By CALVIN PYNN
Local insurance proprietor and longtime Pulaski resident Nick Glenn is looking to take the mayor’s office as he is running against current Mayor Jeff Worrell in the municipal election on May 6.
Glenn sat on Pulaski’s town council from 1984 to 1994, serving two full terms, as well as being appointed to fill the unexpired second half term for former council member Pete Crawford. He was also the former chairman for the Pulaski County Planning Commission, as well as the current chairman for the New River Valley Airport Commission.
According to Glenn, running for mayor is something he’s wanted to do for a long time, following his background on town council. He thought about running in 2012, but decided to wait due to other commitments at the time.
“The mayor directs the traffic, the council does the voting,” Glenn said. “The mayor can set the tone of the meetings, and set the tone of the community.”
“I’ve lived here all my life, and I know what’s going on with the community,” Glenn continued. “It’s just time for a new direction.
According to Glenn, that new direction is all about being more proactive as a town and community.
“We need to go out and start beating the brush for more opportunities to come to Pulaski,” said Glenn.
Glenn hopes to bring more businesses into the town, but moreover, he said that new residences would be a crucial addition as well.
“I am a firm believer that residential prospects pose a greater level of prosperity than industry necessarily does,” Glenn said.
He went on to say that new residences would bring revenue for water and sewer rates, which would be individual as opposed to discounted commercial rates. Glenn also pointed out that personal property taxes would also be an asset to the town with new residences, and would produce new jobs as well.
“If a developer came to Pulaski, built 300 housing units, and sold them for $150,000 a piece, which is basically below what the market price would be, that’s $45 million in investment,” Glenn said in a hypothetical scenario. “That’s as much as the James Hardie plant.”
If elected, Glenn looks to attract an older demographic to the Town of Pulaski. He specified that elderly people have a tremendous amount of expendable income, and could bring a large amount of support to the town.
“They don’t have children that require a school system, which saves the county money, but they do need things such as medical services, gas, food, car repair, and car purchasing,” said Glenn. “To me, it’s like an industry within itself.”
He also said that the town needs to be proactive about the Affordable Care Act, and how it affects the town. He specified that right now, it’s an issue that the town should be ahead of the curve on rather than behind.
“While it’s not fully understood, we cannot wait until Washington makes up its mind to determine the effect upon our town employees and our tax base, and thus our tax payers,” said Glenn. “It takes a lot of thought, and we need to be ahead of the curve on that.”
Glenn expressed his thoughts on the budget as well, stating that while the majority thinks it should be cut, he has a different plan for prioritizing the town’s spending.
“I think that any budget should not necessarily be cut, but should be reorganized,” said Glenn. “There are things that we don’t need to do any longer that we’re still paying big money for.”
Glenn pointed out that the town should shift some expenses away from positions that were necessary 10-15 years ago that are no longer a priority, and should be diverted back to greater necessities. One of those necessities, according to Glenn, is a new fire station.
Glenn hopes to get the town to work with the county to construct a new fire station, among other opportunities.
“I think there’s a lot more that we can do as a community working with Pulaski County to save everybody tax dollars,” said Glenn.
As for other projects in conjunction with the county, Glenn expressed interest in the Route 99 corridor to the interstate. However, he said that the town should weigh the expenses with the possible outcome, and that there may be some other things to work on first in order to draw attention to the town.
“We can four-lane Route 99 out to the interstate, but that doesn’t mean anybody is coming into Pulaski unless we market ourselves, and I think we should do that first,” said Glenn. “If we can turn around downtown to become more viable and interesting to people, more people will come off the interstate to see us.”
“We’ve got a lot of assets, and we’re building more, but I think we should build those first and then work on the grand plan to get people here,” Glenn continued.
While Glenn recognized that some work needs to be done in order to put the town on the map, he pointed out that there is a large amount of potential to work with.
“If you’re looking for something, you’ll find it mo matter where it is,” said Glenn. “It can be off the beaten track, but if it’s something you really want, you’ll go to it. We’ve got to be the thing that people want to come to.”
With all that in mind, Glenn said he was optimistic about the town’s future, as he expects to see restaurants, cafés, retail businesses, and second floor apartments downtown within the next 10 years.
As for his opponent, Glenn said that ultimately, what he and Worrell want is what’s best for the Town of Pulaski. Glenn added that he would still work to be involved with the community and suggest ideas regardless of whether or not he becomes the town’s next mayor.
Glenn currently runs Glenn Insurance Agency with his daughter, Meredith McGrady. It has been in operation since 1952 with an office in downtown Pulaski.