10/22/12 — Pate looks to unseat Gray

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Pate looks to unseat Gray

By Steve Herring
Published in News on October 22, 2012 1:46 PM

Bill Pate

The News-Argus posed three questions to candidates for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Following are the responses of Republican Bill Pate of the Saulston community who is running for 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?

The fact that the commissioners voted to raise the tax rate 17 percent, as I understand it, of course they will call it revenue neutral, but if you ask the average Joe on the street like me, my taxes went up. To raise taxes during the middle of the worst recession since the Great Depression is crazy. Back it off to 68 (cents per $100 of value).

I think if we have, and am not sure what the figure is in the budget that is sitting there in our treasury so to speak, but if there is $50 million sitting there, and it is not all tied to something, I don't see why we couldn't cut that rate a little bit and give some money back to the citizens of Wayne County -- cutting the tax rate.

That will let them keep more money in their pockets. Not only will it help them pay their bills, it will help local business because they will have more disposable income, and the more they are able to spend out in the community, the more jobs we will have.

I don't think we ought to holding that much cash money there under the circumstances with the way the economy is.

I think commissioners, as a board, need to have a little a more hands-on approach when spending county dollars. It is obvious money is being spent on things that do not go through the board. If you have a little bit more oversight then things are less likely to happen.

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?

We to modernize the current schools and there are probably some areas may even have to look at building new schools. Back to the pot of money, I know some of that has ties to different budgets. So there is probably not enough money to that. Probably a bond issue.

However, I don't think commissioners need to be the ones who make that decision. I think that you are going to have to go out and have a vote with the public. They have to be involved. After all, it is their money. But I would vote for a bond issue as a private citizen.

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

I came from economic development and jobs that is what I will continue to focus on. Small business still continues to struggle. The unemployment rate remains high. We have to create an atmosphere in this county so that business can prosper. Cutting some of this property taxes would help, especially some of these small businesses.

We want large companies coming into this county, but we want to keep our home grown folks employed and working, too.

I am still a big part of the WORKS initiative (as a founding member). I still think that is so important because the number one thing that companies look for when they move anywhere, even above facilities and that kind of thing, of course you have to have those, is a competent and available workforce.

You cannot go from high school now to say a manufacturing floor today and be proficient. By 2018, 63 percent of all manufacturing jobs will require either a two-year degree or intensive on-the-job training like an apprenticeship. We have to make sure we invest in our kids and let them know that.

That will always be my main focus, but as a commissioner have to look at the big picture but that is what I am going to push for.