Office Sought: Floyd County Commission, Post 2
Occupation: Business Vendor Solution
Office sought: Floyd County Commission Post 2
Political Party: Republican
Occupation: Business owner
What sets you apart as the best candidate for this seat?
Fricks: First of all, the experience that I have gained serving as a Floyd County Commissioner is truly invaluable. In my years of service as a commissioner, vice chairman, and also as chairman, I have gained a true understanding of the operational and budgetary challenges of governmental operations.
Floyd County Government is facing challenging times. My experience is needed. That is what sets me apart as the best candidate. Not only do I provide experience as a commissioner, I bring to the table my experience in local business, civic leadership roles, and various other endeavors that are all vital to the role a commissioner plays.
Prior to being elected as a commissioner, I served my community through numerous volunteer opportunities, raising hundreds of thousands of dollars for worthwhile projects such as the city Clocktower renovations, Heritage Riverways Trail projects, Mayfest on the River, the Open Door Home, and many, many more.
Wade: I bring 45 years of business ownership and management experience to the table. I am a real estate investor/owner with the same escalating property tax issues as you.
We are in challenging times that require the broad base of knowledge and experience which I possess. I will be a breath of fresh air, a voice of reason and common sense decision maker.
What are some specific actions the county should take to get on a firmer financial footing?
Fricks: An intense, line item budget review by a fully cooperative County Commission, with a mutual goal, has proven to be an effective way in challenging budgetary times.
When I came into office, this type of review helped us be able to change the financial trends of Floyd County. Before, we were facing escalating general fund millage rates, reaching as high as 10.99 mills and also a depleting fund reserve, as low as $3.2 million.
Through this intense budget review process, we were able to reverse the trend, lowering the millage rate 2.2 mills, down to 8.7 mills as it stands today. Also at the same time, we increased the fund reserve to as much as $21 million, allowing Floyd County government to eliminate operating on borrowed money.
This resulted in hundreds of thousands of dollars of savings. It is once again time to implement this intense review process allowing us to overcome these times of depleting revenues.
Wade: Floyd County is actually in good financial condition. The job will be to keep us there without continuing to dip into the general fund balance in order to "balance the budget." We must simply spend less than we take in, no more smoke and mirrors.
I have listened to claims of Commissioner Fricks lowering taxes many times in the last 12 years. Mine have not gone down, have yours?
In 1996 the millage rate was 10.99 mills, the millage rate today is 11.1 mills. Where is the reduction? The assessed value has also gone up over 58 percent in that same period of time! Where is the lower tax?? Simply, smoke and mirrors.
How important is it to maintain public resources like the library, trails, fishing areas, athletic fields and other quality-of-life offerings?
Fricks: Quality of life is a key component for maintaining our community’s competitiveness in attracting new jobs and industries. Not only do these services enhance the life of our citizens, they also make Floyd County an attractive choice to potential new residents.
In my experience in working with companies such as Pirelli, Suzuki, and F&P, to just name a few, elements such as parks, the library, and other quality of life offerings have played a key role in their selecting of Floyd County as a place for their hundreds of millions of dollars of investments and creation of new jobs.
As a Floyd County commissioner, I feel that is a vitally important to maintain and continue to invest in these quality of life services.
Wade: Of these, the library is the most important. Without education, knowledge and information, you may not need or have athletic fields, fishing areas, and other quality-of-life offerings.
I will work hard to restore our library to full time.
Sales tax distribution and service delivery negotiations are under way between Rome, Cave Spring and Floyd County. Should there be changes in the way the governments interact?
Fricks: Floyd County and the city of Rome today have more operational intergovernmental agreements than most counties in the state of Georgia. Through cooperative efforts, we should continue to explore any avenues which could be cost beneficial to both governments.
Cooperation among the local governments was a key goal of mine when I originally ran for office. We have made great strides in moving forward with our government entities cooperating and working together. With this spirit, we will continue to explore cooperative opportunities to provide cost savings to our tax payers.
Wade: I believe that now is not the time to attempt to change these ratios.
Rivalry between the local hospitals has spilled into the political arena. What support does the Floyd County Commission owe them, and why?
Fricks: Recently the Floyd County Commission has provided bond backing for Floyd Hospital. Much like tax abatements for recruiting new industry, the state has provided us a tool to support non-profit hospitals by allowing us to back these bonds.
When approached by Floyd Hospital, we as the Floyd County Commission evaluated both the pros and cons of the bond backing. After receiving an independent review of both the financial strength of Floyd Hospital and the effects of Floyd County future borrowing potential, it was determined that effects of backing the bonds were minimal.
The benefit was saving of millions of dollars of interest , that would have left our community. This allowed these dollars to remain in the community, benefiting the citizens of Floyd County. By doing this, we also are giving support to our number one, largest employer in Floyd County and also the largest supplier of indigent and charity care in our community, reaching as high as $50million a year.
We are open to most any opportunity that we have to support our local employers and help enhance employment in Floyd County.
Wade: The medical field is our largest single employment base, accounting for 16 - 20 percent of our 37,000 jobs in Floyd County. It would be a shame to continue this controversy, or rivalry, to the detriment of any parties involved. We must keep our entire medical industry strong, understanding that the private and public sectors have different needs. We must accommodate both as equally as possible. We must concentrate on replacing the 13,000 jobs that we have lost during the last five years, rather than how to accommodate either hospital. If we had those jobs back, they might both be too busy to find time for politics! The loss of 13,000 jobs means that Floyd County has 400,000,000 fewer annual payroll dollars than five years ago. Putting people back to work will cure a lot of our problems.