10/21/12 — Commission candidates: Sandra McCullen, Democrat, at-large

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Commission candidates: Sandra McCullen, Democrat, at-large

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 21, 2012 1:50 AM

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Sandra McCullen

The News-Argus posed three questions to candidates for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Following are the responses of Democrat .Sandra McCullen of Dudley, is seeking re-election to the at-large 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 think the current budget takes the revenue that we have been able to take in and does the best with it that we could. As you know Wayne County has increased its bond rating during a difficult time when banks were failing, industries were shutting down and the county was in the midst of the worst recession ever. Wayne County has been able to uphold that and have cash on hand for other r projects down the road.

"The budget has been frugal. We have done the best that we can with that and even during the last years either through attrition or retirement the number of full-time employees for the county has been reduced from 900 to 700. We are doing more with less.

"We went through revaluation and we did reduce the tax rate some. We were hoping that would be helpful to our citizens. As far as budget goals and ideals I think we should stay the course with what we can do."

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?

"The Senior Center and Veteran Services (projects), and in addition we have the Mount Olive library that is almost ready to go with will all of the planning. That is the next thing that I see on the horizon.

"Along with that we have the property we have purchased to look at for the Health Department and Social Services. Hopefully that will be one we can look at in our next round of planning. Secondly, we have asked about the schools but even before we can do the facilities, we have some big infrastructure needs.

One of those is sewer, particularly out in the Grantham community and across the county, but that particular one is a huge need.

"Along with that there is even a greater need for technology -- the hardware and all of the things that go along with it for all of our existing schools right now.

"With that said ... there is the Charles B. Aycock classrooms. I think it is 24 that are planned. That needs to come as, well as middle and elementary schools out in that area of the county. That is where a lot of our growth is happening now.

"In addition we have Spring Creek Middle and Grantham Middle schools that have needs there as well as central attendance area renovations.

"I think the only way we can pay for it is to do a bond and let the citizens vote and see if that is what they want to do."

3. What would be your goals and objectives as commissioner?

"One of those is to try and bring more consensus among our commissioners board, as well as the other boards that we work with. I think there is a need for trying to accent the positive. I think a lot of our citizens have said that over and over.

"In addition to that, we need to continue to work on this Work Ready Community initiative in the Eastern Region. Wayne County was the first county to be identified as a Work Ready as part of the first pilot.

"Another goal is planning for urban and rural needs in comprehensive land planning. As we become more urbanized, the more issues that will need to be addressed. We need to be ready for that.

"Finally, we need to bring more affordable and reliable broadband to the rural communities."