Gray seeking re-election
By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 22, 2012 1:46 PM
The News-Argus posed three questions to candidates for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Following are the responses of Democrat Bud Gray of the LaGrange community who is seeking re-election to the District 5 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 voted for the budget. I think it is a good budget, but you always have to consider the taxpayers, and I am a taxpayer. It is a good budget.
I wish we could do a lower tax rate, but right now I don't see where we can. The jail has to be redone. We weren't planning on that. If we are not careful we are going to have to build a new jail.
My budget goals are to keep things in perspective I guess, where we can still pay cash for a lot of small stuff.
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?
Sooner or later we are going to have to do a health center. I was hoping we could do an ag center some time or another, but not if we have to raise taxes. We are going to have to do it with our current funds.
We are going to have to do something about schools. What are we, 25 years behind with schools? That is going to have to come.
The old hospital (building with the Health Department and Social Services) is what, 100 years old? There are some things that you don't have a choice, just like the jail, you don't have a choice. We had to put everything else on hold to do the jail.
The Senior Center, we got the chance for the building at a good price. We had the money to do it, and have it renovate it without borrowing any money which I thought was good.
With the reserve we have the county has a good rate when borrowing money. We renovated Norwayne and Eastern Wayne using federal bonds that are interest free.
Other projects are Steele Memorial Library in Mount Olive, the new Animal Adoption and Education Center. We took over operation of the Wayne Executive Jetport. I feel good about what we have done.
As far as EMS, we appropriated funds for quick response vehicles. That is working real good.
The radio system. We didn't have a choice. The one we had was 40 to 50 years old. Mount Olive's system was the worst and was put together with duct tape and haywire. I didn't like spending $10 million either, but when you have to go to narrow band that is required by the FCC by 2013. What other choice did we have.?
We bought what we thought was the best system. I still think it is the best out there. It is so high tech it has taken this long. They have to learn it as they go. The Office of Emergency Services has taken the ball and run with it. We have come a long way. I think it something the county can be proud of. I am sorry it took so long. It is not perfect but it is about 90 percent. The paging system is 99 percent. It is great. It is a whole lot better than the old one.
3. What would be your goals and objectives as commissioner?
If re-elected I was hoping we could lower the tax rate maybe. That is going to be up to the county manager and commissioners really. I just have one little vote up there.
I would like to see the health center when we get through with the jail.
If we can do a bond and build schools -- that is going to be up to the school board, whatever they ask for. I would be in favor of a bond referendum, if the school board is, but only if they are and they ask for it. I am not trying to run the school system.
But you know right now the jail is the top priority whether we like it or not. I had rather be spending it on schools, but we don't have choice, and we sure don't want the state to take over our jail.