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Candidates see ways to control spending

Today The DAILY LEADER continues a special question-and-answerseries with candidates in some of the county’s top races in theNov. 4 general election. Today’s race is for Supervisor DistrictFive. Both candidates participated.

The property tax levy for Lincoln County operations wentup 1.59 mills to 39.89 with the new budget year on Oct. 1. What canyou do to ensure that the county’s needs are met while spending iskept under control?

Michael Assink: What I propose isn’t an easytask to accomplish, but it is something that I believe to beessential to the financial life of the county. Increased spendingshould be based upon increased business growth. The problem is,what if business doesn’t grow faster than inflation? This causescounty taxes to go up, and what is apparently happening right nowin our county government. If elected, I will propose that theLincoln County Board of Supervisors, starting in January, begin thetask of developing a master plan for Lincoln County. The followingis a brief description of what I would propose to do:

1. This plan would do a total assessment of what Lincoln Countyhas in terms of assets and liabilities. This assessment alsoincludes managerial audits and organization structures. This wouldgive us a clear picture of who we are, and how well we areproviding the needed services.

2. The second part of the master plan would be to develop goalsand objectives as to what changes we need to make and what do weproject our county government to be in one year, five years, etc.We want to look down the road as far as we can see to anticipate,build our business structure, ask tough questions and seek honestanswers. We need to decide what kind of businesses and industrieswe must seek to come to Lincoln County and especially how we canhelp the ones who are now here.

3. The master plan has to provide strategies and ways to phasein any change.

4. The master plan has to provide for the public’s input intoany changes and decisions made.

5. The master plan would then provide for the implementation ofour goals and objectives.

Many may ask, “Why is it necessary to go through all thistrouble?” Well, any successful businessman, farmer, carpenter,engineer or cook will tell you that you have to plan your work, andmany of them live by the motto, “If you fail to plan, then you planto fail.”

Failure isn’t an option. Failure to do the right kind ofplanning means higher taxes or fees and reduced services.Brookhaven’s motto is “Homeseeker’s Paradise.” That is a greatthought! Let’s plan to keep all of Lincoln County that way.

Gary Walker: You must first get your basicneeds seen to such as repairs to general maintenance and majorproblems in your beat and the county. You can use county forces todo all that is possible to keep costs down. Then you can search forgrants for extra money.

Why should the citizens of your district entrust thesupervisor’s job to you?

Michael Assink: This is a good question,because the person seeking any job must at least feel he or she hasthe qualifications for that job.

Therefore, allow me to start with what I consider my strongestand foremost qualification. It is my attitude, which is this: Thisis my home, too. My family and I live here and Lord willing, mywife and I plan to stay here. Therefore, if I am elected to theDistrict Five supervisor’s job, I plan to work as smart and as hardas possible to keep District Five and Lincoln County a great placeto live.

Here are my other qualifications. I have a B.S. degree fromMississippi State with a major in geology, and have worked in stormwater runoff research at Michigan State University in the SoilPhysics department. I know storm water flow, the major naturalforce that destroys our roads. I have worked as an environmentalconsultant.

My master’s degree comes from Wheaton College Graduate Schoolwhere I received a master’s in interdisciplinary studies. My degreewould be described as an “organizational development” degree.

As a farmer, I can operate a tractor, bulldozer, and backhoe. Ihold a class “A” driver’s license with “xpt” endorsements, meaningI can drive a truck.

They say in politics, it is not what you know, it is who youknow. I hope the voters of District Five who don’t know me will atleast catch a glimpse of who I am. Please remember it is our home.Let’s make it a good one.

Gary Walker: Since I took office in 2000, Ihave seen many changes in the supervisor’s job, such as leaving theunit system and going back to the beat system. The office ofsupervisor has been a great challenge for me. I have had a fairpast three years as supervisor. With the help of my employees,friends and the people of District Five, I feel like we can improveour area even more.

Thursday: District 92 Representative.