Election 2021:Four vie for pair of seats on Granite Quarry board

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, October 19, 2021

GRANITE QUARRY – Four people are on the ballot for two seats on the Granite Quarry Board of Aldermen this year, including two incumbents and two newcomers vying for a pair of seats.

Kim Cress and John Linker, both of whom served in elected positions for the town prior to their latest runs in 2017, are seeking reelection to their seats. Angela Nee and Brandon Gibbs are running in the town for the first time.

The Post attempted to contact Gibbs to participate in our election coverage, but calls and emails to his contact information on record with the Rowan County Board of Elections failed. The Post also sent Gibbs a letter requesting his participation, with no response.

Nee, 43, was born in Yadkinville and raised in Lexington. She graduated from West Davidson High School and Davidson County Community College. Currently, she is enrolled in the University of Marlyand Global Campus pursuing a bachelor’s degree in English.

Professionally, Nee is a senior customer service representative and clerk to the Board of Supervisors with Handy Sanitary District, a water and sewer utility based out of Denton.

Cress, 66, grew up in Salisbury, graduated from Salisbury High School and from Wingate University with a business degree. 

He originally served on the board in the 1990s, but resigned that position to oversee the town’s maintenance department.

He was in charge of the department for 19 years, retired and was reelected to the board in 2017.

Linker, 72, grew up in Rockwell, graduated from East Rowan High School and with a business degree from Catawba College. Retired, Linker spent his career with McCormick and Company, the well-known spice manufacturer. He formerly served as mayor of the town.

Linker said his biggest priority for the town is trying to develop additional revenue sources.

“We have so many expenses coming up,” Linker said, noting the town’s police department needs a new space and the town wants to maintain its ISO Class 1 insurance rating.

Linker said in he wants to use grants as much as the town can and develop more business in the Granite Industrial Park to take the pressure off property taxes.

The town Board of Aldermen shot down a tax increase in a draft budget earlier this year.

Cress pointed back to his run in 2017 and noted his biggest priority for the town is code enforcement. Well traveled, he noted his admiration for remarkably well-looked-after places, including in other countries.

Nee said her biggest priority is improving tax revenue to provide the services the growing community will need.

“One way we can do that is to focus on the industrial park project,” Nee said. “Enticing commercial opportunities into Granite Quarry will increase the tax base.”

The town is seeing significant population growth. Now over the 3,000 residents threshold, it is expecting growth to continue along with other municipalities in the county.

Linker credited the town’s planner Steve Blount and the town planning board for their work on updating the town’s comprehensive plan, which outlines how the town will develop over the years, and the recently updated Unified Development Ordinance.

“I really think we have the processes in place to deal with it,” Linker said.

Long term, Linker wants the town to be a place where people can come home from work and relax because of how the town was developed, as well as adding a signature event to give the town more identity.

On managing  growth, Cress said he thinks the town should do so carefully and given its current planning is doing a good job handling the issue so far.

Cress pointed back to priorities he outlined with the Post during his 2017 when he said economic development should be done carefully. He also noted the importance of the industrial park to grow the town’s tax base. He hopes the project blossoms.

“Our economic performance will have a lot to do with our economic growth,” Cress said.

Nee said as the town grows it needs to maintain its current relationship with neighboring municipalities, commending the joint police authority the town has with Faith.

“That’s a brilliant example of two towns coming together to solve a common issue,” Nee said.

She also said the town needs to get information out to the public so they know what is going on with the local government and to support town initiatives like its ISO rating.