley: Getting value added to our tax base. By improving this then we could work on the taxing situation.
How would you propose to address and resolve this issue?
Tommy Hardin: I wish I could say this is an easy task and that I have the answer, but that is not the case. It is not likely we can secure an industry bringing 500 or 1,000 jobs as we had in the past. It is my opinion we must concentrate on industries bringing 100 jobs or less. Several might equal 500 jobs. Since the town does not have an industrial development department, we must rely on our county industrial development and make ourselves available to assist in any way possible.
Ed Searcy: With the sewer work, we've got to just go in and replace those pipes that have been in there for a long time. We'll have to take other projects and issue one at a time, seeing what kind of money we can get from grants or the state.
Brett Hooper: I would support policies that will benefit Spindale. I will encourage the town to offer Small Business Incentives. Keep tax increases in check and re-evaluate current town operations and find cost-effective solutions to municipal services.
Robin Ensley: It will take work on run-down properties that could be fixed up and occupied. Getting land development that will add to the tax base. And reduction in our crime rate.