Increase County Revenue
Revenue shortages continue to result in rising property taxes, as well as underpaid county employees - especially the police force. The current situation of aging population, property tax breaks for senior citizens, the continued expansion of the university which does not pay property tax, and a lack of new sources of revenue is untenable.
One option for greater revenue is finding new businesses to come to our county. To assist that effort, I would like to create a Mentoring Group made up of successful business owners willing to help potential startups with roadblocks or concerns that could hold them back. Some ordinances could be reviewed to see where some might need to be strengthened and others adjusted to encourage new businesses.
The local county hospital is closing its doors at the end of July and proposed new replacement hospital is still in the planning stages. There has been discussion of a new hospital being built near Georgia 400 and the old building being sold to the university to use for their nursing program, which would be an excellent solution. However, plans are being held up by legal questions and county commissioners will have to stay on top of the matter.
The new pet food plant in Red Oaks Flat Park is producing noxious odors and making residents ill, with no plan for how to contain the odor. This issue is very recent and still being investigated but as Commissioner I would action such as contacting environmental groups for help and advice, or taking legal action if it becomes necessary for the health of those residents.
Other development is proceeding without neighbors having much information about what will be built. This requires monitoring, and as Commissioner I will review current ordinances to make sure they can prevent future headaches.
Quality of Life
The local swimming pool is closing at the end of this summer with no replacement yet decided on and that is one of the very few recreation options available for children and families in the county. I agree with the commission chairman's proposal that by combining the resources of the county, city, school system and university, an aquatic center can be built that will meet the needs of swim teams, families, and senior citizens.
Other issues on my radar are internet service that is not adequate for the needs of the citizens, recycling options that need improving, and talk of an expansion of Georgia 400 through to White County. Each of these issues need continued monitoring and the strong, careful leadership I can provide, so our county continues to be the best place to live!