Denny Tart to run for county commissioner
By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 12, 2008 1:59 PM
Hoping to play a role in resolving some of the remaining issues between the Wayne County Board of Commissioners and the Wayne County Board of Education, Democrat Denny Tart announced Monday that he would be filing this week for the District 4 county commission seat.
Currently, that seat is held by Republican Efton Sager, who is not running for re-election.
"I know there is a conflict between the board of education and the commissioners. I also know that has been a tradition and that they still have some of the same issues they had 20 years ago," Tart said. "I don't see that just because I'm in education now, that I can bring a solution to fix it, but I do know I can restore better communication because I have friends on both boards, and several have told me they don't like the conflict and that they want to work better together."
But Tart, currently the director of career and technical education for Wayne County Public Schools, as well as a former agriculture education teacher at Rosewood High School and the former director of continuing education at Wayne Community College, doesn't consider himself just to be a one-trick pony.
He's also concerned about how well the needs of his district have been voiced on the board in recent years.
"We need to have more representation from the southwestern part of the county," Tart said. "In the past 10 years, the northern part of Wayne County has grown fast.
"Now it's growing in District 4. We have more houses coming and we have people coming."
And that, he continued, is creating the need for more and better infrastructure, especially in terms of zoning and water and sewer lines.
Other concerns include the need to upgrade many of the county office buildings, including social services, the health department, the libraries and the jail, as well as the need for the county to figure out some way to address the growing health care crisis on a local level.
He also said he would like to stop Wayne County from simply being a training ground for firefighters, law enforcement and emergency medical personnel before they move onto higher-paying jobs elsewhere.
But among his highest priorities is to try to address all of those things without raising property taxes.
"I was raised up on a farm," he said. "My grandfather taught me how to take a rusty bolt, take two to three hours to clean it up with kerosene and then keep it, rather than just going to buy a new one from the store for five cents.
"That's what I'm ready to do with the county commission to fix some of the problems it's had.
"I believe in keeping programs and repairing them, rather just dropping them and buying new ones. Taxes and funding for programs have always been issues when I've talked to people. I think our property tax is as high as we need it."
He did, however, indicate that he is supportive of the local option quarter-cent sales tax referendum, which also will be voted on during the May 6 primary.
Most important, though, Tart said, is the fact that he simply feels he's the right man for the job.
At 53 years old, he explained that he believes that he is young enough and connected to technology enough to help bring the commission into the 21st century, but that he also has enough experience with budgets and managing people that he can understand the county's business.
He also believes that he would be more approachable than many of the current commissioners.
"There are people who don't understand how they can talk to a commissioner," he said. "I think I'll be the easiest commissioner to talk to."
But the bottom line, he continued, is that with a history of public service in his family -- his father, John Tart was a former state representative and Wayne County commissioner -- he simply felt it was his time.
"He and I have discussed what it takes to be a county commissioner, but I personally feel that today, it is my time to step up and provide leadership for Wayne County," Tart said.
And, added county attorney Borden Parker, if Tart wants to remain employed by the school system while serving on the county commission, there would be no conflict of interest.
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