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Three in the race for Cleveland Board of Commissioners

CLEVELAND — Two brothers and an incumbent are running for two open spots for Cleveland’s Board of Commissioners.

The commissioners in Cleveland serve four-year terms. Commissioner Mary Frank Fleming-Adkins’ term ended this year and she has decided not to run for re-election. Commissioner John Bradford’s term also ends this year, but he is running for re-election.

Bradford, 61, has the most experience with about 12 years of serving on the board. He said being on the board is the best way to get things done for the town.

As well as keeping the tax base low, Bradford said the most important issue facing Cleveland right now is getting major infrastructure projects finished.

Bradford said it is important for water, sewer and other infrastructure projects to be prepared to serve the community for the next couple of decades.

Bradford also said he hopes the public will acknowledge the good work he has done on the board in the past.

“I hope they thought I’ve done a good job (and can) acquire four more years of a good job,” he said.

Travis Summitt, 41, also has some experience serving on Cleveland’s Board of Commissioners. He served on the board two years ago and lost the last election by one vote. He also has experience with other boards, like the Cleveland Zoning Board of Adjustment and Planning Board. He is also a lieutenant at the West Rowan Volunteer Fire Department.

Summitt is all about expanding the tax base to keep taxes low for Cleveland citizens. He said since sewer projects have been completed, there are now more areas for economic development.

“You have to grow your tax base some way or another, and I would rather do it by getting some small businesses and maybe one large business in this area,” he said.

Summitt said stimulating business development to keep the tax rate low keeps the burden off of the citizens, who he said are mostly retirees.

Summitt’s young family is what he thinks sets him apart from the other candidates in the race. He said having a younger family allows him to bring a different perspective to the board.

“Someone who doesn’t have a young family may not be thinking about the younger group,” he said.

Another candidate thinking about the younger generation is Gregory Summitt, brother of Travis Summitt.

Gregory Summit does not have experience on the Cleveland Board of Commissioners, but has served on the board of the Cleveland Community Volunteer Fire Department, where he was also deputy chief.

He said he could represent a younger point of view for the board.

“The community of Cleveland is getting older, so to just give a younger view of what could possibly attract some younger folks to the town,” Summitt said.

Summitt also said that since he works for a municipality, he knows the inner workings and how decisions can affect workers.

Summitt said it seemed to him that the citizens of Cleveland are most concerned about the school moving out of the area.

Last year, the Board of Commissioners approved a resolution opposing consolidation of the Cleveland and Woodleaf elementary schools into a new school in the western part of Rowan County.

“A lot of people want to keep the school in Cleveland,” Summitt said.

Ultimately, all of the candidates want to help make and keep Cleveland a good town to live in.

“I just want a place where (my daughter) can grow up in a safe environment, and that’s what we have here in Cleveland,” Travis Summitt said. “I’m really proud of my town, and I just want to contribute.”

Contact reporter Amanda Raymond at 704-797-4222.

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