Woodfin Water Candidates Answer Questions - TribPapers

Woodfin Water Candidates Answer Questions

The Woodfin Water Offices. Photo by Clint Parker

Woodfin – The Town of Woodfin is unique because it has a separate water system from the town government. Therefore, it has a Woodfin Water Board of Trustees. Here are the candidates for the trustees who have answered the questions put to them by the Tribune. They are in alphabetical order. Not all candidates responded to our questions.

Sarah Gassaway

Editor’s note: Gassaway did not answer the questions but sent this statement.

I am very pleased with the way the district is handling all things. At this time. I am proud of the strides that we have made over the last several years. We have done some much-needed and important infrastructure, such as the large Merrimon Ave. project and the Riverside Drive project. And I want to say one of the things I am most proud of is the fact the Woodfin Water Dept. paid ourselves completely out of debt several years ago.

I am not new to Woodfin. I have lived here my entire life and have experienced all the changes of the Woodfin Water District. Keep in mind the Town of Woodfin is not part of the Woodfin Water District. They are two separate businesses. We have received multiple awards from the state over the time for our pure water. Yes, things break, and if it does, we get to it and fix it as soon as possible. My reason for being on the water Board is to make sure the good people of Woodfin get the best water and service they possibly can.I have to say Dr. Joe Martin has been such a help in establishing a strong workforce and a huge help to our new Director, Brian Goldstein, who, by the way, is doing an awesome job. We have a small number of employees, but the men and women work so hard to please the people in the Woodfin Water District.

Since I have experience and know my town, I would ask you let me continue to represent you as a trustee of the Woodfin Sanitary Water and Sewer Board.

1. What do you see as the main issue facing the water district, and how do you plan to handle it?

Larry Hopkins

The main issue facing the Water Board is the lack of transparency. Their board meetings are at a time least convenient to Woodfin citizens. When elected, the first order of business would be to change the board meeting to a time that is more convenient to a majority of Woodfin voters. I would also make sure the meetings are live streamed, just as the Woodfin Town Council and Woodfin Planning Board meetings are.

Gordon Maybury

I am currently on the Board of the Woodfin Water District and the main issue facing the Water District will be serving the water needs of the expanding development of areas around Woodfin that are not within the District’s boundary. Unincorporated areas of Buncombe County are targets for developers and the Woodfin Water District is relatively small. Although there is the capacity to grow, currently, approximately a third of Woodfin Water District’s customers are served from water purchased from Asheville. Addressing the water needs of new developments and determining whether to continue to purchase water or provide water from the source is a planning priority. I plan on establishing a working group to document the best solutions for addressing water needs in the upcoming 5-year timeframe. 

2. What is your vision for the water district?

Larry Hopkins

My vision for the Water District is to provide ample quality water to all Woodfin Water customers, promote proactive maintenance of the water system, make sure Woodfin development coincides with the water board capabilities, and protect our water system from all types of attacks.

Gordon Maybury

My vision for the district is to have a very financially sound utility that provides the highest quality water possible to be aware of potential threats to the water supply from climate change-caused threats such as fire, drought, and pollution. I want to be certain that customer concerns are being addressed and kept as searchable data so infrastructure issues can be proactively addressed. And I want to see the Woodfin Water District be more visible to the community with conservation of our resources a public awareness matter. 

3. How is your current board doing at addressing the issues?

Larry Hopkins

I am running for the Woodfin Water Board because of the board’s current lack of transparency. Also, the board could be working more harmoniously with the Woodfin Town Council for the betterment of Woodfin.

Gordon Maybury

My experience at the eight meetings I have attended as a board member is that the board is not really looking toward the future. The former Executive Director built a good foundation for the Water District’s future. The new Executive Director is in his first year and is successfully learning the organization. My fellow board members have been on the board for some years, and I want to encourage them to think about the future challenges the district could face.

4. How would your election to the board change or reinforce the board’s actions?

Larry Hopkins

To make the necessary changes to the board, the right candidates must be elected. When elected myself, Lauren Edgerton, and Gordon Maybury would make the necessary changes to move the board progressively forward.

Gordon Maybury

I have years of experience at the senior management level of a variety of businesses. The Woodfin Water District is not a government-run utility but owned by the citizens within the district. I will continue to do what I am doing now: raising issues that have not been on our agenda and not becoming complacent. I am going to represent the owners of the district: the citizens.

5. What do the voters need to know about you as a candidate?

Larry Hopkins

I would like the voters to know that I would work diligently to make the right decisions on their behalf. I am a North Carolinian with 40+ years of business experience, and I would like to put that experience to use for the Woodfin community. This is my way to give back!

Gordon Maybury

I want the voters to understand that I have 40 years of experience in business. I am not afraid to ask questions and voice my opinions. I can be trusted to always consider the impact of decisions on the owners of the Water District: its citizens.