Randolph S. Voller | Candidate Questionnaires | Indy Week

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Randolph S. Voller

Candidate for Pittsboro Mayor


Name as it appears on the ballot: Randolph S. Voller
Full legal name, if different: Randolph Stefan Voller
Date of birth: January 8, 1969
Home address: 21 Randolph Court, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Mailing address, if different from home: Same as above
Campaign mailing address: Post Office Box 878, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Campaign Web site: www.randyvoller.com
Occupation & employer: Real estate brokerage, development, consulting & investment. Voller Realty & Construction, Ltd., 50 Chatham Forest Drive, Pittsboro, NC 27312
Home phone: 919-542-8188
Work phone: 919-542-0165
E-mail: randy@voller.org, voller4mayor@gmail.com; or for town business: mayorvoller@gmail.com

1. 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.

My CV, which is on the website has specific examples. www.randyvoller.com

I have been on the executive committee for the Triangle Area Rural Planning Organization for almost four years. The board is comprised of elected republican and democratic county commissioners and municipalities from Orange, Chatham, Lee, and Moore counties and advises NCDOT. I became the first municipal leader ever to chair the board in 2007 and have been reelected unanimously by a bi-partisan group as its chair in 2008 and 2009.

I worked with retired UNC Chancellor Paul Hardin as a co-chair of the Perdue Committee in Chatham County. Here is what Paul had to say:

"I am honored to endorse the Honorable Randolph Voller for reelection as Mayor of Pittsboro.  It was my privilege to serve with him as co-chairmen of the Chatham County Committee for the Election of Governor Beverly Perdue.  He did most of the heavy lifting, but he inspired me to be more active than I have been in any election over the past 20 years or so.  He is bright, energetic, and sincerely interested in promoting his town, Chatham County, and the State of North Carolina.  My endorsement is sincere and without reservation.  Pittsboro has been on the move under his leadership, and his reelection will be the surest next step in continuing that progress."  

2. How do you define yourself politically and how does your political philosophy show itself in your past achievements and present campaign platform?

I consider myself a pragmatic progressive. Good ideas are not owned by any particular party and/or group which is why I am always willing to listen and find common ground. However, on some issues such as water quality, clean air, coherent energy policy, etc. the discussion should not be allowed to be hijacked with false narratives. The stakes are just too high.

3. Identify a principled stand you might be willing to take if elected that you suspect might cost you some popularity points with voters.

I have been involved with a number of issues where I was involved with a principled stand. For example, two years ago Michele Berger, Tim Keim and myself addressed the County Commissioners regarding race-based incidents in Chatham County. The Board of Commissioners listened and passed a resolution condemning these incidents. I took the same information to the Town Board and requested the Town's support for a resolution, too. The Town passed the resolution.

Immigration reform is another area that I have advocated on behalf of a community that is under siege and in need of help. Although the Town has no role in ICE or 287g I supported our County Commissioners and spoke on the record. In return for my position on immigration reform I was confronted by William Gheen of ALIPAC in Virlie's restaurant in Pittsboro. Later I was singled out along with the Chatham County Commissioners, Human Relations Director Esther Coleman and the citizens on the human relations board and for expressions of displeasure by ALIPAC, William Gheen, NC Fire, Heather Johnson, Randy Dye, et al. These expressions took the form of phone calls, emails, op-eds, interviews and unfortunate personal attacks on the blog-o-sphere. It is my belief that we need a rational policy to document the millions of workers and their children who are here and along them to seek citizenship. This is an open sore that needs to be healed.

Furthermore, my advocacy for public transit and the daily Pittsboro Express Bus Service to UNC has resulted in the same drumbeat from a certain minority who mistake personal invective for factual discourse. I will continue to advocate for transit and will work with regional players to make sure that public transit (enhanced bus service), pedestrian planning, bicycles and light rail are at the forefront of land use decisions.

