Bost or Nelson? Voters decide Tuesday

Published 12:00 am Thursday, October 31, 2013

While John Bost pursues his fourth term as mayor of Clemmons in Tuesday’s 2013 Municipal Election, Nick Nelson seeks the office for the first time after being elected to the Village Council in his first attempt two years ago.

Bost nearly was ousted by a write-in campaign in the 2011 election but claimed a narrow vicsues,

traffic congestion and speeding in our neighborhoods. Those issues impact our citizens every day.

What about your long-term vision for Clemmons and what needs to be done?

Bost: We have to expand our tax base, if we are to keep taxes low and services high. That will mean investment in infrastructure as well as public/private partnerships that are responsive to the market forces, not just personal preference. We have fallen behind in our competitive position regionally, while others have been more prudent in their community investments. Fortunately we have a very healthy fund balance and the ability to invest; we only lack the political will as a community. This election could very well recover that competitive position and assure that we continue a vibrant and attractive community.

Nelson: Longer term, I want to make certain that whatever policies we might evaluate and adopt, that we put the needs of our homeowners and our small business people first. One of the main reasons the Village remains so attractive is our geographical position to Winston-Salem, yet we have been able to remain a neighborhood community. Our Village will continue to grow, but I want to make sure that the things that make us special are preserved. That cannot be compromised.

How do you propose to grow infrastructure needs and maintain/improve services and still be fiscally responsible?

Bost: Fiscal responsibility is not solely about low taxes, but efficient service delivery and timely investments in a community’s tax base. One of the most efficient municipalities in the state, Clemmons’s dilemma is more about lost opportunities by those who, perhaps well-meaning, have attempted to control market forces by political means. L-C’s traffic congestion and storm water challenges may have just cost us a long sought after national restaurateur. Village Point is critical to revenues for redevelopment south of I-40; Idols Road perhaps a remedy to reducing congestion on L-C; and Blanket Bottom an opportunity for voluntary annexation once sewered.

Nelson: We have a Comprehensive Plan in place to guide our future growth, and we’ve achieved 70 percent of its goals. But let’s remember that the Comprehensive Plan is a set of guidelines, it’s not an edict and should be fluid. It was developed several years ago and as mayor I want to make sure that how we approach it over the coming years evolves with the needs of Clemmons. If we’ve learned anything by observing Washington, it’s that you can’t set a plan in stone in 2010 and then put it on autopilot. That’s a recipe for disaster. Plans have to be flexible to meet the changing needs and desires of the people they serve. As mayor, I’ll make sure that’s always the case here in Clemmons.

Let me give you just one example. I recently read that one of the candidates

for council proposed bringing “industry” to Clemmons. Comprehensive Plan or not, that’s not what I’m hearing today from the citizens of Clemmons. People live here because they like the bedroom-community feel. If we start adding “industry” to the mix, I believe that would rob us of the neighborhood character provided by our Village. I won’t support Clemmons heading toward that slippery slope.

Finally, I’ve been hearing a lot of insistence by some of the candidates that we must “expand our tax base” — and fast. Let’s be clear about something — “expand our tax base,” means one thing to economists, but to politicians, it’s just code language for “raise your taxes.” As your mayor, I’ll pursue smart, desirable, well-paced growth. If we do that right, revenue to the Village will stay in the plus column.

Why do you think you should be elected mayor of Clemmons?

Bost: I believe we can and should keep improving our town so our home values increase, our kids choose to raise their families here and we all can enjoy a more close-knit, neighborly way of life. Bottom line, I am a seasoned, highly informed public servant, with a strong vision for how to move Clemmons forward in a disciplined, fiscally responsible way.

Nelson: What I want my friends and neighbors in Clemmons to know is that, if they elect me as their mayor they will be electing someone who is: Invested in this community’s future, is fiscally responsible and is dedicated to the proposition that the duty of any elected official is to listen to what the people have to say.

Anything else that you would like to add that you didn’t include in any of the answers above…

Nelson: The upcoming election will give voters a distinct choice between two governing philosophies. The current mayor has been in office for six years. He and I have had a good relationship, but I offer a different framework and vision for how Clemmons should be represented. I’ve spoken to hundreds of voters during this campaign, and I’ve been encouraged by their comments. If voters remember only one thing from my campaign, I hope it’s this — we can achieve smart and desirable growth in Clemmons, and we can do that without incurring higher taxes or debt.