Jerry Oxsher, Pau Henkel, and Felina Harris were sworn in to new terms on the Troutman Town Council on Thursday night.

BY DEBBIE PAGE
debbiepage.iredellfreenews@gmail.com

Three newly elected or re-elected council members were sworn in at the conclusion of the nearly five-hour Troutman Town Council meeting on Thursday night.

Top vote-getter Jerry Oxsher was elected to his first term, while Felina Harris, appointed to the council in January after Paul Bryant’s resignation, won her first elected term.

Long- time council member Paul Henkel was also re-elected. The new council again unanimously chose him to serve as mayor pro tem for the next year. Henkel declined making comments, citing the late hour.

Harris welcomed Oxsher and expressed her appreciation for the attendees’ passion and caring for the town in which she was born and raised. “The decisions that I make are because I love my town. I love where it’s going and what is happening,” she said.

Mayor Teross Young welcomed new members and referenced the hard work before them. “The good thing about our town is we’re growing. The problem about our town is we’re growing,” he said.

After his swearing-in, Oxsher thanked his family, his wife Fiona, and his children Julian and Ella, “who remind me every day why I decided to do this in the first place.”

After thanking his mother, who traveled to witness this moment, Oxsher also thanked his deceased father, “who not only told me, but showed me by being a living example of what it means to be a leader in a community.”

“I hope he’s looking down in pride at this moment, and I hope he will be proud of the decisions I make in this role,” he said.

Oxsher also thanked the mayor and Town Manager Ron Wyatt for their calls of congratulations and for “welcoming me into the fold. It really means a lot.” He also thanked the community members who voted for him.

Oxsher asked voters “to hold me accountable for the decisions I make while I fill this position. It’s going to take all of us to get where we need to go.”

“We’ve got a lot of work to do, and we have to move forward.”

Oxsher wants to work with council members to find ways to improve the process, whether it is about in-boarding new employees or ways of disseminating information in the community.

Though the issues before council change on a monthly basis, Oxsher said, “The system we leave behind will outlast us all.”

“It is my goal to do what I can to not only leave the next generation a beautiful, amazing town that we all love so dearly, but to leave them with a system that works both with and for the community that will effectively work for the betterment of all in our area.”

Oxsher acknowledged to fellow council members that he has “a tremendous amount to learn, but I am excited and eager to work with all of you to make this town a better place for everyone.”

Mayor Young presented a Troutman logo paddle and a resolution honoring the service of outgoing council member Sally Williams.

Two-term member Sally Williams was also honored for her service with a Troutman logo paddle and a framed resolution recognizing her service.

In her farewell speech, Williams said council members make informed decisions that they believe will benefit the community, although they may be unpopular or difficult. She cited her passionate, vested interest in the town that she has lived in all her life as her reason for service on the council for the past eight years.

She defended council members as ethical people who follow a code of ethics and who do not recruit developers or businesses or receive any benefits for any decisions they make. They take the information provided by town staff and businesses or developers, as well as advice from planning board members, and then make the best decisions they can for the taxpayers.

“I would like to say how much I have enjoyed serving the citizens of Troutman. It has been my pleasure,” Williams said.

She called the town staff “a wonderful bunch of people” and called the council “family.”

“I have thoroughly enjoyed working with each of you. Please keep up the good work for our town.”

The mayor expressed his appreciation for her advice over the years and the support and service she has given. Council members Henkel, Harris, and George Harris also expressed their admiration and gratitude for her service and dedication.

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