Finally, I have consistently supported the workers who were striking in Moncure , NC. (Moncure Plywood.)

4. 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 have a strong track record of bringing leaders from different cultural, socioeconomic and political communities together. My list of endorsements includes citizens and elected officials from across the political spectrum. For instance, the leaders from Moore County who endorse me are Republicans while at the same time I have strong support progressive leaders and leaders in the African American and Hispanic Community. The campaign is focused on Team Pittsboro and collaborative relationships. I consider "Team Pittsboro" to be: the dedicated Town Board of Commissioners, hard-working town staff, many tireless citizen/volunteers, local business owners, and other regional partners who work for a better Pittsboro.

5. Do you support Chatham County's recent use of stimulus funds? Why or why not? How would you have used those funds differently?

To the extent that the county is investing their stimulus funds in the school system and their infrastructure I endorse their efforts. As for Pittsboro, "Team Pittsboro" worked hard in both rounds to get funding and we were fortunate to receive the ARRA grant for over $2.6 million dollars.

These projects we submitted were approved as part of our capital improvements budget, which was approved by Town Resolution on June 8, 2009. The existing wastewater treatment plant was built in 1961 and is in need of constant care and updating. The "wet weather" improvements referenced in the ARRA grant were brought to the Town's attention as a result of a series of engineering studies we commissioned to study our aging infrastructure. These improvements will improve the plants hydrological capacity as well as the quality of the effluent discharged to Roberson Creek and Jordan Lake. Furthermore, the upgrades will balance the plant's systems so that in the event of a large rain event the plant does not overflow. Finally, the extra capacity will allow the Town to allocate sewer capacity to potentially new users and business owners who need it.

For example, I am a strong proponent of allocating extra capacity to the downtown district and owners of existing buildings in order to stimulate growth downtown and in the Chatham Mill area of Pittsboro.

6. In the past, residential and commercial growth was held back by wastewater and sewer plant inadequacies. The recent American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) funding for the sewer plant will allow approved projects to begin. But. What about future residential and commercial growth? How will you ensure the sewer plant and wastewater treatment stays on par with the county's growth?

The key is for the municipal leadership and the County leadership to collaborate on a joint planning and growth strategies. Please see my statements in this regard:

7. We are in a national recession, and more than half of Chatham County's residents travel outside the county for work. How do you plan to bring more jobs to Chatham County? How will you encourage economic growth?

I have been serving on the Chatham County Economic Development Corporation Board for almost four years. Cooperating with a cross section of leadership we now have a long-range strategic plan strategy for job creation. I support the "small mart" revolution and Main Street programs. My wife and I are also strong proponents for locally grown food, culture, and business. We have even designed and installed a billboard on 15-501 endorsing this concept. (Please see attached PDF.)

I support rural broadband and potentially a municipal broadband network. (Please see attached PDF.)

Ultimately, it is important to make Pittsboro and Chatham County a place where people want to live and work as opposed to have to live and work.

8. Does Pittsboro need a downtown revitalization? Why or why not?

Yes. We need to continue to support the downtown district and pursue strategies for allowing outdoor dining and festivals. I am pursuing funding for a small area plan that would evaluate the area between the general Store café and the old PTA Thrift Shop on Salisbury Street. (One block west of Hillsboro Street and near the City Tap.)

To that end I also chaired the successful mixed beverage referendum, which has helped two downtown businesses, the General Store Café and the City Tap and will ultimately lead to more mixed use and music and dining establishments downtown. Finally, we were firm with the Pittsboro Express Transit route in that one of the stops is down town.

9. Do you support the proposed Major Corridor Plan for the county? Why or why not? How will you ensure Zoning and the Land Conservation & Development Plan required to implement the Major Corridor Plan, is equitable and fair to Chatham County's citizens?

