11/05/12 — Responsible spending tops Mayo's list

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Responsible spending tops Mayo's list

By Steve Herring
Published in News on November 5, 2012 1:46 PM

The News-Argus posed three questions to candidates for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners. Following are the responses of Republican District 1 Commissioner Ray Mayo who is unopposed in the Nov. 6 general election.

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 against the current budget because we did not have a planned capital program for the future. Also, I felt like the tax rate, even though it was called revenue neutral, in my mind was really not when you look at property evaluations versus the tax rate. I felt that we could have given a two to three cent rate less per $100 (of value) than what we ended up with.

As far as budget goals, I would like to see us scrutinize more as far as the money that we spend. I think we need to be more conservative in our budget goals and ideas, and really get more people involved in what we are doing as far as the budget is concerned. I did not have a problem with the overall budget. I have a problem with a couple of the areas.

I felt like we needed to have, and I still feel this way, that the county needs to have a larger percentage of the budget going to our schools. What I wanted to see in our school system, I want to see classroom money for supplies and things like that.

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 county has been paying cash for recent facilities projects. We need schools. We already know that. Our county offices, the jail is a big issue. We are in the process of refurbishing our jail. Those are things that we have to do, and we are able to pay for a lot of these from our reserve fund. But at the same time, we still need to keep our taxpayers in mind and not make our citizens in Wayne County feel that they are overtaxed. Most of them do feel that way in relation to their property evaluations.

We need new buildings for our county as far office buildings. Schools, we are probably not to going to be able to pay cash for all of the schools that we need to build.

At some point in time, we are going to have to look at what the citizens of Wayne County want to do as far as a bond referendum or whatever. We can pay for a lot of repairs to the buildings, which we are, from our reserve funds.

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

The No. 1 issue in the U.S. today is job creation and economic growth. That is why I am so active in the Wayne County Development Alliance, the Eastern Region and Wayne Community College.

I believe we can do a lot more as a commission board if we change our priorities a little bit. Commissioners as a whole support economic growth. The question is how far do you want to go to attract economic growth. What kind of incentives do you want to put out there to attract industry to come to Wayne County?

The second thing is a common-sense approach to spending. I would like to see bids, for example, for different projects that we do in the county. I would like to see more negotiations. I'd like to see a little more stringent bidding process and oversight of taxpayers' money.

Thirdly, I believe in a smaller and more efficient government. I want to see government, as far as the citizens of Wayne County, I want to see the government out of all our business as much as possible.

The fourth thing I stand for is education and workforce training. It is very critical.

The last thing, but not the least, is farmland preservation. It is a critical issue in the county. We are losing farmland at a humongous rate because of Interstates, bypasses. That is why you see the county buying older buildings. We can use the same footprint of an existing building and not have to go out and buy farmland to build a new building.