Monroe mayoral candidate profiles

Sep. 14, 2013 @ 06:06 PM

Kyle Allan Hayes

Age/Birth date: 56, September 30, 1957

Address: 2161 Commerce Dr., Monroe

Spouse: No spouse

Children: No children,

Occupation: Architect; licensed in both North & South Carolina and Georgia

Club, Organizations: FCSA, ICC, former AIA, NCARB, CSI, ACI, Jaycees

Prior elective office: None, Chairman of the Monroe Historic District in late 1980s

Phone/email: 704.226.0600, kyleformayor58@yahoo.com

Why are you running?                  

As a local business owner, I’ve practiced architecture for the past 30 years in Monroe. Through all that time, I’ve watched  the government of Monroe slowly take complete control of private property, private business, and apply a local government system of selected enforcement, which in essence creates a privileged class of elected officials, their families, friends, and city employees. I’ve watched them run business out of town, which denies new business from town and makes it extremely difficult for anyone to expand and/or start a new business. I know this from firsthand experience by representing those who have come to me for help to use their properties. The corruption and good old boy ideology is hurting the people and the community of Monroe. The city government needs to facilitate all the private business it can, to produce jobs and tax revenue. We need our elected officials to represent the people of Monroe and protect the people from the government of Monroe. I am running to give a voice to each and every person in Monroe, to stand up against the heavy hand of government in Monroe, and to create an environment in which local businesses can flourish.

What qualifies you for this position?            

I have 30 years of experience representing residents, business owners, and property owners trying to do business in Monroe. I know what the people of Monroe are forced to endure when trying to advance their business, improve their homes, and develop their property. Far too often, city officials have used every trick they could find to try to deny people legal and lawful use of their property. I stand up for people who city officials often deny or restrict legal use of their property and business. It’s time elect someone who knows what the people of this community go through and who will give them a voice, and I mean everyone not just friends and family. Please note that I’m not related to anyone in the city of Monroe. I have no family members who are employed or will be looking to be employed with the government of Monroe. 

What are the three most important issues facing your community?

Taxes and utility rates: Monroe is among the highest taxed communities in North Carolina. We pay more than four times the tax rates in Indian Trail and five times the average county municipal tax rates. Our utility rates are also the highest in the region. And unnecessarily so.  The City Council regularly uses utility funds to support airport projects. Last year alone they spent $3.7 million on a speculative venture to build a structure in hopes to find a business to use the building. Then they tell us that the cost of electricity is going up so they have to raise the rates yet again. Our power rates have nearly doubled over the past few years.

Regulations:  Everything from passing over restrictive conditional district regulations to unlawfully denying legal and lawful use of private property, elected and appointed officials, along with the city staff, have a history of selectively, and negatively impacting many businesses in our community. With selective enforcement of regulation, on top of a fundamental bias built into the rules, we have a recipe for disaster. A simple example, it is illegal to park on grass in Monroe, if you’re a person of “means,” the fine is $25; however if you accept government assistance, the fine is $50, and of course if you are part of the government of Monroe, the rules are selectively unenforced. We are over regulated, and under represented.

Corruption: This takes many forms, and much has been in the news lately, I’m afraid it’s just the tip of the iceberg. When our elected officials and government administrators hand out favors, jobs, and inside information at the expense of the taxpayers, you begin to understand why our tax rates are so high. Throw in a little selective enforcement, by way of looking the other way, and we have major problems.

If elected what can you do about those items? 

Taxes and utility rates: With the new city manager, the government of Monroe gets a fresh opportunity to reevaluate the cost of the city. The city Administration and Council need to work together to eliminate costs which provide little or no value to the tax payers. We have departments with specific tax revenues, some of those departments spend up to 90 percent of their budget on overhead and only 10 percent on actual providing the service they were meant to provide. We have several departments which are duplicated services, provided and paid for with our state and county taxes. City tax payers are paying twice for the same service. As Mayor I can lead the way to a more efficient government, by asking the City Manager to review inefficient use of tax dollars and unnecessary or underutilized departments. City council can then be given viable options to reduce the tax and utility rate burden on the people of Monroe. Making Monroe more business completive with the surrounding area.

