Compiled by Jesse Wood
Quint David for Boone Town Council
Quint David is running for Boone Town Council. Below is a prepared candidate statement drafted when he filed his candidacy earlier this summer. Following the statement is David’s responses to a variety of hot-topic questions at the Boone Area Chamber’s “Candidate Forum” held in early October.
Today I am announcing my candidacy and filing for seat on the Boone Town Council.
I have watched our community grow and change tremendously since I arrived in 2004. Boone has always been a beautiful place to live and a popular destination to visit for many reasons, and today that is more true than ever. While there are benefits to this popularity there are also stresses and strains associated with the growth and change around it.
Balancing our resource use and planning for the long-term instead of the short is critical to protecting the reasons why we choose to live in this amazing place. Lately I have become increasingly worried that some of our leadership is focused on the short-term dollar instead of the long-term investment in our community and our next generation’s future. I want to ensure that we continue to focus on our local investments and our long-term visions of our community. My priorities will be:
Neighborhood Protection: As our population continues to grow the investments our local homeowners have made must be protected from developments and usage that lower property values.
Increasing and Protecting Green Space: Boone’s green spaces are not just something that serves to better the appearance of our town, but serve to connect and increase the livability and enjoyment of our natural environment.
Walk-ability and Bike-ability: While many of our areas are now accessible by walking or bike, many areas continue to suffer from dangerous traffic congestion or lack of sidewalks in reasonable locations.
Small Business: Our small business owners are the reason we enjoy such a variety of shops and restaurants that can only be found in our town, and the reason many come to visit our area. Ensuring that their needs are met will help ensure a vibrant and varied local market into the future.
Long-Term Planning: Balancing the needs of today with the needs of tomorrow is critical to Boone’s future. We have already experienced what a lack of planning can create, and we must work together to ensure that those mistakes are not repeated.
Background: I am 27 years old. I completed Construction Management and Appropriate Technology degrees from Appalachian State University, specializing in green building certification and solar energy. My beautiful and very supportive girlfriend Sarah aka Holt45, is the vice president of the Appalachian Roller Girls. I currently work for IONCON (It’s Only Natural) Engineering. In recent years I’ve worked on strawbale, earthbag and shipping container homes as well as the design of several renewable energy and rainwater collection systems. I have certified homes for Energy Star, LEED, and the Home Builders Association National Green Building Standard. I believe that education is the key to growing a better tomorrow. I appreciate your support and please feel free to contact me with any questions, comments, or ideas to help our community.
Contact: [email protected]
Video: Closing Statement from Candidate Forum
CANDIDATE FORUM Q&A
- Moderator: Given the fact Boone operates a multi-million dollar budget, what is your business experience and how will that benefit you in this position and what’s your best financial experience as well?
Quint David: My background is directly more in the small local businesses here in Boone. Worked for a few small farms doing mostly green building, doing renewable energy services. The more direct million-dollar budget issues come from: we also do large-scale project management for universities and other larger firms. Those range in the millions of dollars. My time at ASU as a student, we did a lot of fundraising for grants and raising money to do more fun items and that turned into working for the energy center at ASU where we had several grants including a grant I was on, actually for the county, to run a green business plan for the county. So everything from raising money, dealing with large-scale construction projects all the way to small businesses. I have a little bit of background in all of that.
- Moderator: Having witnessed disturbing and disruptive conflicts between the Boone Town Council and the Watauga County Board of Commissioners, what is your plan to work with other governing bodies with the best interest of the taxpayer and greater community in mind?
Quint David: One thing that is very important for all our members of government is that when we are spending tax money we are actually spending other people’s money. We are spending money in order to benefit our community and one of the things to remember that as citizens of the town, we are paying not only taxes to the Town of Boone, but also to Watauga County, so when they are butting heads, it is costing me my own taxes and that’s something that we need to get as far away from as we can. It’s very important for us to work together and make sure the people’s voices and what they want is going to be heard and met by our local officials. So, even if it’s something that perhaps people that have voted for their officials out in the county do not want, if it’s something that people voting in Boone are voting for and our elected officials to have, we have to be able to sit down and come to an agreement.
