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ELECTION 2020: Hartsell seeks to keep council seat

One of the three incumbents running for two available positions on the Norwood Town Council says he is not a politician, but just someone who cares about the town.

Wes Hartsell is running with fellow council members Robbie Cohen and James Lilly along with newcomers Darryl “Pork Chop” Gerald and Tracy Harris.

Hartsell lived in the southern part of Cabarrus County before going to college. He then worked and lived in Salisbury for 29 years while working for a small shop manufacturer, Perma-Flex Southern.

He became a manager of the plant. He said that experience has helped him to be an effective council member. Hartsell said he is “mechanically inclined” and has technical expertise in things like plumbing.

Hartsell said his family had a lake house in Norwood, where eventually he would live full time.

The incumbent first joined the town council as an appointee when then-council member John Mullis became the town manager for Norwood.

Hartsell first got involved with the town’s politics, he said, when he tried to put a new building on a property and the issue went between zoning and council meetings.

“I was kind of disenchanted with the zoning board at the time,” Hartsell said, so he asked to join the zoning board.

He decided to run in 2020 in part, he said, because he cares about what happens to the town.

Norwood is unique in the sense of a town its size having a water and sewage treatment plant, he said. Along with fellow incumbent Cohen, Hartsell has been part of the Yadkin Regional Water Supply Project in conjunction with Union County.

Hartsell said he wants to see the county follow through with the project including a pipeline to Union as well a new water intake and pump station on Lake Tillery.

“Unfortunately, the plants were operating for a long time with no upgrades. The water treatment plant is in pretty good shape, but the sewage plant is in horrible shape,” Hartsell said. “We are in the process of starting a $4 million project to completely redo (the sewage plant). Nothing has been done to it, practically.”

If Norwood had twice the water customers, he said, with the plant operating at 50 percent to start with, the town would have enough customers to take care of the revenue for the town. The increased water rates, he added, were dictated by the state to prevent the state from taking over operations of the plant.

“It’s of interest to me to follow through with these projects,” Hartsell said.

Other issues important to Hartsell include downtown revitalization, like on Campbell Street, and the creation of the farmers market area.

“I want to follow through with Campbell Street…to make it a more viable downtown area,” Hartsell said, adding with Norwood being a gateway to Lake Tillery, the town needs to do more to attract people.

Trash pickup is also an issue for the town, Hartsell said, adding “people dump so much trash out and expect the town to pick it up.”

With everything in the world going up in price, he said the town has been trying “to keep the budget in line to keep from increasing taxes, which so far we’ve been able to do.”

Hartsell said he wants the council to back up Town Manager Scott Howard on cost-cutting measures, saying it’s not Norwood’s responsibility to mow state roads or picking up “tremendous amounts of trash.”

Hartsell said he wants to be a genuine person who cares about the town and he likes to work with people.

“I have been and I think can continue to be of value to the town.”

About Charles Curcio

Charles Curcio was the sports editor of the Stanly News & Press from 1999-2001 and has currently served in the same capacity since 2008. He was awarded the NCHSAA Tim Stevens Media Representative of the Year and named CNHI Sports Editor of the Year in 2014. He has also been honored twice by the North Carolina Press Association.

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