Regulations: We have to let private business be in business. Conditional District Zoning is a disaster; it gives City Council (an always changing elected board of people) complete control of private business property. The city’s regulations create far too much upfront cost for developing business property when compared to Union County or the surrounding communities.  It puts us at an economic disadvantage. We should never have regulations, which impose higher or lesser fines dependent on ones social or economic status.  The proper way to change these policies is through the city manager, with agreement from city council on a direction and goal for better city planning management.  No one individual should have absolute control or influence over the process. As Mayor, I will ask the City Manager to review and recommend  a better development policy which will be given to City Council  and the people of Monroe for feedback to establish a more viable policy to the benefit of the people of Monroe. I’ll be providing more detail with future letters to the editor. 

Corruption: The problems with corruption are deep, the quickest solution is for the voters of Monroe to take a stand and vote those out who facilitate the corruption, but the problem goes beyond elected officials, it’s found throughout the government of Monroe, and in many forms. The city policy of selective enforcement plays into the corruption. The government of Monroe is not really designed to serve the people, voters, property owners, business owner, or the tax payers; it’s designed to take care of itself first, community second.

How do you intend to unite city council and move Monroe forward?

No one can unite the current council; when council members and city officials secretly tape-record other city officials it creates an atmosphere of distrust. That cannot be overcome by anything short of those individuals stepping down, a vote of censure helps but doesn’t solve the problem. When government officials consider unethical actions okay merely because it’s not illegal, there is a serious problem with public trust.  When city officials have their sons or daughters working for the city they are really doing them a disservice. No matter how great or not they are, all their accomplishments will always be suspect because a parent sits on council.  Any council member who finds themselves in this position really for the sake of their kids families should step down until a point they would not be in a position to have influence over their family members career. It disturbs me how four members (3 of which running as incumbents) have formed a coalition, a single majority coalition speaking as one really doesn’t truly represent the people of the community. If anyone was looking for an argument to change to district representation, you now have a pretty good one. As far as my ability to unite council, I have known Mr. (Billy) Jordan since the early 1990s when I designed homes for the local CDC. I worked with Billy and Mr. Bazemore in designing new and replacement homes throughout the Winchester neighborhoods. I’ve spoken will Billy several times over the years and we’ve always been able to discuss things even when we were not in agreement. Lynn Keziah is also running for Mayor, and he has two years remaining on his council term. Lynn has more than 30 years service as an elected official as either council member or Mayor. He has seen the city council through all the issues the city has faced over the last 30+ years. If I’m elected Mayor, I look forward to working with Lynn as he would always be able to provide insight as to how we got to where we are today. Whoever the voters of Monroe elect, be it incumbents or new council members, I would ask each and everyone to remember who we are there to serve, the people of Monroe. I will give council my plans of how to make Monroe a better place for all people. By creating a better business atmosphere, we create more jobs, more businesses, more disposable income, more tax revenue, leading ultimately to better performing schools and a much better community for everyone. Anyone with questions is welcome to stop by my office at 217 North Hayne St. I’ll be happy to discuss any issue with you.

  Bobby Gene Kilgore 

Age/Birth date: 75, March 14, 1938

Address: 1202 Dove St., Monroe 

Spouse: Norma Starnes Kilgore

Children: Wanda K. Stegall, Beverly K. Ashcraft, Mitchell B. Kilgore

Occupation: Mayor of Monroe 

Clubs, Organizations: Rotary Club, Civitan, Crime Stoppers, N.C. Long Leaf Pine Award, National League of Cities Board of Directors (Two Years), past member Governor’s Crime Control & Public Safety (Drugs), N.C. Training Standards Commission, N.C. League of Municipalities Transportation Public Safety Committee, Masonic Lodge #244, Man of the Year Award, Executive of the Year award, Civitan of the Year award. Oakland Baptist Church, deacon, trustee and president of Sunday school class.

Why are you running? 

I have enjoyed serving our city as your mayor. I would like to continue to see our city and our downtown flourish. We are facing many challenges in the future and I would like to see them through. 

