Lydia Lavelle is Carrboro’s Mayor Pro Tempore and has been a member of the Board of Aldermen since 2007. She recently filed as a candidate for mayor in the 2013 election.
Daily Tar Heel staff writer Claire Ogburn spoke with Lavelle to discuss her platform and what she sees as the biggest issues facing Carrboro.
DAILY TAR HEEL: Why are you running for mayor of Carrboro?
LYDIA LAVELLE: I think Mark (Chilton) has done a wonderful job as mayor. When I learned that he would not be seeking re-election, I started to consider the possibility of running for the position.
Several members of the community also approached me about running, and after much consideration and discussion with my family, I decided to give it a go.
DTH: What do you see as the most critical roles for Carrboro’s mayor?
LL: While the mayor should be a spokesperson of sorts for the Board of Aldermen, I also believe the mayor has the unique opportunity to promote the town in other ways, such as representing the board on groups that are composed of leaders from other jurisdictions, and serving as an ambassador for the community.
DTH: Are there any parts of Mayor Chilton’s legacy you’d like to continue?
LL: Mark has highlighted transportation alternatives as one of his priorities for many years, as have I. I would promote these by continuing to build our sidewalk network, supporting our transit system and keeping Carrboro the most bicycle-friendly town in North Carolina.
Additionally, I admire Mark’s commitment to social justice issues, and I hope that we — myself and the board — will continue to make our voices heard.
DTH: What initiatives would you like to pursue?
LL: In addition to transportation alternatives, I would like to focus on continuing our search with the county for a site in Carrboro for a new library, continuing the work of our Affordable Housing Task Force and identifying ways to develop synergy around the opening of our first hotel in Carrboro.
DTH: How would you change or improve on cooperation between Carrboro and Chapel Hill/Orange County?
LL: As an Orange County elected official, I have had numerous opportunities to get to know elected leaders on the other boards in Orange County, and I believe this type of interaction helps improve communication between the boards. This cooperation is key not only at the elected level, but at the managerial level as well.
I believe with open communication and shared goals, we can work together to tackle issues that affect all of us. We may not agree on every solution to every problem, nor should we, but we should have open, respectful dialogue about issues that affect all of us.
DTH: How do you think Carrboro needs to approach economic development and expansion in the near future?
LL: Carefully. Carrboro is well-loved because we have been doing things right, and we need to be careful not to lose our identity with development and expansion. That being said, economic development is the way to increase our tax base, through property and sales taxes.
One specific example I am excited about is the town’s newly acquired property located at 203 S. Greensboro St., currently used for parking. This property represents an opportunity for some type of public-private partnership, and I look forward to discussing the various options we can consider for this prime piece of real estate.
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