In an effort to prepare voters as they head to the polls, the Herald is bringing you the candidates for the two contested county commission races, who they are and what they stand for.
Early voting concludes Friday and polls open Nov. 2 at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 7 p.m.
Lillie Ruth Smart Brown
Occupation: Over the Counter Manager, Walmart, Rincon
Family: Children, one son
Top 3 issues
The top issue in this race is taxes. We cannot continue to tax people out of their homes through increased assessments of property. The tax assessments have to be fair based on the current economy. I believe that the county budget should be examined very closely for items that can be reduced or eliminated to offset the lower tax revenue. Commissioners should be good stewards of the citizens’ tax money.
The county needs to attract new business and industry to help lower the property taxes. We cannot do that without a good working relationship between all county governments, authorities and boards. We have to come together for the betterment of this county. We need to support the hospital, library and other support services.
We have to lower the impact fees and building fees to attract new business including the housing industry. We need to be in line with Port Wentworth, Pooler and Richmond Hill with our cost to build.
These areas continue to build and that tells me we are not in line with our cost. We need to join partnership with the county and the cities on the water and sewer issues. Currently Guyton is in need of a wastewater treatment plant. They could be a customer for the county system. If all of the governments could work together the debt for the water and sewer could be reduced with new customers.
We need to continue to work for better roads, including better access to the Georgia Ports. To achieve this we need good relationships with our state and federal elected officials for funding.
If elected I will serve the people of Effingham with input from my district, I will be accessible to the citizens by phone and at the county offices at least one afternoon a month to meet with citizens to hear their concerns. I will serve no special interest but the citizens of Effingham County.
Family: Wife, Sharon; children, Christopher, 21, Lisa, 19.
Top 3 issues
Personal property taxes. With that, there’s a whole contingent of issues that is directly related to that. The number one thing is promoting industrial growth in the county, to increase the industrial tax base and reduce our personal tax implications and burdens.
Infrastructure. The water and sewer and roadways to some of the industrial properties needs to be completed to get the sites pad ready for industrial growth. That’s what I see all the time. We do a lot of work in other counties and a lot of these industrial parks in other counties are pad ready, and that’s how they attract that better than we do.
County budget. This year the commissioners made a pretty good attempt at reducing some of the costs. I don’t know if they went far enough or looked hard enough. We need to clean our own house first and make sure all the jobs we have staffed in administration in the county are necessary jobs.
District 3 polling places
Elam Egypt Baptist Church
184 5th Street
Clyo Community Center
545 Fair Street
Pilgrim Baptist Association
810 Central Blvd
Effingham Co. Rec. Dept. Gym
768 Highway 119 S. S
Fellowship Bible Church
841 Old Dixie Highway
Occupation: President, Phillip Kieffer Construction (commercial/industrial construction)
Family: Wife, Brandi; children, Bryan, 6, and Newton, 3.
Top 3 issues
1) I am eager to bring effective, professional and conservative leadership to our county government. The taxpayers of the 5th District deserve a representative that will always listen to their ideas and will lead our county forward accordingly. As commissioner, the taxpayers of the 5th District can rest assured that they have true representation in our county government.
2) The skyrocketing property taxes that we are burdened with must be brought down to an acceptable level. I am prepared to make the tough decisions to make this happen. This can only happen if we stop the wasteful spending … immediately! We can have certain benefits such as fully funded libraries and, at the same time, dramatically reduce our property taxes. There is enough pork in the current budget to go around.
3) Promoting and encouraging economic and industrial growth in our county is the key to our future. While supporting our current business and industries in the county, we must encourage new commercial and industrial growth. We currently lack adequate roadways and do not have utilities available in the locations that are currently marketed for this type of growth. If we invest properly and responsibly in our future, we will all benefit from the creation of new jobs, new services and conveniences, and new sales tax dollars. These new sales tax revenues can ultimately replace the current dollars that you and I pay in the form of property taxes. I look forward to working hard to see that these goals are successfully accomplished.
Delmons “Del” White
Occupation: Minister and businessowner
Family: Married to Herlene White, children Torian A. White, 29, and Tiffani A. White, 22.
Top 3 issues
1. Economy — I will work to promote growth to Effingham by working closely with the Industrial Development Authority as they strive to attract industry, as well as work to stabilize the impact fees for both commercial and residential entities. We must also work to support the efforts of the chamber to make Effingham an entrepreneur friendly county. Small business owners can be helpful in stimulating the economy.
2. Our county budget — I will take the time to go over the budget to identify if there are any areas that we can eliminate any waste or duplication and bring it before the other commissioners and the administrator. I will also look closely at our tax digest for any discrepancy and make recommendations where needed.
3. Promoting team spirit — I will work to help build strong ties between the county government and the municipalities, eliminating the need for lawsuits to settle differences of opinions over services, etc., help to establish dialogue that promotes listening with expectations of moving forward through a networking mechanism that will help each entity to accomplish what they want with minimal compromise. We are one Effingham and must work to turn around the economy here.
District 5 polling places
United Way Building
711 Zitterour Rd
Rincon Baptist Temple
305 Wisenbaker Rd.
First Christian Church
5835 Highway 21 S
St. Luke’s Episcopal
155 Goshen Rd