The five candidates, Mike Abernathy, Tracy Lewis, Steve Taylor, Mike Bearden and Tony Tidwell, all believe that once in office, the next commissioner will have to take a hard look at ways of streamlining operations and work to make Bartow an economic juggernaut and safe place for families.
Trimming the budget is something all candidates said will be necessary regardless of who is elected.
Lewis said if elected she looks to “trim waste” and Abernathy said streamlining the county’s spending is something that is needed and will make all departments accountable.
Bearden said “everything is in play” when the time comes to look at finding ways to save the county money.
Taylor said there’s no way to “sugarcoat” the fact that cuts have to be made.
Tidwell said all the next commissioner can do is take a long look at the county’s budget and try to increase revenues and “cut out what we don’t need.”
Aside from trimming the budget, the top priority for all candidates is bringing more jobs to Bartow County to help stimulate the local economy.
Bearden said to bring in jobs, the next commissioner needs to “sell Bartow like it hasn’t been sold before.”
Tidwell said the county has a full palate of amenities that it has to offer to attract businesses and new residents.
Taylor said drawing large companies to Bartow would be “the greatest stimulant.”
Lewis said making jobs a priority could only mean good things for the local economy.
Abernathy said using the county’s current pool of available workers to draw businesses.
Candidates participated in a second debate hosted by NewsTalk AM 1270 June 5 at Adairsville High School and fielded questions from a three-person panel.
The questions ranged on subjects such as the possibility of raising taxes to the upcoming vote on the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST), also known as the Transportation Investment Act.
Each candidate was asked about their position on the TSPLOST vote that will take place in July and candidates’ responses were varied.
Lewis along with Abernathy said they are still researching the Transportation Investment Act and currently do not have a position in the issue.
Bearden said now is not the time to raise taxes and that there is no point in linking Bartow’s future to a tax that doesn’t have its best interest at heart
Taylor said the commissioner should not take a position on TSPLOST.
Tidwell said he has “mixed feelings” on TSPLOST and that the measure places Bartow “over the barrel.”