asked candidates for the Henry County commission to state their positions regarding T-SPLOST,2013 County Budget, County property tax/millage rates, The future of Atlanta Southern Regional Airport. Wealso invited any other comments they wanted to include. (Candidates shown in order comments were received.)
, candidate for Henry BoC District 2
Below are my thoughts regarding each position you listed:T-SPLOST:Infrastructure repairs and support are very important to Henry County. We are already behind on roadrepairs and improvements, and one of the key tools that will help us meet this need is the continuation of our local SPLOST. I believe that if T-SPLOST passes, our citizens will not support increasing our local salestax rate to 8%, and it would mean the end of our locally controlled SPLOST. Therefore, I cannot supportthe T-SPLOST due to its potential impact on our local SPLOST.2013 Budget:I am disappointed with our upcoming budget. There was a better way to balance the budget rather thanincreasing taxes by raising our millage rate to fill the $10 million budget deficit. For months, I have beenproposing a three prong approach that would have balanced the budget without increasing taxes. Thethree prong approach would consist of taking up to $4 million from the rainy day fund (a double digitreduction in the Henry County tax digest is more than a normal rainy day), savings of $2-4 million bymodernizing employee benefits, and reducing all department budgets by 3-5% (excluding publicsafety). Notice there was no mention of increasing taxes by raising the millage. If elected, I will continueto work hard on making good fiscal decisions for Henry County so that we can have the opportunity togrow into prosperity by working with our citizens and private businesses.County property tax/millage rates:In order for Henry County to be successful, we need more economic development. It will be harder for usto grow into prosperity if businesses are not willing to come to Henry County because our taxes andmillage are not competitive. Currently, Henry County has a total millage rate (Schools, County, Water, andHospital) of approximately 38.5 mills. If you compare our rate to the Georgia counties that are doing welleconomically, you will see that we are already at a disadvantage (Fayette = 30.45, Forsyth = 26.4, Oconee= 25, Newton = 34). Unfortunately, if we take a hard look at our total millage and where we are headedwith potential increases, we will realize that we resemble a few of our neighbors (Clayton = 40, andDeKalb = 44). We need to work on making sure that we understand the basics of what brings a businessto our community. Low taxes and a good quality of life are the foundation of good economicdevelopment. As your commissioner, I will work hard to make sure we are competitive for our existingbusiness owners and for growing businesses that are looking for a community to invest in.