Name: Dwight Atkins
Address: 203 Friends Street, Pilot Mountain
Previous Political Experience: none
Community Involvement: Pilot Mountain ABC board member. He has been a member of the East Surry Arts and Academic Team, a former planner and facilitator for the Leadership Surry County Program, the PTO chairman for Shoals Elementary, a former mathematics chairman on a board for Surry Community College and was a member of the East Surry School Improvement Team.
Family: A daughter Erika, who is a sophomore at N.C. State University. His parents are Jean Atkins of Mount Airy and the late Charlie Atkins.
Occupation: A consultant in quality management systems and statical analysis.
Education: A doctorate in Mathematics Education from N.C. State University.
1. Why are you running for commissioner?
Answer: Because I think that it’s a rewarding challenge and I believe in community service. This is one of the best ways I can serve Pilot Mountain at this time in my life.
2. What could the town be doing to stimulate economic development that it isn’t doing already?
Answer: I think the town could really take better control of its assets. Right now, I think we need better coordination among the groups that promote Pilot Mountain. I think we need to coordinate the groups under the umbrella of community development. I’d like to see the town have its own marketing portfolio to supplement what we do with the Surry County Economic Development Partnership. I think the town and the commissioners should have a profile of the community they could present to potential businesses.
3. What do you think the town should do to get its financial problems under control?
Answer: One thing that they need to do is approach the town’s finances conservatively and responsibly. I think we should stay on course with budgets we approve. We need to make timely amendments to the budget and report them promptly. I think we should have complete transparency in spending that is ongoing. I think we need to be forward looking with planning, forecasting and looking at trends of things that can impact the town negatively as well as to take advantage of opportunities that can help the town. I also think we need to periodically assess the function of all the town’s policies, services and departments to make sure they continue to be effective, relative and cost effective.
4. What are your goals if elected?
Answer: My goal is for us to continue to have financial stability, to help promote policies and marketing that will help improve economic development that will enhance and improve our quality of life. Also, I’d like to help coordinate all of the efforts in the town toward a spirit of community development. I want to actively get input from citizens and try to engage more citizens in the spirit of service to the town.
5. What do you like best about Pilot Mountain?
Answer: I think Pilot Mountain is a peaceful, quiet, beautiful and safe town with lots of nice people. I think it provides a good quality of life for the people that live here that can be made even better.
6. Do you see any problems with the town? And if you feel there are problems, how do you plan to fix them?
Answer: I think that some of the problems the town has could be compounded as the town grows. For example, street improvement is going to be an issue and ways that pedestrians are able to get around safely, even through there is a safety plan. One problem is that, I think that because of some of the financial issues in the past years that has impacted some of the citizens’ view of the town’s future vitality. As we better communicate with the citizens, I think they will come to see that we really have turned the corner and things are getting better in the town. Our water and sewer rates are on par with other towns, but we are still only using 20 percent of our capacity. That’s not a problem, but how do we attract more industry? That’s a good a problem to have.
Editor’s note: Atkins said he would give up his position on the ABC board if elected as town commissioner.