Coweta County Commission District 2 candidates sound off

The Citizen recently invited the candidates for Coweta County Commission Districts 2 and 3 to provide our readers with an opportunity to hear from them and to get their positions on the issues they believe are pertinent to Coweta County and its future. What follows is in keeping with this newspaper’s belief that people should “have their say.”

Printed this week are the comments from District 2 candidates, incumbent Tim Lassetter and challenger Eddie Wilson. The responses of District 3 candidates George “Kett” Harper, David Stover and Bob Blackburn were printed last week.

Comments from all candidates can be found under the County Government section at www.thecitizen.com

Candidates were asked to comment on why they were running for office, what they would bring to the commission, why voters should trust them, how they “see” Coweta now and in the future and their thoughts on residential and commercial development and zoning ordinances. Their complete responses are provided below. Our readers can judge for themselves if those issues have been sufficiently addressed.

All candidates qualified as Republicans. The races will be decided in the July 20 primary.

District 2 incumbent Tim Lassetter-

-On why he is running: I am running again for a couple reasons. First and foremost, as a lifelong resident who plans to retire here, I want to see this county remain the kind of place my wife and I want to live as well as for my two children after they complete college. Secondly, I am humbled and thankful to all the people who have encouraged me to run again by saying they agree with most, if not all, the things I have supported and those I have opposed. Lastly, I have enjoyed working with and getting to know so many county employees and residents of our great county that I would not have known had I not gotten involved at the county level. I have made friends that I will have for a lifetime.

-On what he brings to the commission: I will bring four years of experience as a commissioner, over fifty years of experience living in this county, and a true desire to help the citizens of our county. I also bring over 25 years of management experience with many years of working with budgets.

-On why voters should trust him: Voters have three and a half years of history with me as a commissioner that should help them both trust me and know how I have voted over that period of time. I feel that will help them versus four years ago when their comfort level might not have been as good as now.

-On where he “sees” Coweta now and in the future: I see Coweta county as still being a great place to live. The people who live here are what makes our county so great! I do feel we need to do what we can to bring good, well paying jobs to our county so we have more residents who work where they live. I am a great example. Last year I was one of 197 associates who worked for a company in our county who were told our jobs would be ending before the end of 2009. I had devoted over 28 years with one company and had been able to work and live in our county my entire life. Unfortunately, I now drive to another county for employment. I see the economy slowly turning and I feel we have so much to offer perspective employers. In fact, last month I was successful in reducing impact fees for businesses even more than what was being proposed because I do want to attract more opportunities in our county, for both business and employees.

-On commercial and residential development and zoning: I believe the economy, financial institutions, as well as supply and demand will dictate both commercial and residential development. A few years ago we passed a comprehensive land use plan in Coweta county that I feel addresses most issues you see with development and zoning. However, there will always be things that arise that will need to be handled on a case by case basis. 

I am glad to have been a part of many things that have taken place over the past three and a half years in Coweta county. A few in my district alone include the great new recreation facility in Grantville, the opening of the Welcome Community Center, the groundbreaking and initial road construction by the county at the Chattahoochee Bend State Park, and I look forward to the completion of the new Grantville Library and the new Corinth Road Fire Station.

All these are things that either will have or already have a positive impact on our communities for many years to come. I have also had the pleasure of being elected Chairman of the Three Rivers Regional Commission Board that covers a ten county region in our area. I feel this relationship will be even more valuable with the passage of the state bill initiated by our governor regarding transportation funding.

I am also extremely proud of the financial results of our county, especially when you read about all the cutbacks, furloughs, and layoffs other counties have experienced recently. Our county added $604,000 to the reserve fund last fiscal year. That was due to conservative revenue estimates, not filling openings unless the citizens would be negatively impacted if they weren't filled, and a great effort by our administrator, his staff, department heads, and county workers all doing more with less. In fact, just a month ago we were informed Coweta County is one of the few counties in the entire Southeast that had their bond rating upgraded. That is something we can all be proud of in Coweta County.  

It has truly been an honor to serve the citizens of the second district and I ask for their support and vote in July.      

District 2 challenger Eddie Wilson:

My wife of 33 years, Kathy, and our daughters, Sherry and Lisa, moved to Coweta County in 1984. We were drawn to the closeness of the community and the rural, small town character. Our two daughters grew up here and we have been active members of the community in church, school and community organizations and activities.

Our county has grown up quicker than our children. We have seen good growth and not-so-good growth over the past 26 years. Coweta County is still a great place to raise a family. There is plenty to do with your children, lots of shopping and restaurants, cultural and entertainment venues, parks and recreational facilities – for all ages. We have viable businesses - small and large. And with all of this, we have managed to protect a large part of our small town atmosphere. We should want to keep it that way for our children and our grandchildren. We can do that, but it will take effort and sufficient planning as more large businesses move into the area.

As a candidate for the District 2 Commission seat, my goal is to be a strong voice for the residents of my district on the Coweta County Board of Commissioners. I think I can bring a fresh look as a member of the board. My feeling is that the people should have a choice in representation and know that their choice will take their opinions and ideas seriously. I am not involved in the building industry, do not own a business, nor do I have any other areas that could be interpreted as a conflict of interest. District 2 is predominantly rural and I will work to preserve the rural atmosphere while accommodating growth.

During my 31 years at Delta Air Lines, many of those years in management, I was responsible for developing, planning and executing large projects, which included budget planning and management. I am experienced in successfully managing large projects and fiscal accountability – on time and under budget. I have a reputation for spending the company’s money as if it were my own.

Over the next few years, there are several things that can make an impact on the district. One is the Chattahoochee Bend State Park, slated to open in the summer of 2010, which will bring visitors to the western part of the county and possibly encourage residential building in the area. Another is the Moreland mega site. As the economy improves and this site is developed it will have a tremendous impact on the Moreland/Grantville area. We need to review the land use and zoning maps to ensure they are properly drawn to make room for orderly commercial growth, but still protect the rural areas. The recently passed state transportation funding bill is yet another area that will require a constant watch to ensure that our county receives its share of the benefits.

From a countywide prospect, I would work to recruit manufacturing companies and businesses that offer better paying, quality jobs. I would also look for ways to encourage new small businesses and expansion of existing businesses. One important thing I learned in budgeting is that is takes constant reviews to be sure every dollar is being spent wisely. With five districts in our county, it is important that all commissioners work together for the good of the entire county, not just one area.

I plan to support our public service organizations by doing everything possible to retain services already in place, and address funding needs for future projects as necessary. Our emergency organizations provide vital services to our community and require the necessary support of government agencies to do their jobs to the best of their abilities.

Reviewing county zoning, building and business ordinances would keep the board ahead of the game in keeping them up to date and representative of current situations. We should do that during this time of economic down turn and housing slow down to develop a plan that gives steady, but controlled growth. As our economy improves, growth will take off again and we do not need to be playing catch-up.

My goal if elected, is to be an advocate for the citizens of District 2, making sure their voices are heard, and to set the framework for Coweta County to be the place we will want to live and raise our families in 20 or more years from now.

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