County board candidates list their priorities

Published 5:29 pm Friday, April 30, 2010

The Bulletin recently presented several questions to the May 4 primary candidates for the Polk County Board of Commissioners.

The answers have run one question at a time throughout this week. Below is the answer to the final question to the candidates. All of the questions and answers can also be found online at
Four Republicans and four Democrats are running the primary. Voters will selected three candidates from each party on May 4.
The winners in the primary election will be joined by Unaffiliated incumbents Tommy Melton and Warren Watson in the November general election.
Question: What would be your top priorities as a county commissioner?
Ray Gasperson
I believe that county government should play a very active role in attracting new businesses and industry (that are suited to Polk County) and enhancing existing businesses. We must also constantly work to support our agricultural and small family businesses. As a Commissioner, I will always work toward making sure that our ordinances and land use planning will be written in such a way that our farms and small at home family businesses will be protected and encouraged.
I will continue to make sure that our countys finances are well managed with a healthy fund balance, and that our tax rate is kept as low as possible during these difficult times.
Expansion of our countys water system has and will remain a top priority.
Finally, I will continue to work diligently to support our county employees, county manager and department heads. Recently, I was told by a department head that during his nearly 30 years with county government, he has worked under 15 different county managers. I find this to be unacceptable. As a Commissioner, I will consistently work to have high standards for our employees, while always striving to have a stable and supportive work environment.
Margaret Johnson
My first priority would be to begin the process of creating a new, strong economic development plan so we can create jobs and support our local business and farms. When we help our working families, the quality of life improves for everyone in our county.
Another priority would be to protect the actions of the current board that have been taken to preserve the beauty and rural nature of our county.
Keeping our county government in its current stable financial position must be an ongoing priority during these challenging times.
I will also focus on providing efficient and smart government services, such as improving our DMV and car tag services. Small, inexpensive steps can be taken in many areas for an overall improvement in quality of life areas.
Rickie McFalls
There are two things that have my top priority. They are cutting taxes and finding jobs. In bad economic times some citizens have trouble paying property taxes, especially those with fixed incomes and those out of work. We must have jobs for our residents and the county commission should make every effort to encourage businesses to expand and locate here to help alleviate this problem.
Benny Smith
As your commissioner, I will be a strong voice for all the citizens of Polk County. We need to establish better communication with our commissioners and our municipalities.
All actions planned by the commissioners should have sufficient time for public review and transparency must occur by encouraging comments before action is taken. Citizens should feel empowered to become involved.
Protecting the environment and promoting future opportunities will be top priorities of my campaign and will continue within my role as your commissioner.
Growth: Collaborate with our planning board, implement our land use plan, maintain and enforce our ordinances, encourage growth opportunities.
Education: Partnering with the board of education is of utmost importance. Our children must continue to receive nothing but the best in education, guidance and community leadership.
Economic Development: Networking and collaborating with our Economic Development Board to bring in high-quality opportunities not only for retention of our citizens, but for recruiting talent into our community as well.
As citizens of Polk County, we can work together to promote cohesiveness and protect our county. As a result of our teamwork, we will be able to enjoy our community and surroundings, benefit from current successes and look forward to future opportunities to make the best even better!
Harry Denton
Taxpayer relief through reduced spending.
Recognition and support of our professional, responsible county employees
Make progress toward the countywide water system.
David Moore
I would review the current budget and see where we could cut out wasteful spending. I will vote for a sizeable tax cut that all citizens will notice as a true tax cut. Will vote to protect our citizens personal property rights.
Ted Owens
Ease the tax burden of our citizens by applying conservative financial methods to county spending.
To work with Columbus, Saluda and Tryon to complete the reserving of our water resources and to supply water to our citizens.
To work to retain our ” Quality of Life” by using the comprehensive plan as a road map.
To find ways and means to bring into the county low impact jobs and to support our local businesses.
To support all agencies in the services they provide for our citizens.
Tom Pack
To lower taxes to help the citizens in the tough economic times that we face. To create jobs by working to bring small to mid sized businesses to Polk County. To limit the local governments intrusion into the lives of the citizens as much as possible.

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