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Challengers, incumbents line up in local elections

(Please note that there have been filings since the print edition. You can follow the election on our Elections & Politics site.

By Kirk Ross
Staff Writer

The mayors may have a smooth ride, but in Orange County every other elected office on the November ballot has more candidates than seats open to accommodate them.

With less than 36 hours to go in the filing period, only Mark Chilton, Kevin Foy and Tom Stevens, mayors of Carrboro, Chapel Hill and Hillsborough, respectively, are running unopposed.

(For school board filings, see story.)

On Wednesday, Frank Abernethy, 49, filed to run for Carrboro Board of Aldermen, bringing the total number of candidates to four for the three seats up this year.

Abernethy, who lives in The Villages apartments on Smith Level Road, could not be reached for comment.

Two-term board of aldermen incumbent Joal Hall Broun filed for re-election Tuesday. Should she win a third term, Broun said she would focus on affordable housing, downtown progress, making sure there are adequate recreation programs for teenagers and pre-teens, improving the town’s fiscal health and working to provide a broader commercial tax base.

Broun, 46, said aldermen will be faced with challenges as the town builds a new fire station, builds sidewalks and develops plans for Martin Luther King Jr. Park.

Improving the commercial tax base, she said, will be important in order to reduce the burden on homeowners as those projects come on line.

Broun also said she wants to see better cooperation and coordination among local governments to increase economic development in Orange County. “There’s no overall economic plan for the county,” she said. Part of that would include improving public transit between the towns.Unless there’s an effort to increase economic opportunities, she said, the county will continue to lose diversity.

Broun and Abernathy join town planning board member Lydia Lavelle and alderman Dan Coleman in the four-way race for three seats.
Chapel Hill
In the Chapel Hill Town Council race, two-term incumbent Jim Ward, 58, filed for re-election. He joins fellow incumbents Bill Strom, Sally Greene and Cam Hill and challenger David Nash in the race for four seats on the council.

Hillsborough
On Monday, incumbent town commissioner Eric Hallman filed, bringing the number of candidates in the race for three seats on the board to four. Hallman joins incumbents Evelyn Lloyd and Brian Lowen and challenger Bryant Warren Jr.
Filing season for the fall election ends Friday, July 20 at noon.

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