Vickers says he offers pragmatic view

CorrespondentOctober 28, 2013 

Al Vickers

— Al Vickers likes living in Carrboro.

“After living in several communities during my career, I found the amenities in this area very desirable and better overall than most,” he said.

Vickers, 68, is one of five candidates running for three seats on the Carrboro Board of Aldermen.

While he shares many of the same visions and values as the other candidates, Vickers said he is a problem solver.

“I am a pragmatic problem solver not an ideologue,” Vickers said. “I will approach issues from the viewpoint of what are the primary responsibilities of the aldermen to the electorate, and how are they achieved, and are the current approaches effective.”

Vickers and his family moved to Orange County in 1991 through a corporate relocation and lived in Chapel Hill until 2003. He and his wife decided to downsize, and they found a horeime in the Lake Hogan Farms community.

Vickers, an environmental engineer, has previously worked as an assistant professor at the University of Arkansas, was an executive at Frito Lay, GE, and Reichhold Inc., where he was director of environmental health and safety from 1983 to 1995. Vickers also served as Carrboro’s representative on the Orange County Solid Waste Advisory.

In his campaign pamphlet, Vickers said he values diversity.

“I firmly believe local officials should respect all diverse opinions in their community and not come to the table with a fixed agenda representing one segment of the community to the exclusion of others,” he said.

One issue that he differs from most of the current aldermen is accessing water from Jordan Lake. Carrboro has been reluctant to join a partnership to receive an allocation of water from the lake.

“The issue is maintaining an option to obtain some of the water allocation in the future if circumstances require,” Vickers said. “It is my understanding that it is highly unlikely this will be necessary or even considered until 2050.

“I believe in providing the most options for our future leaders to consider and not limiting them is appropriate,” he said.

Vickers also would like to work on providing housing for moderate salaried personnel, such as teachers, police, firemen, public employees and workers in the private sector who would like to live in the same community where they work.

If elected Vickers said he would like to find ways to coordinate services with nearby communities for greater efficiencies.

“Opportunities exist for Carrboro and Chapel Hill in public works, including trash collection, building department inspections, including new and existing construction,” he said.

“I believe opportunities also exist in fire and police protection,” Vickers said.

“The real issue in doing this is to handle properly the personnel issues involved to ensure all personnel are treated fairly and provided continued opportunities to pursue their careers,” he said.

Vickers would also like to increase the commercial tax base and thinks office and small retail, restaurants and hotels are the most likely commercial developments.

He thinks big box stores are a non-issue.

“I do not believe Carrboro has a large enough market population to attract a big box investment whether the town wants it or not,” he said.

Recently the aldermen rejected the idea of allowing a drive-thru window at a proposed bank at the bottom of South Greensboro Street.

Vickers says drive-thru windows are OK on edges of town where there is space, such as at an out parcel building at University Mall. But he would not support drive-thrus in the downtown area.


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