Indian Trail candidates are familiar with town hall

MONROE – Nine candidates so far are running for three available seats on the Indian Trail Council and two experienced leaders are campaigning for mayor, making these races two of the most competitive on the Union County election ballot. 

Filing will continue through noon July 21 at the Union County Board of Elections.

As of July 20, all of the candidates either have experience campaigning for town elections, helping guide decisions at town hall or expressing their opinions during public comment portions of meetings. 

Mayor’s race

Mayor David Cohn has served 10 years as a town council member. He was the leading vote-getter in two elections and appointed to a vacancy created by Shirley Howe’s passing in 2020. The council appointed Cohn as mayor in February 2022 following the death of Michael Alvarez.

Dan Schallenkamp, who served on the council from 2005 to 2009, is also running for mayor. Schallenkamp has urged the council in recent months to consider reducing the property tax rate to ease the impact of increased home values. He also suggested the town better look at projects that are best paid by cash or debt that can be spread out over time. 

Both candidates are Republicans. 

Council race

The three available seats on the Indian Trail Town Council belong to Todd Barber, Crystal Buchaluk and Marcus McIntyre. 

Barber was the leading votegetter in a six-candidate race in 2019 and appointed by his peers to serve as mayor pro tem in 2021. He has led the Indian Trail Lions Club and manages a family collections and finance business. He is a Republican.

Buchaluk won a three-candidate race in 2021 to serve the rest of Shirley Howe’s unexpired term. She works as a marketing manger for Sunshine Yoga. She is an unaffiliated voter. 

McIntyre has not yet filed for reelection. The council appointed the banking executive in February 2018 to the vacancy that resulted from Monty Keistler’s resignation. McIntyre finished third in the 2019 race to return to the council. He is a Democrat. 

Clarence Alsobrooks Jr. ran for the town council in 2021. Alsobrooks, a Republican, has served on the town planning and adjustments boards. The Air Force veteran and Union West Rotary member commended Councilmember Tom Amburgey in  August 2022 for spearheading an effort to provide firefighters with trucks. 

Jonathon Baer has campaigned for council races in 2021, 2019 and 2017. Baer, a veteran, has pushed for more government accountability through his YouTube page, “Truth You Can Handle,” which includes instances in which he spoke during meetings. He is an unaffiliated voter. 

Ingrid Bardales told the council in March 2022 that she moved from a big city to Indian Trail for the small-town feel. Bardales, a Republican, asked council members Amburgey, Buchaluk and Dennis Gay why they appointed Cohn as mayor. She described Cohn as “high-density friendly.” 

John Earley also questioned the process of appointing Cohn as mayor, saying there was no advertisement, no application process and one nomination. Earley, a Republican, said it didn’t make sense for Amburgey, Buchaluk and Gay to put their tie-breaking vote to someone who has supported high-density development proejcts. 

Remarks from Bardales and Earley prompted rebuttal from council, including three of the candidates running for reeleciton.

Buchaluk echoed sentiments expressed by Amburgey that they valued Cohn’s experience to take over for the late Michael Alvarez, are still committed to low density and don’t plan on missing any meetings. 

Barber said no one expected Alvarez to pass away and vouched for Cohn’s integrity.

Cohn said he voted against more high density projects over his 10 years on the council. Cohn said he would do what’s best for Indian Trail and that he never accepted a dime from a developer.. 

Susan Sumile spoke out in March 2022 about putting a park in front of the Holly Park subdivision. Sumile, a Republican, described the intersection at the site to be dangerous with “heavy traffic, no stoplight and cars turning in from several directions.” 

Larry Dukes suggested the town better organize the development portion of its website to help residents distinguish what projects have been proposed and approved as well as the status of those projects. He also gave feedback the fiscal year budget earlier this year. The Republican has experience on the Indian Trail Planning Board. 

Heather Klaus went before the town council earlier this year to advocate for the ability for citizens, not just the town, to sell or serve alcohol on town-owned property. Klaus, a Republican, spoke in May about “irresponsible spending” and the need for a community center and a beautification committee. She co-founded Kimberli’s Place boutique.

Alliances have already formed among candidates. Klaus shared the website with her social media followers, which also promotes the platforms of Barber and Dukes. 

The Charlotte Weekly