A look at incumbent Michael Fiocco's campaign for Pittsboro Commissioner

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Pamela Baldwin and Michael Fiocco, long-time members of Pittsboro’s Board of Commissioners, are seeking re-election as commissioners — but they’re joined on November’s ballot by political newcomer James Vose, a 20-year county resident who’s lived in Pittsboro the last two years.

The top two vote-getters among the three will earn four-year seats on the board.

Here’s a closer look at Fiocco's campaign.

 

Full name: Michael Angelo Fiocco

Date/place of birth: Miami, Fla.

Current occupation: Partner in Civil Consultants, Inc. a Land Planning and Civil Engineering firm and Co-owner, with Jamie Fiocco, of Flyleaf Books, an independent book store.

Campaign website/social media: None.

Family: Jamie Fiocco, wife.

Party affiliation: Unaffiliated.

Current and previous elected offices held or sought & terms of service: Pittsboro Commissioner since 2009.

Campaign manager: Me.

Campaign treasurer: Me.

Why are you seeking this office?

I’ve served the people of Pittsboro for 12 years as Commissioner and have been encouraged by constituents to continue to represent them. I am willing and able to continue to serve.

What is your understanding of the responsibilities of the office you seek, and in one sentence, why do you believe you’re qualified to fill that role?

 A Commissioner is entrusted with numerous responsibilities of service to the community and for providing timely and thoughtful leadership decisions for the just, sustainable, and smart growth of the community.

In one sentence, I have the temperament, perspective and work ethic to process the myriad concerns of the Town in a timely manner in order to promote the public health, safety, welfare and smart growth of the community.

One of the most important decisions that elected officials make is on the annual budget, which includes spending and tax rates. Do you have a budgeting philosophy? What’s more important to you, spending more to allocate resources to needed programs or cutting spending and keeping the tax rate low?

I believe allocating the Public dollar is the practice of making wise investments. There is a difficult balance to be achieved between keeping costs down, saving for a rainy day and making timely investments. All are critical to the sustainability of the Town and must be employed as complements to each other.

The commissioners’ main responsibility is to place votes on issues crucial to the town. What would be your philosophy on choosing whether or not to vote for an item? Do you have an example of a similar decision in the past?

 I believe it is the obligation of Commissioners to honor the law and personal rights of citizens when voting on matters and for ensuring opportunity and long-term prosperity for everyone.

Pittsboro’s water contamination is one of the most critical issues facing the town’s elected officials and staff. Regular water pollution affecting people’s health and costing the town more money than it would spend under different circumstances. How will you find the balance between prioritizing residents’ health, using town resources responsibly and giving appropriate attention to other important initiatives?

The issue of contaminants in the Town’s water supply taken from the Haw River is a critical matter. It is an issue that effects many throughout the Cape Fear River basin but is felt acutely in Pittsboro as we are the only municipality pulling water directly from the Haw. Other nearby communities have the benefit of larger water bodies such as Jordan Lake from which to pull their water where the increased volume provides for dilution in the concentration of the contaminants. As such Pittsboro has had to take on the burden of making substantial investments in our water treatment processes which has been done on a system wide scale in order to serve the community as a whole. We expect this system to be fully functional later this year. We also seek to reduce the contaminants in the water supply from upstream contributors and to gain financial assistance with the cost of removing contaminants by means of advanced treatment.

Chatham Park plans to introduce 50,000+ residents to Pittsboro (which is now about 4,500) over coming decades. Overseeing such development is one of the board’s most frequent tasks. The topic comes with some conflict, especially between the pro-development community and environmentalists. What is your philosophy with respect to development and growth and the rapid change that is coming to Pittsboro?

 I have been a member of the Board since 2009 and much focus during my tenure has been on the Chatham Park project. As such I’ve been involved in many aspects of the project and contributed to keeping the project vision one of balancing economic and environmental sustainability. Chatham Park has always provided a challenge to Pittsboro, as it would for any municipality, but the timing of the project occurred when the Town was small (still is) and the economy of the nation was in turmoil. The opportunity presented was at times all-consuming. The use of the concept of the Additional Elements was a great tool to enable the project to get established while taking the necessary time to “cross the t’s and dot the i’s." Six years later eleven of the twelve Additional Elements have been adopted and they establish development requirements unique to Chatham Park. Many of these requirements are likely to be the basis for Town wide regulations as the UDO continues to be developed. Today however, unique to Chatham Park are the following requirements:

• allocation of areas for Tree Protection and Preservation

• dedication of Open Space at an increased volume from Town Standard

• dedication of recreation space at an accelerated rate from Town Standard

• construction of many Parks

• adherence to greater flood protection from larger storms

• adherence to the original Jordan Rules regarding treatment for nitrogen and phosphorus

• greater limits to wetland impacts as a result of the size of the project deemed a Common Plan of Development

• adherence to greater landscape buffer and tree planting requirements

• adherence to larger stream buffer requirements

• adherence to many features of the Dark Skies initiative

• creation and establishment of Public Arts within individual projects

• reservation of School and Fire Department Station Site opportunities

• provision of Affordable Housing (last and soon to be established Element)

Give us two goals that are specific, measurable and attainable you would have if elected.

 Increase in the quantity and quality of water and sewer infrastructure and the continued focus on a vibrant and welcoming downtown.

What do you think are Pittsboro’s three best features?

 Iconic small town architecture and feel; opportunity for economic growth; eclectic, artistic, engaged citizens.

What are three areas where Pittsboro can improve?

 Getting the word of the Town’s business out to the public. The Town can do a better job and to that end is seeking to hire a Public Information Officer. Allocating greater resources toward maintenance of our Parks’ facilities. Allowing for greater housing density and opportunities for affordable and work force housing.

If you are not elected, what steps will you take to serve Pittsboro?

 I will continue my work with the Main Street Program as a board member and as Chair of the Design Committee. I have long recognized the incredible opportunity to downtown business presented by the growth of Chatham Park creating new and additional customers. We have a uniquely distinguished downtown that is a real attraction. It cannot be replicated and with support and investment can capitalize on the growth for a thriving and vibrant down town.

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