Ballance: Northeast needs seat

Published 6:56 pm Saturday, March 3, 2012


BELHAVEN — Lloyd Balance, one of six candidates for the Democratic nomination in the race for Beaufort County commissioner, believes it’s time for northeastern Beaufort County to be represented on the county board.
“We have very little representation from the eastern end of the county,” he said.
And when Robert Cayton of Edward chose to seek election to the N.C. House of Representatives, that left the eastern end of the county without a candidate for the panel.
So, Ballance said, he decided to enter the race.
But, if elected, Ballance said, “I will work for all the people of Beaufort County.”
Ballance believes his experience as manager for the Town of Kill Devil Hills from 1982 to 1988, a time of dramatic growth along the Outer Banks, gives him the experience he will need to be a successful member of the Beaufort County Board of Commissioners.
Many of the same issues facing Kill Devil Hills – balancing a governmental budget, addressing the community’s needs for drinking water, participating in the planning and construction of a new jail in Dare County – are issues facing Beaufort County in 2012, he said.
“I have enough experience to know how things work,” he said.
Unlike some current members of the county board, however, Ballance doesn’t think it’s a good idea to speed up revaluation of property in the county. He fears that the resulting decrease in property values that is likely to occur would give the commissioners little choice but to increase the property tax rate in order to maintain the same county services.
And while some current county commissioners have routinely said they prefer an “ad hoc” approach to addressing the long-range needs of the county, Ballance said he understands first-hand the value of long-range planning – particularly planning for the county’s capital needs.
During his tenure as manager of Kill Devil Hills, town leaders were able to pay cash for some of the community’s construction needs and avoid loans and interest payments thanks to careful, long-range planning, he said.
“You have to work to convince people that planning has a purpose,” he said. “You’ve got to have somewhere to head. You just can’t ‘ad hoc’ everything.”
Ballance said a decision needs to be made soon by county leaders on construction of a new county jail, but he admits that it may be difficult for county leaders to agree on some of the issues confronting them.
“There are going to be some tough decisions (about the new jail,” he said. “But they’re going to have to be made.”
Ballance joins a crowded field in the race for four positions available on the board in this year’s county commissioners race.
Incumbent Jerry Langley and challengers Robert Belcher, Mickey Cochran, Carolyn W. Harding and Wayne Sawyer have filed along with Ballance to seek the Democratic nomination in May to face a slate of Republican candidates in November.
Seven Republican candidates have filed to earn their party’s nomination in May. They include incumbents Jay McRoy and Hood Richardson and challengers Gary Brinn, Larry Britt, Donald Dixon, Rick Gagliano and Tony “T.J.” Keech.
In discussing his campaign, Ballance also stressed the importance of job creation and economic development in Beaufort County and believes the future economic growth in Beaufort County lies in the development of the county’s tourism industry.
“Tourism is going to be the answer to long-term economic growth in the county,” he said.
Ballance, 63, is executive director of the Belhaven Community Chamber of Commerce. He has overseen the growth of that organization’s budget by 1,000 percent. Along with his tenure with Kill Devil Hills and the Belhaven chamber, Ballance has 20 years of public and private administrative and managerial experience.
Ballance served in the U.S. Army Security Agency from 1969 to 1972 and was stationed in Massachusetts and Thailand as an electronic countermeasures and direction-finding systems technician.
He graduated with honors from Elizabeth City State University with a bachelor’s degree in history and earned a law degree from North Carolina Central University.
Ballance lives in Belhaven with his wife, Rosemarie, and has two children and two step-children. He is a member of St. James Episcopal Church and the Way Off Broadway Players. He currently serves as co-chairman of the Beaufort County Tricentennial Committee.