Boyce describes himself as an independent person who brings a fresh way of looking at the problems that plague the county.
“You know, it’s hard for Tim to stand back from these things because a lot of these programs in his budget are his, and the same thing you might say about Bill Byrne, because a lot of these programs that are in the budget started out under his administration, so it’s kind of like asking people to give up favorite furniture as the airplane’s going down, throw it out the airplane so you can gain altitude,” Boyce said in describing the difference in campaigns.
“It’s very difficult for them to do that because they’re tied to them. I don’t have any of those issues. I bring I think a completely independent way of looking at all these problems, because I don’t owe anything to anybody on the business side, on the residential side, commercial side, I’m just a guy who last year thought that the millage rate increase was unnecessary, and I chose to do something about it, and the only way I could do something about it was to get into the race.”
Boyce reports raising $52,499 as of June 30 with a balance of $12,259, according to the Georgia Government Transparency and Campaign Finance Commission. By comparison, candidate Bill Byrne reports $55,649 cash and $10,300 in in-kind contributions with a balance of $11,740.
Lee said Friday he had raised $62,725 for the period running from April 1 to June 30 and would likely file his report over the weekend, while Larry Savage as of Friday had yet to file.
While Lee has fundraisers that attract the leaders of the Chamber of Commerce, Boyce said his strategy to win is through grass-roots campaigning.
“Remember, when I entered this race officially with your newspaper at the end of November, Bill Byrne said, ‘nobody in the world knows Mike Boyce,’” Boyce said. “Well, as you saw from my financial disclosure this week, there are a lot of people that know Mike Boyce, and the reason I’ve run my race so much differently is that I’ve had to raise money from all the people in Cobb County that are not seen in the newspaper everyday, don’t go to the black tie affairs. These are people who donate $100 at a time, $50 at a time, who genuinely have to make a sacrifice to support my campaign. They do it not only that way, they do it with their time and volunteering.”
Lee’s reasoning for raising property taxes last year is that he had a $25 million budget deficit, an amount more than the parks and library departments combined. Lee said he wasn’t willing to cut such services, and asks critics who disagree to propose what they would have cut to avoid raising property taxes.
Boyce answered the question by saying it is not his job as a tax-paying citizen to find the necessary cuts.
“It’s (Lee’s) job to find the savings,” Boyce said. “He’s the chairman. He’s the leader, and we’re not. We’re on the receiving end of his millage rate increase. To pass that buck to us is irresponsible.”
Boyce said there is no reason such savings could not be found.
“If you can’t find a less than 10 percent savings in your budget, whether it be business or homeowner or government then you either need to find new people or you’re hiding something,” Boyce said. “I’m not the only one in this wide county that thinks that technically he doesn’t know what he’s doing with the budget because the budget shortfall did not necessitate a millage rate increase. Second of all, even before we did the (2011) SPLOST vote, he knew there was going to be a budget problem, and yet never came out anywhere during the whole process of SPLOST, and the reason that was so important is that the advocates of the SPLOST kept pushing that if we didn’t pass the SPLOST then we were going to have to raise the millage rate. Well, clearly they knew about this problem and chose not to say something about so as not to weaken the argument of the advocates, so when it came out we had to do both — now we have an issue of credibility.”
Boyce objects to Lee mentioning the possibility of having to cut the parks or library departments.
“That’s the famous scare tactic because everybody loves them,” Boyce said.
The salaries of the county’s department managers are what need to be examined, he said.
“You had a good point two or three weeks ago when you started looking at the salaries of employees in Cobb County. Now trouble is you didn’t go far enough. You need to get into the consolidated annual financial report and see what it is exactly these executive managers are going to be making in retirement and the shortfall that’s in there. So what we have right now is a hole in the bottom of the ship that they can’t fix, but they’re trying to hide it by these other issues, like ‘we need to shut down libraries and parks and things like that.’ That’s not going to happen. I’m a budget expert. I know how to do budgets. Tim wrote that budget. It’s his job to defend it. Nobody else’s. It’s not his job to throw his finance director out in front of it. It’s not his job to throw the DOT person out to defend his TSPLOST thing. He’s in charge of the government. He should be making these statements and not people in government that are working for him.”