How do you propose eliminating issues related to the county convenience centers?
Well, as is stands now there are no convenience centers. There is nothing convenient about driving around town with the fuel prices the way they are to dispose of yard items, etc. It is especially troubling that most of the world is finding ways to recycle and now we have made that even harder. There seems like there should be a way to open at least 4 centers in the north, south, east and west areas of the county. This would help in so many ways. To be fair to the current commissioners, I met with a few people that know the situation well and understand most of the issues we have today were a product of decisions concerning the landfill that past city and county leaders made many years ago.
What qualifies you to represent your district? What sets you apart from the other two candidates in this race?
I feel I am the most qualified person because I have been on both sides of a check. I spent many years successfully attaining budget revenue and expense goals. As a business owner, I think I have ideas on how to operate a government similar to a business — stop spending money that isn't there. You also do not create a tax or fee UNLESS all possibilities have been assessed. I do feel that I have experience understanding and managing large budgets in the private sector and at the state level.
How will you address issues regarding the county’s financial deficit? Are there areas that should not be cut?
I really believe the deficit issues can be addressed in time. It took a while to get in this shape. But the city, county, school board, chamber, development authority, CVB, etc. have all got to work as one — period. The first step is to look at each and every department to determine if it operates in the most efficient way possible using technology and people to meet expected service levels.
A taxpaying citizen should expect basic needs are met. Public safety is the most important part of that. Communities like ours now have more people dispersed among us that no longer receive care and medication they have in the past. This years legislature also passed some laws that will put more pressure on law enforcement. And I believe Georgia has 1 out of every 13 or so people under some sort of correctional control. I think its in the top five in the country. I think public safety is of the utmost importance.
Are you for or against local government unification? What would you consider the strongest argument for unification and the strongest against it?
I have looked at both sides of unification over the last year. I believe that some services just make sense to combine. And if those city and county leaders can look at those areas with no one feeling threatened and being fully informed, we can streamline where it makes sense. Let the people decide if the unification as a whole is best for us. If you read history, counties were created in the 1800's in the days of horse and buggies to make it easier for citizens to travel a day trip to take care of government business. Now we have people that obviously can get all over the area faster than that. So it makes sense to look very hard at unification.
As far as the argument against it, how it affects individuals and the families is probably the most important argument against it.
The board of commissioners currently does not hold work sessions, but school board and City Council do. Do you think the commission should hold work sessions? Why or why not?
Baldwin county has part time commissioners. It only makes sense that work sessions should be called to hear details, resolve differences, etc. It just gets the group to be more informed and the commissioners to build synergy versus the meeting time only. Especially in the times we live in now and the changes Baldwin county needs to make in the way it operates. What got us where we are won't get us to the next level.