What qualifies you for this position?

I am currently serving as your mayor. I have spent my life in Monroe and I know first-hand the challenges and issues facing our city. I have the qualifications needed to address these issues. I have represented the city on numerous local, state and national boards and currently serve as a member of the mayor’s coalition. 

What the three most important issues facing your community?

1. Vibrant Downtown.

2. Safe neighborhoods. 

3. Recruitment and maintaining industries. 

If elected, what can you do about those issues? 

1. Continue progress on the Downtown Master Plan and revisit it to see what can be implemented. 

2. Continue to work with police and fire to insure they have the best resources possible. Work with the departments to ensure that the city national accreditation is maintained. 

3. Continue to work with economic development to ensure our existing industries’ needs are being met and to attract future industry to our city. 

How do you intend to unite the city council and move forward? 

As your mayor, my leadership abilities and track record on community service speaks for itself. The city council has been divided for the past 18 months since former city manager Wayne Herron was asked to resign by the majority, Lynn Keziah, John Ashcraft, Freddie Gordon and Margaret Desio, in an unauthorized meeting. Those in the majority are running the council without input or consideration from the other members. Until the make-up of the council changes nothing will change. Hope for this election will accomplish this. 

  Lynn Ashcraft Keziah

Age/Birth date: 70, August 7, 1943

Address: 2807 Vidalia Court, Monroe

Spouse: Lynda Gossett Keziah

Children: Lane Keziah, Lanze Keziah

Occupation: Real estate developer 

Club, Organizations: Member of Monroe Chamber of Commerce. Member of First Presbyterian Church, Monroe. Past Elder, Board of Deacons, Property Chairman

Prior elective office: Have been a member of the Monroe City Council and/or Mayor since 1981. Currently, Mayor pro tem.

Phone/email: 704-221-2365/ LKeziah@monroenc.org. 

Why are you running?

I am running for mayor because I am committed to helping create a Monroe that we can all be proud of. A Monroe that is financially solid and responsible. A Monroe that attracts and maintains good business partners. A Monroe that provides a great place to live and work for our citizens. A Monroe built upon principles of integrity and fairness. And a city committed to providing its citizens with leadership which always puts the long-term interest of our city and our people first and foremost and at the heart of every decision we make.

What qualifies you for this position?

I feel I am well qualified to be mayor since I’ve served on city council/mayor since 1981. During my tenure as mayor, we had two of the worst disasters in the history of Monroe: Hurricane Hugo, with 110 mph winds, and the downtown explosion, which demolished two-thirds of a block on Main Street. We were all able to join together and move Monroe forward. Phil Hargett and I co-chaired the first committee to bring the first business park to Monroe. At present, there is close to a billion dollars worth of industry in the park. I chaired the committee to bring the Aquatic and Fitness Center to Monroe. I currently chair the Charlotte-Monroe Airport Commission. We have extended the runway from 5,500 to 7,000 feet. Currently, we are working on a new customs building that will open this spring.

What are the three most important issues facing your community?

1. Creation of jobs. It is imperative that we continue to work to bring in quality jobs for all our citizens. This will also increase our tax base and keep our tax rate low.

2. Continue work to get the Monroe Bypass. With over 60,000 cars daily on Highway 74, the pollution is unhealthy for our citizens, so we must lobby to make sure this becomes a reality. 

3. Downtown Monroe Center Theater Project. Downtown Monroe is very vital to our city in many ways–from quality of life, to helping attract new industry, and being a healthy county seat. This theater project will create new life into downtown, especially in the evenings with the additional restaurants and entertainment. 

If elected, what can you do about these issues?

I believe in the council/management form of government. The city council sets the policy. The city manager acts as C.E.O. and city council acts as board of directors, and mayor acts as chairman of the board. We have a very wonderful and intelligent staff. In order to fulfill these three, we must allow the staff the freedom to do their jobs. As your mayor, I will work very, very diligently to make this happen. 

How do you intend to unite the city counil and move forward?

I intend to unite the city council by leading with integrity, fairness and experience focused on the future.