As Republicans we often talk about the need to reduce spending and assume everyone understands what we mean. While serving in my first term as a Chatham County Commissioner we focused on cutting unnecessary spending while increasing funding for core functions: education, public safety, economic development. We also strengthened the safety net for those who most needed help. We were able to successfully institute priority based budgeting which enabled us to accomplish increases in spending in these areas, while resisting calls from the left to continually raise property taxes.
While we need to continually monitor and ensure our tax dollars are spent wisely, the reality is, Chatham is a fast growing county and spending will need to increase over the foreseeable future. As we grow, our spending needs will grow. The County will need to fund new schools, update our infrastructure, continually improve public safety, as well as address public health challenges that affect all of us.
There are the areas of agreement between my opponent and I. However, we have fundamentally different approaches to meet our budget challenges. Simply put, we can choose to expand and diversify our economy or we can increase the burden on our citizens by relying on individual property taxes. I say we expand and diversify!
Chatham County’s budget is heavily reliant on residential taxpayers with only 9% of the tax base being commercial. $1 in tax revenue from residential cost the county $1.14 in community services, yet $1 in commercial tax revenue only costs us $.33. It not very hard to figure out that this is an imbalance and a formula for disaster.
The answer is obvious. In order to fund the services the County will need to fund over the next decade, we will need to grow the commercial tax base. I have a record of doing that while my opponent has a record of voting against the necessary steps to accomplish this.
As a commissioner, I and my fellow Republican commissioners:
Successfully worked to simplify and streamline the permitting process making it easier to open a new small business - My opponent argued and spoke out repeatedly against us on this.
We worked with the Town of Siler City, the EDC, and State officials to certify the first Advanced Manufacturing mega site in the state. My opponent campaigned against the necessary steps to achieve this accomplishment. We successfully worked to get a second major manufacturing site in Moncure.
These sites are designed to target industries that will create thousands of high paying jobs such as auto manufacturing, aviation parts, plastics and more. My opponent is on record as being against any industry she doesn’t feel is “green” enough. She and the majority of the current commissioners have sent the message to these industries they are not welcome.
I will welcome employers not turn them away. Manufacturing sector jobs decline is exceeding new jobs added, but it doesn’t have to be this way. The groundwork has been laid, we have the labor force, and we know what we need to do next! Lip service without action will ensure we remain a bedroom community to our neighbors and make it more and more expensive to live here.
A change in leadership is needed now.