Voters get ready - contested races in Trinity

Jul. 19, 2013 @ 04:10 PM

If voters in Trinity want to go to the polls this fall to express their support or displeasure with the direction of the northern Randolph County city, they’ll have plenty of opportunity to make their opinions count.
The race for mayor and four seats before voters on City Council all will be contested after the candidate filing period for this year’s municipal elections concluded at noon Friday.
The race for mayor is a rematch of sorts from four years ago. Mayor Carlton Boyles will face former mayor Fran Andrews in the race for Trinity’s top elected post in the Nov. 5 general election. Boyles won a three-candidate race for mayor in 2009, unseating Andrews from the post.
Trinity voters are assured of one new councilmember, as Karen Bridges didn’t seek another term in Ward 3. Challengers Tyler Earnst and Jesse R. Hill will seek the Ward 3 seat.
Ward 4 Councilman Tommy Johnson will be challenged by Don Payne, who filed Friday morning, according to the Randolph County Board of Elections. Ward 2 Councilman Barry Lambeth will take on challenger Steve Lawing.
In Ward 1, incumbent Kristen Varner will face two challengers, Gene A. Byerly and Mitchell Childers, according to the Board of Elections.
Trinity has been embroiled in a series of controversies in recent years. Many of the votes on contentious issues have been settled 5-3 or 5-4, as the mayor only votes in the case of a tie among the eight councilmembers. The split highlights the importance of this year’s election outcome.
The most recent spat in Trinity involves how city elected officials and staff handled $3.025 million owed for sewer projects, which prompted concerns about the city’s approach by a state agency.
The N.C. Local Government Commission, which monitors the fiscal situation of municipalities and counties, has raised questions about Trinity’s sewer fund. A commission official outlined the concerns in a letter, which referred to “signs of financial weakness” in how Trinity meets its obligation.
Trinity City Council late last month had trouble bringing together enough members for a quorum to address city budget changes on the sewer issue. though the council took action on the matter this past Tuesday.

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Residents of the town of Jamestown in Guilford County are all but assured of knowing who will represent them in city government after the Nov. 5 general election. Mayor Keith Volz was left unopposed when the filing period concluded Friday. Councilman Tommy Walls didn’t seek another term, and former councilman Will Ragsdale filed and will occupy his seat. Council representatives Georgia Nixon-Roney, Brock Thomas and Lynn Montgomery are unopposed, according to the Guilford County Board of Elections.