- Moderator: Do you support moving forward with New River intake project and if not what do you see as alternative plan to ensure adequate water availability for growth and development of the area?
Quint David: The water intake issue: I support if for two-fold reasons. Initially, the environmental costs that were already drained from current intakes, we’ve already drained them too far and they are taking too much water. If anyone remembers a few years ago, when we actually had restrictions on who could wash their cars. We are already running out of water. Environmentally, the right thing to do would be to find more water somewhere because Boone is going to keep growing whether we get it from a safe environmentally friendly solution or if we start drilling wells for developments similar to the Cottages of Boone down 105. There is a huge drawback from that issue because just like you said we don’t’ have water for some of these developments but if we do have water it could open up Boone to rampant development that is not restricted in anyway, so we could actually see more Cottages style of development because now Boone has enough water to support them. We must be conscious of the environment but also be conscious of our businesses as well.
- Moderator: How do you see the change to the ad valorem sales tax distribution and the pending real estate revaluation impacting the town’s budget and how should it be addressed?
Quint David: The reevaluation for the property tax is something that we are going to have to do. It’s the right thing. If it reduces our budget, that is just something we will have to deal with. As far as as the other $2 million that came from sales-tax distribution I am not sure if everyone understands how much of an impact on Boone’s budget that is going to be. It is over 10 percent of our operating budget is going to be gone. For the things, I am really interested in doing, supporting our parks and greenways and bike lanes and trying to improve some of our downtown infrastructure. There are needs that Boone has. There are very old and crumbling infrastructure and working in the construction industry you see it first hand, any time anybody tries to renovate and upgrade one of these old buildings, you can find that infrastructure falling apart. We are looking at pushing back some of these measures to improve the town many, many years because we are not going to have the money to do them. So working with our county commissioners and trying to make some of these issues right is going to be one of my top priorities.
- Moderator: The Chamber, of course, is very interested in what happens to business here in this community. How do you see the UDO impacting the business that currently operate in or wish to operate in the Town of Boone, for example, the old Watauga High School property?
Quint David: The UDO is actually one of the reasons I wanted to get involved with the town council. My background in engineering and sustainability issues have a very nice set of green UDO things I would like to incorporate into what Boone does and to help promote some of that for our town. Also with the existing businesses, we’ve had to deal with issues and complaints about the UDO being too restrictive. Making sure that it is streamlined and with the update coming out supposedly this January, hopefully a lot of problems we’ve been having. We want the UDO, the people of Boone have voted on things such as the water intake and steep slope ordinances, so to say we are not going to do that would be telling the people that a have voted on that that we are not going to do it. So we have to do these things. But we want to make sure we do them right, and we want to make it easy on businesses to achieve some of these measures and in the end, of course, to make our town a better place and a more attractive place for business. So we have to keep working through it.
- Moderator: Many vacant properties exist in Boone what would seem desirable tracts and many on major roads near the center of town. What would you propose to help move these properties from eyesores to useful properties?
Quint David: Excellent, one of things we say in the green building industry is the greenest building is one that already exists. Also, if it has black mold, burn it to the ground. One of the problems that we have with some of these buildings is that they are so old and so dilapidated, you actually have an additional cost to tear down the building in the first place. Especially, with the Scottish Inn particularly, that is right in the middle of one of the worst storm water issues that we have facing our community as well, so not only would a new developer have to deal with the building itself and getting rid of it, but also the problem of constant flooding and storm water issues right there in your backyard. Working with some of our real estate partners to makes sure that these buildings are known to people to be available on the market, our planning staff to help them through some of the code issues and the people of the Town of Boone coming together and say, ‘Hey we want to make sure that our utility and storm water controls will be good so we can actually develop some of these properties.’
- Moderator: In the Town of Boone long-term plan related to economic development, it states area residents support different and more expanded economic activity only if it increases the opportunity for stable, higher-wage jobs and enhances the quality of life for existing residents. What specifically would you propose to do to accomplish this type of development?
