Fulton County Commission District 2 Candidates

Posted:

Name: Bob Ellis
City of residence: Milton
Occupation: Vice president, Chubb Corp.
Website: FixFulton.com
Public/candidate email address: bob@fixfulton.com

Fixing problems in Fulton County is high on your agendas. If elected, what would be the most important issue to tackle first?

The most important and immediate issue before the new commission will be delivering a balanced budget for 2015. Budget approval typically occurs in January, which would be right after the new commission is seated. The commission has engaged in deficit spending for multiple years now and will be below its target reserve threshold at the end of this year. Restoring fiscal responsibility starting with the 2015 budget will be the most important issue to address.

With the new distribution of commissioners, the Northside has more say in the county government. What issues would you bring forward for those north of the Perimeter?

Balance in spending: The prevailing view from constituents that I speak with is a desire to keep more of North Fulton tax dollars in North Fulton, largely through the elimination of waste and excessive spending in other areas of county government and secondarily through a more equitable balance in services.

Desire for improved service: The purpose of county government is to provide a set of basic services to its citizens. The county should do so in a way which makes it as easy for its citizens as possible. I’ve heard some great examples from North Fulton residents and business owners alike where we can improve our service delivery. I’ve got a great passion for delivering high quality service and will be looking to foster the dialogue necessary to drive that focus in county government for not only North Fulton residents but also the entire county.

Desire for collaboration to address challenges: The county has not done a good job of fostering relationships with its member cities. As a result, we have had some major failures and challenges that could have been prevented. I plan on bringing forward ways to better drive the collaboration necessary to jointly and proactively solve problems.

The county is looking at reducing personnel to balance the budget. The majority of the cuts will be borne by the library system. Do you support this in light of the overwhelming support of the new library construction, which has already begun?

The county has had a long-standing pattern of addressing budgetary challenges first by targeting more heavily utilized services like libraries instead of first aggressively looking at non-service spending and wringing out excessive administrative costs. In the case of libraries, it is pretty absurd that we would be building libraries and would not be able to keep them open for an adequate amount of time because we don’t have enough personnel to do so. I do not support this pattern of budgetary behavior and will work hard to ensure that we break it and that we are delivering services like libraries in a way that meets the needs of our citizens.

Name: Eric Broadwell

City of residence: Roswell

Occupation: Director of Cobb EMC and consultant

Website: http://www.ebroadwell.com

Public/candidate email address: info@ebroadwell.com

 

 

Fixing problems in Fulton County is high on your agendas. If elected, what would be the most important issue to tackle first?

As a true conservative, reducing the budget would be the highest priority. A commissioner’s job is to effectively spend the taxpayers’ money. A tax increase was approved by the commissioners when we don’t have a revenue problem, but a spending problem. $61.3 million is being spent on the private nonprofit Grady Hospital. A wiser use of our tax money would have solved our jail overcrowding problem and kept our streets safe by buying the Atlanta Detention Center. As a board member of a $1 billion utility company, I have reduced budgets by $42 million and lowered rates for utility customers. I can do the same for Fulton County.

With the new distribution of commissioners, the Northside has more say in the county government. What issues would you bring forward for those north of the Perimeter?

I have advocated for decentralization of our county government, so that services would be delivered locally and our tax money spent locally. The majority of Fulton County’s tax base comes from North Fulton, yet North Fulton citizens are underserved. Imagine if you could serve jury duty locally, have increased senior services in North Fulton or call the local animal control office. But it’s not about what I would bring forward, it’s what the North Fulton citizens want brought forward. The new distribution of commissioners brings fresh ideas and a new set of eyes to identify fiscally sound solutions. Term limits must be enacted to keep this momentum and start a new era of innovation for North Fulton taxpayers.

 

The county is looking at reducing personnel to balance the budget. The majority of the cuts will be borne by the library system. Do you support this in light of the overwhelming support of the new library construction, which has already begun?

Library issues have been on my issues list from day 1. The Roswell staff was cut 40 percent, hours reduced and children’s reading programs cancelled. I organized a protest in front of the Roswell Library, which made the front page of this paper. Library cuts are unacceptable when there is an abundance of opportunities to reduce cost in many other areas, such as three redundant payroll systems, over 186 major computer applications and over 5,000 employees, one employee for every 196 people in the county. I am the only candidate with experience at cutting staff (22 percent) to reduce a budget.  I believe we can reduce staff 25 percent with a job re-justification program and department consolidations instead of cutting valuable services desired by our citizens.

RN 05-15-14