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Ward B battle

AHOSKIE – The Tuesday, Nov. 3 municipal election features a contest for Ahoskie Ward B town council. Incumbent Maurice Vann is being challenged by Donald Kim Kirkland.

Vann has been a councilman on the town board for about eight years and has made tough decisions for Ahoskie and its citizens.

Vann said of his time on the board, “I serve in a highly ethical and efficient manner that places the needs of the community above my own.”

Vann has been instrumental in a variety of projects with the Town of Ahoskie.

He cited the relocation and renovation of the Ahoskie Police Department as a very important vital project that has improved safety, security, and effective law enforcement.

“The old police department building was in shambles,” said Vann. “It was important that it be modernized to make sure our police officers had a suitable home base and that the files and paperwork were brought into the 21st Century.”

He also cited the purchase of a new fire truck for the town’s fire department.

“Not only does it help the fire department better protect citizens and property,” said Vann,” it helps reduce the costs citizens have to pay for insurance because the town keeps a higher rating.”

Vann also voted to upgrade the wastewater treatment plant.

Although this project was not popular because water rates rose, Vann said it was essential because the town had been put under state sanctions and was threatened with steep fines because the plant did not meet those standards.

Vann said, “Decisions to not improve the wastewater plant 20 years ago made it more expensive to do now. This was a project that had to be done now.

“The town has to have a good infrastructure,” Vann said.

He is also proud of his vote to improve recreation for the town. Many citizens now utilize the fields and tracks to play sports or just walk their dogs.

He said the recreation center just made sense, as the town needed a place for young people and adults to enjoy. With state and federal grant monies, the town only had to pay ten percent of the cost.

“It makes a lot of sense if you’re only paying $2,000 to get $200,000 of work done.”

Vann said the town also uses Community Development Block Grants to help improve the town by using the funds to fix roads and buildings.

“It’s not much,” he said, “but it is money used to fix up the town.”

He said he’d like to see more work on downtown Ahoskie. There are discussions now about making façade upgrades downtown between the town and business owners.

“We all need to work together,” Vann said. “We need a collective voice to get some things done. We need to get everybody working together to become one voice.

“It’s about holding conversations together,” said Vann. “We can get together and work together to do what is in the best interest for our town and for

Ahoskie’s citizens.”

He added that concerned citizens should come to town council meetings and stay involved.

“People shouldn’t listen to hearsay,” he said. “Be part of the conversation. Be part of what’s going on.”

Donald Kim Kirkland, Vann’s challenger for Ahoskie Town Council – Ward B, said he is running to make the Town Council work better.

“I believe in taking action and getting results,” Kirkland said, “not excuses or procrastination which is what is happening today.

“Our Main Street buildings and roadway have been neglected for far too long,” he said. “I have been arguing to the Council to revitalize Main Street, as it is the center of our town having given Ahoskie its foundational start as well as repair our roadways and will continue to do so.”

He continued, “I will work to attract businesses with better paying jobs, real jobs, an activity center, movie theater that is safe to attend, better educational opportunities and places to learn outside of school and other ideas, all of which you have asked for but not received.

“I will continue to work with the Police Chief in his effort on returning to the Community Policing style that was the cornerstone of the police effort to provide better security for Ahoskie. I will work to remind Ahoskiens that mutual respect and communication between police and citizens that benefits everyone.”

Kirkland said, “The same bad decisions, no real leadership, no debates, no real open and honest dialogue exist on the council and I will work diligently to change this behavior.

“Anyone who has been in Ahoskie long enough,” Kirkland said, “knows full well Ward B has been neglected for years and I will work to fix this issue. I will work hard to make sure everyone is represented equally, to include the areas in both Ward A and B forced into annexation against your will for tax dollars by the town council.”

He added, “Ahoskie has been a great town, though not perfect. We can be much better with proper leadership. I will work to fix the issues that have plagued Ahoskie within the confines of the law.

“Let’s rebuild the areas of Ahoskie that made us unique in the county and state,” Kirkland said, “doing what’s necessary to retain the youth, our greatest assets, who will be our future leaders and business owners.”

“I cannot do this alone,” he said, “as I will need your help working together to fix these issues. Let us re-earn the Title “Ahoskie – The Only One.” Real Leadership + Better Teamwork + Open Dialogue = A better future for Ahoskie.”

Next week’s election also has one seat open in Ahoskie’s Ward A. Veteran Councilwoman Elaine Myers chose not to seek re-election. Matt Bradley is running unopposed to fill Myers’ seat.