PILOT MOUNTAIN — Only three days remain for four candidates to reach voters as they vie for two at-large seats on the Pilot Mountain Board of Commissioners.
Evan Cockerham, Mary Nunn Meijboom and Franklin Nichols and incumbent Commissioner Kim Quinn are each hoping to be one of two top vote-getters in the general election.
Quinn, 40, is a certified public accountant and has served on the town board since being appointed in 2014. Thus, Tuesday will be Quinn’s first appearance on the ballot.
Quinn has been a voice for fiscal restraint on the town board. She said the town will face many issues throughout the course of the next four years.
“Infrastructure is a huge concern for me,” said Quinn, citing aging water and sewer systems, issues at the town’s wastewater treatment plant and even exposed pipes on Lola Lane.
“The town lacks a capital-improvement plan that addresses all of these needs,” said Quinn.
Quinn said other projects need attention too. The town must find a way to market the Pilot Center in order to pay the bills there. To date, the town has been unable to make payments to Surry County after assuming ownership of the facility a number of years ago.
She also noted the town is in the middle of a greenway project and stated many in the community were concerned about a lack of transparency regarding the project.
Quinn said she has what it takes to address issues Pilot Mountain faces and to build public confidence in the board.
“I’m approachable, transparent and dedicated,” said Quinn. “I also always look at the long- and short-term effects of any decision I make.”
Tuesday will be Cockerham’s first voyage into politics. He is employed at his family’s business, P.C. Medic Computers, in Mount Airy.
“We have a lot of issues for such a small town,” said Cockerham, citing many of the concerns Quinn raised.
Cockerham, 30, also noted those concerns have effects on the economy in the small town.
“I think we get passed over by businesses because we haven’t prioritized our infrastructure needs,” explained Cockerham. “We have spent no money besides Powell (Bill) monies — which must be allocated to streets and sidewalks — on improvements to our roads in recent budgets.”
Cockerham said the town must invest in streets, sidewalks, water and sewer projects to make itself marketable when a company looks at setting up shop in Surry County.
As for why he deserves a shot at a term on the board, Cockerham cites his youth.
“I have nothing to gain on the board other than to serve my community,” said Cockerham, before explaining he had no business dealings which are affected by the town board.
“We need more young people who are willing to serve and take ownership in our community.”
Meijboom, 67, moved to Pilot Mountain in 1988 after being impressed by the beauty of the town and the surrounding area. She owns and operates Nunn Memorials Inc.
She said her number one concern also relates to the town’s public water system.
“I think the board is getting that under control,” explained Meijboom, noting some improvements are underway.
“With the recent increase in water rates, the town has been able to address many of those issues,” added Meijboom.
She also said attracting industry and new jobs to Pilot Mountain will be a key element in the town’s future success, and as a commissioner her door will always be open to anybody she represents.
“People want somebody they can talk to,” said Meijboom. “It means a lot for people to have somebody who will listen about the problems and issues they face.”
“I will always listen.”
At a September candidates forum, Nichols, who moved to Pilot Mountain shortly after the turn of the century, said he believes the town has overcome many of its problems. The town now has reserve funds, and water and sewer funds are running in the black.
Nichols, 50, said he is ready to take on the job of town commissioner in order to help the town grow. The board can’t tax and spend its way out of issues or it will drive companies and residents out of Pilot. He said he has spearheaded developments in town.
Nichols said at the forum that he is ready to battle any challenges the town faces throughout the course of the next four years.
Nichols could not be reached for comment on Friday.
Andy is a staff writer and may be reached at 415-4698.