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Lowndes County Commission District 2: Debra Franklin/Richard Raines

Debra Franklin

FACED WITH TOUGH BUDGET CHOICES IN THE COMING YEARS, AS COMMISSIONER, WOULD YOU BE MORE IN FAVOR OF CUTTING SERVICES OR SECURING ADDITIONAL REVENUE TO BALANCE BUDGETS?
As commissioner, I would be more in favor of cutting cost without cutting services. I am also strongly opposed to measures that propose to cut cost by cutting jobs. I believe that this can be accomplished in part by eliminating redundancies in services and being vigilant in our conservation of energy, fuel and other resources. I would also work to enable more volunteer participation from private citizens and businesses in maintaining our communities, roadways, recreational facilities and other public resources.

As commissioner, I would also be in favor of securing additional revenue to balance budgets. However, I am more in favor of increasing revenue in ways that do not increase the tax burden to citizens and businesses. For example, I would work to increase patronage of local businesses, which increases revenues from local sales tax. I would also work with our state and federal representatives to secure revenues for which we qualify and can use to improve the quality of services and resources to our citizens.

PLEASE RANK THE FOLLOWING SERVICES IN ORDER OF YOUR GREATEST TO LEAST SUPPORT:
• improving storm water and flood control infrastructure
• expanding public transportation & safer pedestrian and bicycle corridors
• offering economic development incentives
• operating County Parks and Recreation programs
• supporting arts and cultural activities
• adequately staffing new and expanded libraries
• supporting services for homeless

PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR FIRST AND LAST CHOICES. HOW WILL FUNDING YOUR SERVICE PRIORITIES AFFECT TAX RATES IN THE SHORT AND LONG TERM?
As commissioner, I would prioritize improving storm water and flood control above the other services because both pose immediate danger to the lives and property of those affected. Due to the urgency of unpredictable occurrences such as these, contingency funding should be budgeted annually to cover the immediate and short term expenses. Because assistance in funding for emergency management can be applied for at the state (GEMA) and federal (FEMA) levels in many instances, the impact to local tax rates may be minimize in the long term.

I did not place services for the homeless last because it is least important. I placed it last because I believe it to be a responsibility of the community at large, not a service of the county government. I am in favor of the commission's supportive relationship with local and regional agencies, such as LAMP and Coastal Plains, and ministries, such as Salvation Army and Red Cross, that provide specialized services to homeless individuals and families in our county. I also believe that, by addressing the more weightier economic and transportation issues, the need for emergency services to homeless would be significantly lessened.

In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important things that should be done to improve Lowndes County’s economy?
I believe that a quality affordable public transportation system would greatly improve our county’s economy. My reasons are as follows:

It would promote increased self-sufficiency, allowing greater access to jobs, shopping, cultural and recreational resources;

It would facilitate increased enrollment and attendance, and lessen parking demands at our schools and colleges;

It would lessen the demands on households to own extra vehicles; and

It would lessen the amount of toxins released by vehicles on our roadways, which would improve air quality and decrease related health issues.

Overall, the local economy would benefit from the growth of businesses and a more stable and better educated workforce. The per household economy would also benefit. For example, two-career households and families with teenagers could see substantial savings from reduced car payments, insurance, fuel and maintenance expenses.

Is there a referendum on the ballot that you feel strongly about? If so, why?
I am concerned about proposed Constitutional Amendment 1, “Shall the Constitution of Georgia be amended so as to make Georgia more economically competitive by authorizing legislation to uphold reasonable competitive agreements?” I seems contradictory to me that upholding 'non-compete' contracts will make Georgia more competitive. I am also genuinely uncomfortable with any effort to limit or restrict 'free' market and trade.

www.electdebrafranklin.com
Richard Raines

FACED WITH TOUGH BUDGET CHOICES IN THE COMING YEARS, AS COMMISSIONER, WOULD YOU BE MORE IN FAVOR OF CUTTING SERVICES OR SECURING ADDITIONAL REVENUE TO BALANCE BUDGETS?
Cutting Services

PLEASE RANK THE FOLLOWING SERVICES IN ORDER OF YOUR GREATEST TO LEAST SUPPORT:
• adequately staffing new and expanded libraries: 3

• operating County Parks and Recreation programs: 4

• supporting services for homeless: 6

• supporting arts and cultural activities: 6

• improving storm water and flood control infrastructure: 1

• offering economic development incentives: 2

• expanding public transportation & safer pedestrian and bicycle corridors: 5

PLEASE EXPLAIN YOUR FIRST AND LAST CHOICES. HOW WILL FUNDING YOUR SERVICE PRIORITIES AFFECT TAX RATES IN THE SHORT AND LONG TERM?
The inherent challenge to "ranking" priorities in this format is the perception that #1 may be personally more important than #6. The real question regarding how to rank these revolves around the role of government. The role of government is, first and last, to protect the citizens and ensure that basic services are met.

There is no more service more basic to the life of a County government than that of "improving storm water and flood control infrastructure." Naturally, then, this is the highest priority.

There is no more personal or spiritual priority than caring for the underprivileged. Scripture is crystal clear that it is the Christian's primary responsibility in a community to care for prisoners, sick, afflicted, lonely and homeless. That being said, I believe "supporting services for homeless and supporting arts and cultural activities" are the priority of the Christian Church and the local community. If local government is to take the lead in these matters then it is an indictment on that community, not something to be lauded.

Regarding how this affects taxes; when a local government focuses on taking care of the basics, and leaving private concerns to the private sector, taxes will, by virtue of less government programs and departments, be significantly lower, thus leaving more money in the hands of private citizens.

In this time of high unemployment, what are the most important things that should be done to improve Lowndes County’s economy?
1. Significantly altering or eliminating the Unified Land Development Code.

2. Agressively pursuing industries that are the most recession proof (Health and Life Sciences, Food Production and Distribution, etc).

3. Continue the current trend of reducing or eliminating Government spending. The current Board of Commissioners is to be highly commended for reducing spending and keeping individual salaries and expenses under control.

Is there a referendum on the ballot that you feel strongly about? If so, why?
I'm working to make this entire election a referendum on out-of-control government spending and encroachment.

There is only one State Wide Referendum on the ballot in Georgia this election. I am "for" the referendum in principle but haven't researched it. I'll try to have a more definitive answer for you in the face-to-face interview.
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