Office sought: Floyd County Commission Post 2
Political Party: Republican
Occupation: Business Vendor Solutions
Gary D. Harrell
Office sought: County Commission, Post 2
Political Party: Democrat
Occupation: Web developer
What sets you apart as the best candidate for this seat? Why do you want this job?
Fricks: I feel that my varied experience is what sets me apart as the best candidate for this position. First of all, I have over 20 years of experience owning and operating a small business. I have also been very active in the community through my involvement in many civic organizations as well as an appointee on many governmental committees.
This blend of experience, along with my years of service as a commissioner, provides me an invaluable blend of under-standing both government as well business operations. I have always had a passion to make our community the best it can be for the generations to come. This is evident by my past commitment to involvement in my community.
Floyd County government is facing a challenging time. Strong ,experienced leadership is needed to continue to move our county forward in such crucial times. I have the skills needed to serve and want to continue to serve in or-der to ensure our community is moving in the right direction.
Harrell: Voters are tired of elected officials who come across as out-of-touch. I will be able to connect with the ma-jority of the voters because I understand the struggles of working families.
Our community will keep falling behind if our leaders don’t embrace new ideas and modernize our county agencies to keep up with a rapidly changing world.
I believe those who are elected to office must set a positive example to their constituents. If our leaders expect citizens to obey the law, leaders must obey it themselves. I won’t use my position for personal profit. I will not use my Floyd County Government ID as a FREE get out of jail card.
This job is an honor and service to the people of Floyd County, not an excuse to ignore personal responsibility. I’ll bring the new leadership that Floyd County needs.
Name some specific actions the county could take to get on a firmer financial footing.
Fricks: Continuing to review the budget, searching for ar-eas of any savings. Line-item budget review. Working as a team addressing any items we may see potential savings.
Harrell: The most important thing we can do is balance our budget. We must keep our property taxes low so that we can grow our local economy. Modernizing our local government will save our government money and make it convenient for citizens to do things like pay bills online.
We need green and clean technology advancing Floyd County… projects like our Clerk of Court’s advanced new com-puter system advances the entire county, not just Rome and should be funded for that reason.
There are many other departments in Rome/Floyd County that could use similar upgrading and I look forward to speak-ing with those department heads for their ideas.
How important is it to maintain public resources like the li-brary, trails, fishing areas, athletic fields and other quality-of-life offerings?
Fricks: All of these items of quality of life are important to our community make-up. My first involvement as a commu-nity volunteer focused on many of these quality of life areas.
Understanding the importance of these elements, I have volunteered hundreds of hours in order to raise funds for Rome and Floyd County. For example in the area of trails, serving as a charter member of the River Development Com-mittee and a charter member of Heritage River Ways Foun-dation I assisted in raising thousands of dollars to initiate many trail projects.
These important elements all serve two important func-tions: making the day-to-day life better for the citizens of Floyd County and making our community more attractive for future industrial growth.
Harrell: Quality of Life is our motto, so I find it very impor-tant to provide these types of services to citizens of this county. We must stop cutting library hours. Education is im-portant and without it we cannot move Floyd County For-ward.
These resources must be offered but must be embraced to attract and keep Floyd County a place to call home and do business.
Business licensing in the county would help track unsafe operations and sales tax collections, but it also could place un-due burdens on business owners. Where do you stand?
Fricks: I understand there may be some benefit in initiat-ing business license in the unincorporated area, but cur-rently I cannot support this measure. When considering the consequences and benefits to the citizens, I have many concerns. Many longtime small business operations could be jeopardized.
An example: A lady that has been making drapes in her home for years applies for a business license, trying to do the right thing.
The first question she faces is whether or not her home is properly zoned. To continue her operation she will now be forced to rezone her property to the proper commercial status. The rezoning of this could result in commercial busi-nesses in many subdivision communities or that applicant not being able to continue the business in their current location.
Once past that, she then faces both fire and building in-spections in order to meet the commercial requirements. Items such as parking and many other regulations that may go along with that commercial zoning that may be required.
In some cases, it may just be easier to give up the small revenue generated by small business operation than to invest in the expensive alterations required in order to continue her small operation.
I am not for putting undue burdens on business owners, especially today in these difficult economic times. I do have many concerns with what may occur along with the imple-mentation of the business license.
Harrell: Before deciding where I stand on this issue, I need to see more information about the details and the ob-stacles and opportunities other communities have faced mak-ing this change. I am a firm believer in transparency and ethical practices for government, and I am convinced that most business owners strive to create a reputation of honesty and responsibility.
Describe the type of relationship the county should have with the cities of Rome and Cave Spring.
Fricks: One of my first motivations to run for a county com-mission seat was to improve the working relations between the city and county governments.
At the time I began to serve as a commissioner there was a strong division in the working relationship between the gov-ernments. We have succeeded substantially in this area and it has proven to be beneficial to create many successes for our community.
We are now noted across the state and preferred by indus-trial recruiters because of our governmental cooperation and our practice of working as a team. This must continue in or-der to remain successful in moving our community forward.
Harrell: We must have a good relationship with all com-munities in Floyd County. We should work together to build a stronger Rome and Cave Spring. There is no way for the county infrastructure to be maintained, short- or long-term, without cooperation between all the cities and the county.