Sides files to retain his seat as commissioner

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 15, 2014

Rowan County Board of Commissioners Chairman Jim Sides was one of the first elected officials to walk through the doors of the elections office Monday and file to retain his seat.
Sides, 65, is a staunch Republican who served three terms on the board since 1980.
In a prepared statement, Sides said he promises not to allow his campaign to interfere in any way with his duties to the county’s residents as he finishes out his four-year term.
If re-elected, Sides said he will continue to fight against all special interest groups who subvert government for their own personal gain.
“I will continue to fight to allow the Rowan County Board of Commissioners to pray before our meetings for heavenly guidance in decisions affecting (the county’s residents),” in a prepared statement. “We need leaders in Rowan County who have a personal faith in God that leads and guides them as they serve.”
Keeping taxes as low as possible also is of utmost concern, Sides said, as well as repairing and improving relationships with the local school board.
“I have never voted for a tax increase in the past because Rowan County has always been able to meet its needs without one,” Sides said. “This year may be different.”
If there is a tax increase this year, Sides said he will work to identify every way to keep it at a bare minimum.
“I will not vote to give (the school board and system) everything they demand when it comes to funding capital expense or current expense,” Sides said. “I will work with them to identify ways that we can improve the educational system within Rowan County at a minimal cost to the citizens.”
Working with County Manager Gary Page and all commissioners to develop a master plan for using the old Salisbury Mall, or West End Plaza, will be another goal Sides will pursue if elected.
The mall ultimately will save the county’s taxpayers millions of dollars when compared to the cost of new capital construction, Sides said.
“It simply will not result in the massive tax increases for retrofitting that you have heard rumored, as improvements will only be made as needed,” Sides said.
Sides also plans to work to improve facilities at the Rowan County Airport, which he said is the greatest economic development tool at the county’s disposal.
“I feel that I have always been honest and up front with the citizens who elected me to represent them,” Sides said. “I have made the tough decisions when they had to be made. I have willingly accepted the personal criticism that often comes with the job.”
Sides said he has served on various boards and committees as dictated by his position as county commissioner.
As of Friday evening, Sides has four candidates challenging him for seats on the Rowan County Board of Commissioners — David Roueche, Judy Klusman, Gregory Edds and Brandon Cupp.