Pittsboro has had a major corridor-zoning ordinance for years, which has addressed planning, and zoning on 15-501 and the US-64 bypass. To the extent that the major corridor ordinance will not hurt citizens, eliminate the potential for the type of sprawl exhibited on Capital Blvd in Wake County and encourage commercial development to occur in logical and coherent places with the municipalities I endorse the effort.

10. 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.

There is always room for improvement and our grassroots door to door listening tour of town is designed to obtain feedback from citizens regarding water, sewer, public safety, downtown revitalization, parks and recreation, arts and culture, and restaurants. Given that we can always improve, I believe the town board has made major strides over the past two years. In no particular order:

(In the following list 'we" refers to the Town Board which is the Mayor and the five Town Board Commissioners. In Pittsboro the Mayor chairs the meetings and does not vote unless the board is shy a member and/or a member recuses himself or herself to avoid a potential conflict of interest. In those cases the Mayor would vote to break a tie.)

1. We have passed numerous resolutions supporting local and regional causes. Most recently we supported Habitat for Humanity and Women's Health day in Pittsboro.

2. We have unanimously supported the new Pittsboro Express transit service to UNC

3. We supported placing "liquor by the drink" on the ballot.

4. We lowered taxes. (One cent on the tax rate for FY 2009/2010.)

5. We balanced the budget.

6. We have a large reserve of funds for a "rainy day" and/or important projects in the Town.

7. We have consistently tried to improve the water treatment plant including a big project this past year and we have hiring more staff to run the plant continuously and test water.

8. We recognize that the future is not with the existing plant and we have executed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with Chatham County, OWSA, Durham, Raleigh, Cary, Apex,, et al to build a modern plant on the west side of Jordan Lake which in the future will provide high quality water to the region. Pittsboro will receive seven million gallons per day.

9. We adopted our first capital improvements plan in June of this year.

10. Utilizing a grant we created and adopted our first pedestrian master plan for Pittsboro.

11. We have modernized our planning and zoning ordinances. For example, owners of buildings in the C-4 downtown district can now live and/or lease space on the second and third floors of these buildings. (Some citizens are doing this today.)

12. We held our first staff/board retreat in January of 2009, which was facilitated by leadership from the UNC School of Government. This retreat helped guide and shape the FY2009/2010 budget process, the planning process and governing process.

13. We are in the last leg of finishing the exhaustive Land Use Plan for the Town of Pittsboro with the Triangle J Council of Governments. (The draft of the plan is available for review at town hall.)

14. We modernized our recreation fee structure for upcoming development.

15. We passed a landscaping ordinance for future commercial development.

16. We support the Chatham County EDC and now contribute funding to the EDC.

17. We have worked with and supported the Town's ABC Board. Today the Pittsboro ABC Board is profitable.

18. We have exhaustively studied our water and wastewater production and distribution system.

19. We publish a "capital projects" report and update for every Town Board meeting.

20. For over three years we have had our minutes transcribed and published so the public can get a clearer understanding of the business of Town government.

21. We have hired an extra planner specializing in recreation. The planner has been managing the Town's PART-F grants and the construction of the new town park in Powell Place and the expansion of the Kiwanis Park on Credle Street.

22. We have created the position for an assistant manager/finance director and subsequently hired a finance director. This position has allowed the Town Board and citizens to get a clearer picture of the cost of local government and aided the board in planning for the future. (Finance Director Scott Borror has resigned effective 9/18/09 and is moving back to the Midwest. We will miss him. The Town will be advertising to fill this position soon.)

23. We have been aggressive with grant applications and in the past three months received grants for public safety totaling over $250,000 and $2,634,000 for improvements at the waste water treatment plant. (The project has already been let out for bid and construction we begin soon.)

24. We have supported new equipment and training for public safety including computers and cameras for the vehicles.

25. After ten years we have moved the 3M reuse water project forward and the system will soon be operational. We will be also be receiving a donation of 54 acres from 3M for future park development.

For more information please call me and/or view our web site at: www.randyvoller.com

Thank you,

Mayor Randolph Voller

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