Name as it appears on the ballot: Jeremy Shaffer
Full legal name, if different: Jeremy Wayne Shaffer
Date of birth: 7/6/77
Home address: 134 Launis Street, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Occupation & employer: Chatham Audio
What is there in your public record or other experience that demonstrates your ability to be an effective leader? Please be specific about your public and community service background.
I have been a manager of both people and projects (in my field) for over a decade now. I am very detail-oriented and love the opportunity to simplify and streamline things for myself and others. Though I don’t have much experience in the public forum, I believe most of what I know will translate very easily. I look forward to being part of Pittsboro’s Board of Commissioners and to all of the challenges that lie ahead.
How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?
To be completely honest, I am not really into politics. I am running for the BOC as a citizen who is interested in being part of the future of Pittsboro. This board is supposed to be non-partisan and I plan to work exactly as such. I really have no concerns as to who belongs to which party. Pittsboro first.
Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.
I am not really sure how to answer that. My hope is to represent the majority of Pittsboro’s citizens to the best of my ability. Rest assured there will always be some folks who are not pleased. I’m really not all that concerned with being “popular”.
The Independent’s mission is to help build a just community in the Triangle. How would your election to office help further that goal?
I believe that the vast majority of my views are probably very similar to those of the Independent. I favor a government that is open, accountable, honest, and fair… one that does not discriminate against those that it represents for any reason. I will do my absolute best to keep things moving in that direction.
Pittsboro recently was accepted into the Small Town Main Street Program, which is designed to help towns with less than 7,500 people create jobs and revitalize their downtowns. How should Pittsboro best take advantage of this program? What are your priorities in job creation and downtown revitalization?
We all have high hopes for this program. A lot of work has been done in getting Pittsboro accepted (A major thanks to all involved!), but there is still a lot of work left to do. My hope is that we can give Pittsboro a fresher image while staying true to the lovely small town atmosphere. It would be nice to clean up and refresh the downtown area, starting with some new signage, maybe some green space, parking, etc. It is also my hope that we can fill the unoccupied space with local businesses and shops, things that will make folks want to visit Pittsboro… and maybe stay! Things have changed a bit in the past few years with the addition of markets, restaurants, and bars, but we could surely stand some more.
With the pending closure of Townsend Chicken Plant in Pittsboro, how will the town compensate for the lost property tax and utilities revenue? What are the immediate impacts if the plant closes? What are the short- and long-term solutions to filling the economic gap left by this plant?
This is a great question… and I wish there was a simple answer. Of course we can’t force companies to come here, but we can do our best to encourage. With a lot of markets currently down, it’s hard on just about everyone, Pittsboro included. There are some other things being planned for the area, but I’m afraid that the markets also dictate if and when these things will proceed.
Along those revenue lines, how will the town pay for the new 3.2 MGD wastewater treatment plant? How would you keep residential water and sewer fees from sharply increasing?
There are several options here and we are still trying to figure what option is best. I, as a citizen, surely don’t want to incur any more expenses than I already do.
What should Pittsboro’s priorities be in crafting a land use plan? What areas of town need special attention and why?
I think downtown is the most important. It is, and has been, the face of the town (Courthouse, traffic circle, etc). To me, I don’t see any reason to keep building out when we aren’t even using what we’ve got. This, of course, only holds true for smaller businesses that can “fit” in some of the smaller buildings downtown.
What is your position on fracking, also known as hydraulic fracturing, in Pittsboro and Chatham County? Please justify your position.
Well, I have to say that if there are still questions and concerns, any at all, we just need to hold off. It does not hurt anyone to wait. On the contrary, if we just forge on through with only the thought of financial gains on our minds, we are liable to pay a more serious price in the long run. These potential effects cannot be reversed. The fact that it appears to affect way more than just one’s own property is enough for me. I think we can probably be a little wiser.
If you are incumbent, please share some self-reflection about the pros and cons of the job the current mayor and council are doing leading the town. If you are a challenger, critique the job the incumbents are doing.