On May 1, the question of the direction of Hillsville will come before voters when they choose their mayor.
One candidate, incumbent Mayor Bill Tate, believes Hillsville is headed in a steady direction and as the economy improves, things will continue to get better. His opponent, local businessman Greg Crowder, believes there are things that need to change.
Tate, who has been on council for 14 years, including four years as mayor, said he would like to have the opportunity to continue working on ongoing projects for Hillsville and keep the town headed in its current direction.
“I think the town government is working well,” Tate said. “We have an excellent staff. I would like to see the town stay stable. We don’t need any change in town management or the police department. I would like to see the town stay a town and remain incorporated.”
Tate, who owns Hillcrest Flowers and Bridal Shop in Hillsville, said in his tenure as mayor, Hillsville has expanded to include the revenue-generating area at Exit 14 while putting to rest numerous, longstanding issues with Carroll County. Tate said next, he would like to see added infrastructure come to the areas that were just annexed.
“I would like to see a sewer line at the Interstate at Exit 14 so if we do get business coming into town, we can hook them up to our sewer and water” Tate said. “I would like to see more sewer lines and more water lines in the new annexed areas. I would like to see sewer go out 58 to Cavalier Drive and Raintree Road.”
Tate said he believes having the new areas within corporate limits will only help the town’s economy.
“I think the economy will gradually pick up,” he said. “I think that will be more revenue for the town once business picks up. The annexation at Exit 14 has helped us out. With more growth there, that will mean more revenue for the town.”
Tate said he would like to see more recreational opportunities come to Hillsville, and he’s proud of the many special activities held throughout the year in town.
“I’ve enjoyed seeing the people come into Hillsville to participate in activities we have such as the Car Show, Safe Halloween, Fourth of July, and then in March to see the Frank Levering play, ‘Thunder in the Hills,” Tate said.
Crowder, owner of the Race-In in Hillsville, said he’s got a four-pronged plan for change that includes looking at ways to stop increases on the water and sewer rates; examining the police department budget for ways to save; cost-sharing between Hillsville and Carroll County; and to have an outside auditor and planner take a look at the entire budget.
Crowder said his business acumen gives him a unique perspective. In addition to Race-In, Crowder owns Bear Ridge Properties and Pole Night Distributors.
“My wife and I have started, operated and maintained three major corporations that have accounted for more than $10 million in sales per year,” he said. “I’ve had the vision for three corporations, to start them up and manage them to where they are at the pinnacle in each of their fields. In each of these industries, I’ve started at the bottom and climbed to the very top.”
Crowder described himself as for the town, only for the best of the town and only with the county when it’s the best for both. He said he has experience working with the county, which he said can help Hillsville.
“If I’m elected, the past will be in the past and it will be a new day between the town and the county,” Crowder said. “I have worked closely with the current County Administrator and all but two of the current county supervisors. It hasn’t always been a bed of roses, nor are we all close friends, but at the end of the day, we have always been able to reach a deal that was good for both of us. I feel assured that I can negotiate a win-win deal and cooperation with the county if elected.”
Hillsville elections will be held May 1 at VFW Post 1115.