The Johnstonian News published an article on me this week about the upcoming election. Since this is only available by subscription, here is the content of the article.
Troy LaPlante is a longtime resident of Selma, where he and his wife are raising three sons.
“That means I have an interest in how much this town regulates me, my neighbors and the opportunities available to my family and fellow citizens,” LaPlante said in a Triangle Chamber of Commerce video. “I’m rather conservative about the active role of government in people’s lives.”
It’s more than rhetoric, LaPlante said. “I believe that an environment where liberty thrives is also an environment where business and property owners can thrive,” he said.
LaPlante has a degree in fire protection and works as an engineer for a cable company. He has been a member of the Selma Planning Board and the Johnston County Local Emergency Planning Committee.
“I’ve done work for federal, state and town governments,” LaPlante said. “I’ve come to realize that local municipal government is the most impactful on your daily life. From water service to the parks that your children play in, the roads that you drive on, the property taxes that you pay, your local trash pickup, the color that you can paint your house and your basic quality-of life-decisions can all be made at the local municipal level.”
In the past, LaPlante thinks, Selma has made some poor decisions. “We put our priorities into what I call nice projects, like civic centers, community swimming pools and tennis courts,” he said. “I’m not saying we should never have such things in town at all. What I’m saying is that our priorities need to be chartered and followed.”
For example, LaPlante said, Selma has public safety equipment that needs repair or updating. Instead, the town joined the N.C. Department of Transportation in what he called an unnecessary widening of Ricks Road.
“We as a town have, over the past few years, neglected maintenance, training and equipment replacement in both our police and fire departments,” LaPlante said in an email. “With the coming technology changes for police communications and the ‘end of service life’ on some of our fire equipment, we should have been budgeting and planning for replacement and maintenance rather than cutting those budgets.
“Public safety must be a high priority and is, quite frankly, the primary purpose of government.”
Selma should have made water and sewer a priority too, LaPlante said. “The Town of Selma has missed out on accommodating development because of insufficient water and sewer infrastructure to support that growth,” he said. “We have sewer lines that are over a century old and needed upgrading decades ago, and yet we’ve neglected that as a priority.
“For years, we’ve kicked the can down the road, so to speak, and we’ve not tackled the situation head-on.”
Ample infrastructure is essential to growth, LaPlante said. “There has been a little progress on some storm drains but not the larger-scale preparation for the growth that we know is already planned and more that is coming,” he said. “You cannot grow the tax base and population if you cannot allow or encourage development.”
Broadly speaking, Selma simply needs to focus on what’s most important, LaPlante said. “The biggest thing is to set appropriate priorities for our town to focus upon,” he said. “That includes maintaining public services but also public safety.”
Selma also needs more homeowners, LaPlante said. “Here in Selma, only 30% of our residents actually own their homes,” he said. “We need to bring in more homeowners to be actively involved in the community and have an interest in how much the town actually taxes them to live here.”
He added, “We need to create or maintain a business-friendly environment to encourage companies to want to locate here and become part of the Selma community.”