As a voter, how do you decide on the right candidate for you?
I would consider myself a fiscal conservative, so I follow the money. Integrity is also an important factor but often difficult to vet because after we vote, we go back to the daily grind and rely on the media to keep us informed. Unfortunately, the media is not a watchdog, and most often we find out when it is too late that spending is out of control, or our representative is not as forthright as we thought.
When you go to the polls this year, here are some points to consider if you are a fiscal conservative and consider integrity important. The commissioners’ departmental budget doubled and overall outstanding debt, not our annual debt payment, increased $3 million in four years. We have spent more than $13 million in economic development over four years while continuing to have decreases in overall assessable base. Comparing 2013 with 2010, the revenue for personal property tax in the business category proceeded to decline.
The majority – Doug Howard, Haven Shoemaker and David Roush – have passed four budgets in their term that have increased all sources of spending by 12 percent, equaling about $55 million more, solidifying that the property tax cuts had no adverse affect on spending.
Has your paycheck seen a 12% increase over the past four years? Commissioners Robin Frazier and Richard Rothschild have voted no on each of our adopted budgets.
In 2010, Howard promised he would not employ a special assistant. Fast forward and he has employed two assistants, Roberta Windham, who is earning almost 40 percent more than a commissioner’s salary, and Crystal Winebrenner, who some have speculated is part of Howard’s relationship mentioned in statements from Howard and his ex-wife on his campaign’s website. Winebrenner was suddenly transferred from the commissioners’ office in July and her contract terminated in September.
George Orwell said, “Political language …is designed to make lies sound truthful, murder respectful, and give the appearance of solidity to pure wind”. It is clear that the future of Carroll County will hold in the balance progress that is riddled with uncertainty. In the end, it is up to the voter to look deeply into the promises and history to decide whether that candidate is for the good of all people.