On July 31, voters across Cobb will select the next county chairman from among four Republicans: Mike Boyce, Bill Byrne, incumbent Tim Lee and Larry Savage. No Democrats qualified to run for the post, so the winner of the primary will most likely be the one taking office in January.
Career: Retired Marine Corps officer
Political experience: Grassroots volunteer with Republican Party
Education: BA University of Notre Dame, MA Pepperdine University, Naval War College
Family: Wife, 3 children, 3 grandchildren
Do you plan to vote for the TIA on July 31?
We need to address traffic congestion. But, as allowed by the TIA, I work towards revisiting the project list in 2 years when the scope of all the projects is clearer and they can be clearly connected to the relief of traffic congestion. Hence, no at this time.
If Cobb voters reject TIA but it passes metro-wide, would you spend county money to sue in an effort to block it?
Let’s cross that bridge when we get to it. If there is overwhelming support for the TIA within Cobb and it passes is a different scenario than if it is defeated in Cobb and regionally passes.
Can the scope of county government, and thus county expenses, be reduced further? If so, what would you cut?
We have the cart before the horse. We don’t know what programs should be funded until Cobb has a strategic plan. With that plan we can then validate existing programs or develop new ones.
Is the practice of ‘walking the halls’ to gauge commissioners’ feelings on issues before they vote in public efficient government, or does it circumvent open meetings laws?
If I understand AG Olens correctly, any informal discussions between Commissioners on pending matters should be avoided/prohibited in light of the "government-in-sunshine” law. Accordingly, the positions or concerns of other Commissioners should be transparent and discussed openly at official meetings open to the public.
Does Cobb offer too little, too much or the right amount of financial incentives to lure new jobs?
Economic zones, opportunity zones, tax allocation districts. These are just a few of the many ways that the County encourages businesses to either come here or stay here. We need these tools to encourage entrepreneurship—a Republican principle—in Cobb.
Should the commission have stronger oversight of the two Community Improvement Districts? If so, what type of oversight do you envision?
The CID’s are a business success story. Let’s not throw the baby out with the bath water because the board members have rationalized the use of CID funds to support political causes as a legitimate expense. Like recent events at Cobb EMC, the solution should be to replace the board.
Do you promise not to vote for a tax increase during this term, if elected?
I’ll always work toward lower taxes. But the world is dynamic. If there was another flood similar to the one recently in South Cobb and there was no other assistance available other County resources, we would not turn our back on these members of the Cobb family.
When the county SPLOST expires, would you support an extension for 4, 5 or 6 years?
Such a decision is 3 years down the road but at this juncture probably not. The current SPLOST list resembles a bridal registry—something for everyone and projects that have drifted far afield from the program’s original intent of investing in capital infrastructure.
Do you favor changing the law to allow SPLOST money to support the arts?
Given that the arts are not capital infrastructure, I would have to say no.
Should Cobb spend tax dollars on the Chamber’s EDGE program?
The Commission and Chamber of Commerce should be partners in business development. But they are not married. Each pays his own way.
Do you favor outsourcing more economic development work to the Chamber?
Everything must always be on the table regarding the funding of County departments. The Office of Economic Development will have to justify its programs on the basis of the County strategic plan like all departments. That review will determine what programs will be performed by the public and private sectors.
What should the county do to encourage redevelopment in south Cobb?
There are sufficient redevelopment plans for South Cobb. We just have to finally implement one.
What is the biggest problem you want to solve, if elected, and how would you do it?
Poor budget decisions have created the current unacceptable level of taxation. The County should mirror what all responsible families and businesses do in tough economic times and fund priorities. Roads, water, and public safety are Cobb’s top priorities. All else will be influenced by available funding and the political process.