Pam Limes says that deciding to run for mayor wasn’t a decision she made lightly, but after much thought she decided to take the plunge.
“Jumping into the mayor’s race wasn’t an easy choice to make, but I believe I have the background, the temperament and the experience needed to work with people from all walks of life that will result in positive changes for our community,” she said.
Limes submitted answers to several questions posed by The Times-Gazette in a recent questionnaire provided to her and her opponent, incumbent Republican Drew Hastings. She said she doesn’t believe the savings from switching fire coverage are what were promised, and she opposes building an uptown plaza in Hillsboro.
Limes, a Democrat, said Hillsboro is her hometown and “I care deeply about its future.” She said she has been concerned about many of the decisions and actions taken by Hastings, and decided to run for the office rather than just complain about “how things are.”
“One important goal is to ensure both city employees and citizens at large are treated with respect and dignity,” said Limes. “By everyone working together, we can achieve success.”
Limes cited business and industry, upgrading the infrastructure and reducing the drug problem as her top priorities for Hillsboro.
“I am not naïve and know it’s a challenge to bring new industry to Hillsboro,” said Limes. “But I will work closely with not only city officials, but county, regional and state agencies to seek out opportunities.”
Limes, 67, said she disagrees with what she called Hastings’ philosophy that Hillsboro should be a “feeder” community to Wilmington and other larger cities.
“It’s important not only to look for new companies to locate here, but to retain those who are already established,” said Limes, citing Pepsi as the “latest business to announce it’s leaving Hillsboro.”
Limes said, “Bottom line, when Hillsboro loses businesses, it loses revenue for the city. And when we bring business and industry to town we increase city revenue and provide employment for our residents.”
Limes said it’s important to upgrade the infrastructure by using the latest technology so industry and people will chose to locate here. She said that to attract business, “we must have strong systems in place – water, sewer, streets, healthcare, law enforcement, fire department end emergency medical services.”
Limes said she would focus on reducing the drug problem, calling it an issue “that hurts so many people and their families.”
“Realistically, this is the biggest challenge we face today, and unfortunately, it’s an ‘every city’ issue. I will work hard to find available resources to address the issue. I will support the groups and individuals within the city and county who are working to combat this problem and find real solutions,” she said.
Limes said addiction is a health issue “that is damaging our community and most importantly destroying the lives of many of our citizens.”
Limes has a BS degree from Miami University at Oxford, Ohio, in Applied Science. She was manager and sole proprietor of Limes Jewelry in Hillsboro from 1977-83, an executive secretary for Gulfstar Inc. in St. Petersburg, Fla., a legal secretary and paralegal for various offices including Coss & Greer locally, an office manager and administrative assistant for various companies, and most recently an executive assistant to the CEO of Highland District Hospital from 2000-2011. She was married and divorced many years ago.
Turning to the dominant issue of Hastings’ tenure as mayor, Limes said that “together with many others, I favored keeping the Hillsboro Fire Department,” calling it “a department respected for not only its firefighting abilities, but also known for its excellence in EMS services (sometimes called life squad services).”
But she said, “What’s done is done, and I’ve moved on.”
However, Limes disputed the savings Hastings has often claimed about switching fire coverage from the city’s own department to the Paint Creek Joint EMS/Fire District.
“I don’t believe the promised savings have been realized,” said Limes. “Our residents should feel secure in the police and fire services that are provided to them. When those services were contracted out to Paint Creek, I felt it was risky. Not because the Paint Creek firefighters/EMS were not qualified, but because the city lost its control and has no vote on the fire district board.”
Limes added, “Now it’s come to light that there are internal problems with Paint Creek, and I’m concerned once again about how this might jeopardize our city’s contract for services. What will happen when the current contract is up?”
Limes opposes Hastings’ proposal to build a plaza in the uptown Hillsboro area.
“I had a conversation with the mayor long before thinking about getting in the mayor’s race,” she said. “At that time I told him I thought it was backward – we need business first.”
Limes said that people need more reasons to go uptown before a plaza is built. “While there are a number of great businesses uptown now, we need to expand that number to support a plaza before using city resources to fund and support it,” she said.
Limes said the cost of the project does not seem realistic, based on initial figures, and said a detailed cost report should be made available to the public.
“When the idea was introduced, we were told that town hall meetings would be held with everyone invited to give their opinion on the idea of a plaza,” she said, adding, “That never happened.”
Limes said that economic development promised by Hastings four years ago has not materialized.
“In his last campaign, my opponent said he would ‘bring two Weastecs to town,’” said Limes. “That hasn’t happened, and it wasn’t realistic when he said it.” She said people were told that a TV reality show and a skating rink would bring business to Hillsboro.
Limes said that the Hillsboro Uptown Business Association’s mural project was stopped by Hastings, and that businesses have moved or shut their doors, citing Dallas Music Store, Mango’s Restaurant, Beech Street on Main, Bittersweet, M&W Books, Impulse Photography and Eat as examples, “just to name a few.”
Asked to name accomplishments of which she is most proud, Limes responded, “I would rather answer this question by stating what I am most grateful for. This is because I have been on a personal journey to find grace. I learned grace is everywhere all the time and that gratitude is a big part of grace.”
Limes said, “I also learned that gratitude is simply how you express who you are and how you feel. So I am grateful for my loving family. I am grateful I had the opportunity to get a good education. I am grateful for a diverse work experience, what I learned, and the friends I made. I am grateful for the experience of traveling to many places around the world.”
She added, “I am grateful I live in Hillsboro. I am grateful for the opportunity to run for the office of mayor of Hillsboro. The experience has taken me out of my comfort zone and made me a better person in so many ways. I am proud I did it.”
Limes said she views holding the office of mayor as a privilege.
“I have no personal agenda. I want to give back to the community that has been so good to my family and me. Other than the salary legislated by city council, I give you my promise that I will not use the position for personal gain, and I will hold myself to the same laws and ordinances as every citizen.”
She said she is a “strong leader and believe that even tough decisions can be made without the use of intimidation and fear. That doesn’t mean I’m afraid to do what must be done. It simply means I will be fair and professional in my interactions with others.”
Limes said, “My work experience is diverse. Although I have been the owner of a business, I also have been an employee who reported to others. I see and understand both sides, and know that if a leader is able to build strong relationships with staff, it results in people who work hard and take pride in their jobs. It means loyalty and it means teamwork. I believe in change and know that we can never accept the status quo. And I also know we can make positive changes while keeping the essence of Hillsboro intact.”
Limes pledged to bring a number of qualities to the mayor’s office if she is successful in the election.
“I will always do my best to serve the city of Hillsboro and Hillsboro residents,” she said. “I will work every day to bring integrity, honesty, trust, respect, and common sense to the office of mayor.”
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.