Q&As with Floyd County Commission, Georgia Senate and Georgia House candidates, Sample Ballot and list of poll locations.
What are the top three issues you’d like to address as priorities for Floyd County?
1. The budget has been and will continue to be critical. It’s very difficult to balance the budget as well as project into the future. We continue to try to increase revenues from sources other than ad valorem, as well as being austere with spending, without raising the millage rate.
2. Supporting our existing industries and attracting new industries is key. Our commission desires to assist our existing industries, maintain stability and create growth to benefit our community. We strive to diversify our industries to protect from downturns in any one area.
3. Safety and health. We have worked hard to complete our three-year plan of salary increases for law enforcement and will monitor it so we don’t fall behind again. We have joined the city in a health clinic and believe that, over time, this will be a tremendous benefit to our employees as well as our overall health budget.
Describe some concrete steps the County Commission should take to address the local opioid crisis.
The County Commission has joined many other cities and counties in litigation involving opioid manufacturers and distributors. The board also recently adopted the Stepping Up campaign and will get a committee together to implement many of those strategies. The program is a national initiative to reduce the number of people with mental illness in our jails. Over 2 million people with serious mental illness are imprisoned each year; some also suffer from substance abuse problems. This plan supported by private, medical and government groups, and helps with developing a plan to budget treatment access and promote alternatives to incarceration. We have lots of work to do but are moving in the right direction. Also, one of our SPLOST projects provides for more medical beds at the jail to meet needs due to the closing of Northwest Georgia Regional Hospital. The project is scheduled to be completed in mid-2019.
What can, or should, the County Commission do to attract more goodpaying jobs to the community?
Our focus should be, and is, to recruit new industry and develop existing industry expansions through competitive but fair tax abatement structures that won’t unnecessarily burden our existing tax base. We must be proactive in adapting new strategies to avoid being left behind. We can’t operate in a vacuum, we must research what has made similar communities successful. The county and city teams work together to provide a single point of contact for economic development, a one-stop shop for new and existing industries. Our community has to work a little harder to attract industry in respect to interstate accessibility, but adds to our quality of life when competing with communities in Georgia or other states. Our assets continue to be our people, our resources such as water and land, and our educational opportunities. We have a story to tell and we are focused on not just today but the future.
What are your personal strengths; the qualifications, interests and experience you would bring to the County Commission?
My personal strengths: Accessible to the voters, fair, dedicated, determined, committed to principles, honest, understanding, compassionate, patient, consensusbuilder. I have been privileged to serve on the Commission for six years, as chair for the past two, and this has given me the opportunity to build relationships with our city, chamber, sheriff’s office, court system and first responders. I have spent a tremendous amount of time serving our community in economic development efforts and I am passionate about growing our economy. I have the experience to continue to move our county forward. I am a native Roman and have worked in the financial industry for over 30 years. I have had the opportunity to assist clients in good and bad markets. This experience has helped me as I deal with budget challenges, working to balance our budget, make good sound decisions and understand the importance of working together.