Commission candidates: Kenny Talton, Republican, District 2
By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 21, 2012 1:50 AM
The News-Argus posed three questions to candidates for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Following are the responses of Republican Kenny Talton of Mount Olive who is seeking election to the District 2 seat.
1. The budget is perhaps the biggest duty a commissioner has. What is your assessment of the current budget and tax rate? What are your budget goals and ideas?
"I know the taxpayers want the best bang for the buck. They want to think that their commissioners are acting in their best interest by using their tax dollars in the most efficient way possible. What I have seen lately, when you examine the problems we have had with our payroll system, the 911 communications, to me you can't help but ask yourself who is behind the decision-making process here, and if they really understand the importance of the needs and how it affects the operation of the organization.
"As a concerned citizen, if we are spending this much money on a $10 million communication system, and $200,000 on the payroll system -- I can't help but wonder how much more we are spending on failing products.
"I do have a concern with the tax rate at 70.25 (cents per $100 0f value). I think that to raise taxes during these economic times where the average increase in taxes was 14 percent, I think that was wrong. I think it was inexcusable to raise taxes during the worst economic times since the Great Depression. I cold not fathom why they did that especially with the public opposition."
2. The county has been able to pay cash for recent facilities projects. What are the remaining facilities needs, including schools, and how would you pay for them?
"I have always said when it comes to capital projects, I agree with (Commissioner) Steve Keen on this issue -- we need a capital improvement plan. If we do not have a capital improvement plan, how are we going to know how to spend those dollars for the improvement of any real property in Wayne County?
"Without a plan, to me, the payment plan is irrelevant. I don't see how you would determine how you are going to pay for anything. Capital improvement projects need to be prioritized.
"Once prioritization and cost are determined, the county should be able to develop a framework for spending cash on hand to fund current and future capital needs or, if our plan illustrates that our needs outweigh our cash on hand, then we may need to consider an alternative means of financing like floating a bond, but only with consent of a taxpayer-supported referendum.
"Schools go back to the capital improvement plan. We need to go back to the plan, the population and economy has changed since then.
"Regardless, these plans need to be reevaluated every two to three years."
3. What would be your goals and objectives as commissioner?
"Back to the tax rate, I would like to see that tax rate go back to the true revenue neutral rate.
"I know in Mount Olive we did not have partisan politics. We had to work together to accomplish goals. I would like to bring that concept to county commissioners. I know we are all going to have difference at times, but I would like to see more unity and working together to resolve problems and issues in county government.
"In my district, what I have seen after talking to constituents, specifically residents in Dudley, I would like to see recreational programs and facilities, and individual enrichment programs for children and youths within these communities.
"Crime is another issue. I'd like to see law enforcement efforts stepped up with more of a presence in southern Wayne County."