Quint David: So we already have a great resource with the EDC with their business incubator programs to get some of these small businesses, local folks to start their own companies. As far as getting higher-paying jobs for the long term, which is very important, increasing not just the quantity but the quality. I work for engineer, so I will bore you with some numbers real quick. Our population has grown over 30 percent in the last 10 years, so Boone is still growing. We’ve doubled since about 1970, so our business community has been increasing very, very quickly. There are growing pains associated with that. If we want to attract some higher-paying jobs actually some great suggestions in that 2030 plan to partner maybe with ASU for things like a research park to try to bring in more research oriented, I guess, computer type developments to an area like Boone and why would they come here? Of course because we have beautiful mountains and all kinds of resources for them to enjoy.
- Moderator: What are your views concerning the Daniel Boone Parkway to relieve traffic congestion in the Town of Boone?
Quint David: I feel about the Daniel Boone Parkway the same away I feel about the water issue. I worry about it because if you build more highways or build more water, you may end up just increasing the traffic in the area. What we may be doing with this bypass, we open up all these other areas that right now are neighborhoods and forests and open up more areas up for development and we also possibly worsen the traffic problem. It’s going to be very important to spend our tax dollars wisely and going by the plans that we already have as part of our 2030 plan, we already have some pretty extensive plans for improving our existing roads and traffic patterns. We already have great plans for bicycle lanes and walkways. But our problem is our own success. People like to come to Boone. There will always be traffic because people will always want to come here. How can we work together and come to a solution and make people want to come back?
- Moderator: In light of projected 10-20-100 year flood maps, what are your thoughts on surface water mitigation in the Town along U.S. 321?
Quint David: I am going to second Rennie’s opinion about starting a storm water authority this is a serious issue. There have been deaths associated with it. It’s a horrible burden on the property owners in that area as they are the ones responsible for the culvert blowouts like the Scottish Inn that was mentioned. Would you want to buy a property where you have to pay for 300,000 worth of storm water mitigation issues? Part of the UDO is very important in preventing that currently, a big storm water section in there. Of course, 20 years ago that didn’t exist. We ended up paving paradise, and now we have bicycle rivers in the middle of the road. Also, our 2030 plan does include that comprehensive plan to do storm water management and I think that’s something we should move to the front of the list. However, then the question comes up with who pays and how much does that cost and again because our budget is running so thin, we will have to create a list of needs and wants, and I really want this to be on the needs list for something we have to do.
- Moderator: Share your vision on how you would like the town and ASU work together in the future. What major issues do you see htat need to be addressed and how would you work toward solutions?
Quint David: Because I used to work for ASU and part of my job was actually outreach and education about renewable energy, I got to spend a lot of time going through ASU and different groups and meetings and talking about his issue and talking about how ASU could work with the town. I think both groups are interested in working together and partnering on a lot more than just ladder trucks and possibly a lot more than a ski lift that goes to the top of the mountain like Gatlinburg or something. During my time there, there was several students doing studies on how much solar could fit on the roofs of all the buildings in Boone. We were doing studies on Kraut Creek constantly. I am not sure if I would trust students to do the engineering for the water intake. We could certainly, we have a great GIS department that could certainly map out a lot of things and get a lot of the preliminary work done for many of our items. They are a great resource and we should continue to use them and continue to brainstorm some ideas to further that partnership.
- Moderator: Regarding Howard Street: You know the only change taking place in 22 years is a one-way road from Depot Street to Water Street. As a businessperson in this community, I am frustrated that there is an awful lot of talk regarding and not a lot of action. Comments?
Quint David: That question actually has some interesting personal story for me as well. I have been living in and around King Street for almost 10 years now. I have seen it improve slightly and change a little bit. But it has stayed largely the same. There has been lot more events happening downtown and a lot more great things going on. But in a project I was working on recently, remodeling one of the buildings, – not sure if I can talk about it – there may or may not have been a very leaky sewer pipe going under one of these buildings. When it comes to an infrastructure question once again, we want to increase the walkability and park-ability and the ability for people to come and visit downtown and spend money at our local businesses, but when we have to replace sewer pipes and roads, we need to make sure we know how much that is going to cost and that our local citizens and businesses are willing to pay for that cost. If we are not going to raise taxes or not see our two million dollars, I would love to see it happen, but not sure how to see it through yet.