Office sought: County Commission, Post 1
Political Party: Republican
Occupation: Financial advisor
Rhonda Selman Wallace
Office sought: Floyd County Commission, Post 1
Political Party: Republican
Occupation: VP private client services, Citizens First Bank
What sets you apart as the best candidate for this seat?
Roberts: I think that my concentration on local and relevant issues has set me apart.
I’m a textile engineer from Georgia Tech who has adapted to make a living in a county with almost no textile jobs left, and I believe I can help this county adapt as well. Although I have more than the necessary experience for the job, my campaign has instead focused on the upcoming concerns we all face because I believe our future can be brighter than our past.
I don’t represent the Chamber of Commerce or a large bank; I represent the people of Floyd County.
Wallace: I believe my commitment and dedication to this community is evident in my service to others. I have been assisting individuals and businesses professionally and personally in my desire to meet their needs.
My experience for over 30 years in the financial industry, as well as my community and civic involvement, has not only allowed me to build relationships in this community but it has provided me the knowledge to offer bold and creative solutions. My ability to listen, analyze and make a decision based on what is right rather than compromising values is a hallmark of my service and career.
As a wife, mother and grandmother , I am deeply concerned about the safety of our citizens and I am committed to protecting our family values. My character, integrity, work ethic and experience create a clear choice for Floyd County Commission Post 1.
What are some specific actions the county should take to get on a firmer financial footing?
Roberts: I think that continuing to restructure our county’s debt at lower rates is a good start, but that outside-the-box thinking may be our best option.
I think that we should discuss replacing the homestead portion of our property taxes with a one percent sales tax like other cities and counties have done. The HOST tax (Homestead Option Sales Tax) would lower property taxes for homeowners (they would still pay the school portion) and would probably be help the county immediately.
Further consolidation of services should be considered where savings can be found without sacrificing quality of delivery to residents.
Wallace: We need to examine all the services we provide to determine if we are operating in the most efficient and effective way. That is, are we meeting the needs in the way we are operating and are we providing the services in the most cost efficient manner.
Once services are examined, tough decisions must be made to eliminate or modify them in order to properly match expenses with revenues and review the sources of the revenue that provide the funding. The closing of the gap between revenue and expenses, given the economic slowdown we have been facing for several years, has to occur.
Continual monitoring of services provided and the cost associated with those provisions is vitally important as we manage our resources to provide those services that our community enjoys. We should consider strongly the transition to zero based budgeting in order to become even better financial stewards and continue to grow our businesses in order to reduce the tax burden on our citizens.
How important is it to maintain public resources like the library, trails, fishing areas, athletic fields and other quality-of-life offerings?
Roberts: I think that the library is more than a “quality-of-life” offering, and have discussed savings that might be found by reducing its energy costs.
As for other public resources, I think that life safety — such as our fire and police departments — are more important than quality of life. I am involved in the lives of my children. I may not depend on our government for their entertainment, but I do depend on our law enforcement and fire departments for some of their protection.
Wallace: I have been fortunate in my career to be associated with industries locating in Floyd County and working with the leadership of those major companies as well as small business owners and entrepreneurs. There is no question that in my face-to-face experience with the senior executives of those new companies, the presence of opportunities for enjoyment of life through family oriented venues and activities are a major consideration of their decision to choose a community.
Our resources are not only a benefit for our families but also give us the ability to attract visitors to our community through athletic events and tournaments. The provision of activities for our children and adults, whether passive or active, is important as Floyd County competes for jobs.
The basic services that our citizens have grown to expect and deserve must come first. We must continue to work hard to increase our tax base, so our Quality of Life services continue to be in place for our entire community.
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?
Roberts: Absolutely. Take our water services, for example. Floyd County is buying water from Adairsville and Calhoun at the same time that Cave Spring is selling water to customers in Alabama.
We need to work together — Rome, Cave Spring, and Floyd County — to further develop our resources and offer better service to our residents. Also, I think that the school communities in our county — Rome, Coosa, Armuchee, Model, and Pepperell — need to be more recognized by our other elected officials.
Wallace: As a result of the efforts of our elected officials, the elimination of many duplicated efforts has occurred. The establishment of service delivery strategies has allowed for a number of negotiated contracts between the three governments.
I believe that, given the cooperative efforts of the management staffs and elected leaders, additional reviews for efficient and effective delivery of services can occur. Special care has been given so that this has not resulted in interrupted and diminished services, and any future agreements should manage the cost of provision and the quality of service provided.
Rivalry between the local hospitals has spilled into the political arena. What support does the Floyd County Commission owe them, and why?
Roberts: I think that the Floyd County Commission should strive to promote a competitive environment for every business in this community, especially in the medical field. Our residents receive the best service when there is competition among providers, and I think that the County Commission should help keep the playing field level.
It’s important to remember that the local hospitals don’t just offer medical care — they provide jobs! Any financial support offered should be examined to ensure that the result is of greater benefit to our residents than the cost to our taxpayers.
Wallace: The presence of our professional medical community provides state-of-the-art lifesaving care, and those professionals add to our quality of life and our economic stability. We are all thankful and appreciative of the men and women who daily minister to our families in our health needs.
The Floyd County Commission must provide for this industry, as we do for all industries, an environment which allows for successful operations of well-run companies. We must promote healthy competition in order to keep cost competitive as well as provide the highest quality of care to all our citizens.