02/27/08 — Daughtery to challenge Best for commission

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Daughtery to challenge Best for commission

By Matthew Whittle
Published in News on February 27, 2008 1:48 PM

Hoping to bring change to the Wayne County Board of Commissioners, Joe Daugh-tery has decided to run for the Republican nomination for the District 6 seat currently held by Democrat Jack Best.

"I have decided to run for this seat after many days of careful thought and discussions with many residents in and out of the district," Daughtery, 57, said. "Although I consider Jack as a friend, I feel I can bring a more conservative voice and bring fresh ideas and perspective in finding solutions to the diverse challenges facing our county."

But the only way to do that, he said, is to get elected to the commission.

"I think it's time for some changes to take place," the Walnut Creek resident said. "I have seen in Wayne County over the last two decades, the same faces and the same ideas, and I just feel like if we're going to change, we've got to change the faces.

"We've got to get some new ideas on the board."

It's a philosophy that he extends to the relationship between the commission and the school board -- even with the recent progress that has been made on the school facility plans.

"We've heard that before," Daughtery said. "We are only going to get the same results with the same input from the same board members. Solutions can't wait another four years, we must find solutions now."

He is, he said, in favor of holding a bond referendum sooner, rather than later.

But he doesn't want to be a "one-issue candidate."

There are other things he is interested in working on as well, particularly after helping create the county's current comprehensive plan.

One is the county's property tax rate.

"Everyone dislikes paying taxes but they are necessary," he said. "Citizens don't mind paying taxes if they know (the money is) being spent wisely and that there's a purpose for it."

The problem is that the commissioners don't seem to have a good reason -- not with the total restricted and unrestricted fund balance reaching more than $40 million, he said.

"That is not, in my estimation, a valid reason for overtaxing property owners," Daughtery said.

And that is why he says he would not support the quarter-cent sales tax referendum without a promise to make it revenue neutral by lowering the property tax rate.

He also is pushing for the commission to take a more active role in advocating for the county's transportation needs, including the connection of I-795 to I-40 and especially the improvement of U.S. 13 from Goldsboro to Greenville.

"Greenville is growing as a regional hub. It's not only for shopping," Daughtery said. "That (road) is a lifeline for the university (East Carolina) and its health care system (Pitt Memorial)."

Other concerns include the lack of commission opposition to the redesigned U.S. 70 and Beston Road intersection, the lack of minimum housing standards in the county, and the upcoming re-drawing of county district lines after the 2010 census.

The problem, he continued, is that local government is not always as responsive to residents as it should be, and he thinks his background in business -- currently the president of Tarheel Housing Center Inc. -- and in county politics -- most recently serving two terms on the county Board of Elections -- helps make him the most qualified candidate.

"There are a lot of reasons why I want to be on the board," said Daughtery, who first ran for the board in 2000 against Ken Gerrard. "I think the commission sometimes forgets that their decisions affect the lives of real people. I want to make local government more user friendly for the citizens. I will always vote with people in mind, not government agencies or departments, and I will always work to be helpful, open-minded and compassionate."