Bayless would focus on water supply to lure industry

By Kathy Helms-Hughes
STAR STAFF
khughes@starhq.com

   Charlie Roscoe Bayless is a familiar name in the 5th District of Pinecrest, Happy Valley and Milligan. Bayless also is no stranger to the Carter County Commission.
   When asked what makes him the right candidate for the commission, Bayless said, "I've got the experience, I know the people in the area, and I know what our needs are."
   Bayless said Carter County has a lot to offer which might be attractive to industry looking to locate in the area. Among the positives, he said, "We've got the best schools, I know, of any county in East Tennessee, from Knoxville this way."
   The next thing he would like to see developed is a central water source for the county.
   "I think the water is the most important issue for me if I'm elected. I'm going to back it because we need the water. It's precious. Most of the states are having droughts. We've got the water and I think that the one thing that would really draw the industry into Carter County would be the water supply," Bayless said.
   The county also has the necessary skilled manpower, he said. "We've got good schools, our tax rate is good. I think those things would be an asset to Carter County if we get the water. I think it would draw industry."
   Another thing Bayless said he would like to see developed is Highway 359 from Okolona Road to Milligan Highway.
   "We need another highway because when they open that one [interstate] in North Carolina, we're going to have a traffic jam from Okolona to Milligan to Elizabethton. That's a short route and it's a hazardous place now."
   Bayless said he has seen two road plans from Tennessee Department of Transportation for the highway but that it hasn't really gotten off the ground. "The state has let it die down," he said.
   Unlike some candidates previously interviewed by the STAR, when it comes to the issue of countywide zoning, Bayless was not afraid to speak out.
   "I'd like to see the county zoned countywide, I sure would. I voted for it," he said.
   "Maybe they would build better homes and things, if it was zoned. You hate to build a big home and then them come in and put something next to it. I think it would help the property owners and the builders that are going to build homes in Carter County," he said.
   Bayless also supports the hiring of a county finance director.
   "I think if they have this finance director it would get more things out to the commissioners. They would know about the county and where the money is being spent. The county executive has got his hands full without going through all of these other things. I think it would be an asset to the county," he said, saving wages in the long run.
   When it comes to luring industry and creating more jobs for Carter County residents, Bayless said the only thing he knows that would help create more jobs would be the water.
   "We've got the manpower, we've got real good schools in Carter County, the tax rate isn't too high; I think if we get the water supply we might get more industry. I don't know why industry doesn't come in here.
   "Maybe another thing is we don't have the land right now. We've just got about seven acres, I believe, and we're going to use that for the water plant, I hope."
   Currently, he said, "We have no land available for industry to move in here, unless we get some more."