All of them agreed the sagging economy has put the county in a financial bind, but now is not the time to raise taxes. The focus of the forum: Now what?
He said his first step would be to audit the books and prepare two budgets — one for “normal” operations, which would be monitored weekly for
revenue or expense deviations. The second would be tapped in an emergency, if a double-dip recession appears.
“We’re going to get rid of the pleasure and feel-good items,” he said.
Lewis also signed a pledge not to raise taxes and offers a five-step “First 90 Days Solution” that focuses on economic development and trimming waste.
“But the No. 1 priority of government tax dollars is public safety,” she said, so she would preserve the law enforcement, fire and emergency management budgets.
in 2008 as senior vice president of land planning for Gresham, Smith, and Partners.
“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” he said.
Bearden said he plans to cut the budget and shrink both the number of employees and the services the government provides. He promised a top-down review “to ensure we’re doing what’s necessary and not doing what’s not.”
Tidwell said the budget already has been pared down significantly. He’d look at lowering the level of services that not all residents use, he said, but privatization is not the answer.
“When you start privatizing, you lose control of what’s being done,” he said.
“Jobs. That’s the real issue in this election ... I’m the only candidate who’s been fortunate to bring a billion-dollar business to Bartow,” he said in a reference to the LakePoint Sporting Community and Town Center project in Emerson.
Taylor also noted he headed Sole Commissioner Clarence Brown’s last re-election campaign.
Brown is stepping down after 20 years at the helm, and County Administrator Steve Bradley is also leaving at the end of the year.
The five candidates are all Republicans, so the election will be decided in the July 31 primary or, more likely, an Aug. 21 runoff between the top two vote-getters.