Hyder would explore ways to put county back on track

By Kathy Helms-Hughes

STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   At 23, Steve Hyder took a look around him, saw the direction he thought the county was headed, and didn't like it. "Instead of sitting around and worrying about it, I decided to try and make a difference," he said.
   Hyder's bid for county commissioner in the 4th District is his first time running for public office. Hyder, who is a graduate of Elizabethton High School and an employee of Wal-Mart Pharmacy, said he believes he is the right candidate for the job because he has lived in East Side his entire life. "I know the people in this district, and I'm looking forward to discussing the issues and hearing their views on what can be done to improve our community," he said.
   He said he also is a fitting candidate "because I realize that I can't do it alone -- that I need the help of the people in my district as well as the entire county to get things done that need to be done."
   The issue uppermost in Hyder's mind when it comes to the future of Carter County is finding a way to bring back industry.
   "With more industry we will see small businesses grow, and with higher-paying industrial jobs we'll also see people with more money to spend at these small businesses. In the long run, the industrial tax base will help more than relying solely on property taxes to support our schools and other county needs," he said.
   Property taxes are the backbone of the county budget, and "it is the responsibility of the county to protect the investment of the homeowners against anything that might lower their property values," according to Hyder.
   "I'm for countywide zoning. The homeowners are the investors in the community and they have the most to lose by not having zoning," he said.
   Hyder is not in favor of adding new county positions, such as hiring a finance director, at a time when money is tight.
   "I feel like the job that the finance director would do is the job of the county executive, and if he needs assistance in doing that job, then he needs to ask for it after he or she is elected," Hyder said.
   "Before we put in new positions in the county, I think that we should find money to pay the teachers that we are getting ready to let go, instead of putting another person in a position to tell them to cut back because money is tight. So I think first and foremost, we need to take care of the positions that we have and not form new ones," he said.
   When asked his views on industrial recruiting, Hyder said, "I think industrial recruiting should begin. I don't know exactly what we have done so far to get industry in here.
   "I think there's a lot of people with the power to go out and actively recruit industry, but there's not enough people going out and doing it. We're sitting here and waiting for industry to come to us, and that's just not going to happen," he said.
   "We're in an area with a lot of hard-working people and we need our fair share of the industry because that's the only way we're going to get this county back on track to where it needs to be."
   Hyder said he also thinks the county commission needs to take more of an active role in industrial development.