• 54°

Burgin won’t run again, exploring other service options

By Mark Wineka
mwineka@salisburypost.com
Don’t expect Bill Burgin to sit on the sidelines very long.
The veteran Salisbury city councilman, who has decided not to seek a seventh term, said last week he doesn’t necessarily think he’s finished with public office.
“I would think there is some other service I could do,” Burgin said, “and I will explore the possibilities.
“I do enjoy it, and I think I have a certain amount of skill and background in public service and local government.”
Before he was a city councilman, Burgin served on the Rowan-Salisbury Board of Education and the Salisbury Planning Board.
In deciding not to seek another council term, Burgin said he considered 12 years and six elections “a pretty good commitment.”
Burgin approached his decision not to run in terms of a relay race, and this year seemed like a good time to hand off the baton to someone else.
For him to step down now and still leave the possibility of four incumbents being re-elected helps make a transition easier, Burgin said. It’s better than maybe having five council members leave all at once, he said, though that always is a possibility with the electorate.
Burgin’s decision not to run has prompted strong interest among possible candidates for the council.
“I know there are good people out there interested,” Burgin said. “… It should make for an interesting race this year.”
On council, Burgin especially wanted to see through the writing and implementation of a new Land Development Ordinance, which has had more than a year to take root. Burgin, an architect, played a lead role in its writing, a total replacement for the city’s long outdated zoning ordinance.
But Burgin said he also has been proud to be part of all the council’s “people projects” ó efforts at improving human relations, the arts and the city’s overall cultural development.
He said he was proud of the current council’s decision to go with a fiber-optic cable utility.
“If I felt it was a risk, I would run again, but it’s going to happen and its value will be proven over time,” Burgin said.
The city’s water-sewer utility is a much stronger resource for the city than it was when he joined council, Burgin said, and he predicted it will be another important tool in bringing jobs and development.
Burgin also liked the effort to change the culture among city employees to create an emphasis first on customer service.
Burgin acknowledged that his architectural firm probably lost out on some business over his 12 years because it could not bid on city-related projects. But he knew that going in, he said, and it really was not a factor in his decision not to run.
“That was just part of what it took,” he added.
Burgin had encouraging words for new council candidates, if they are fortunate to win in November’s election.
“It is a great experience, and they will enjoy it,” he said.

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