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Newly elected officials prepare to take reins
by Mary Cosgrove
November 13, 2012 03:09 PM | 1437 views | 0 0 comments | 17 17 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff / Nathan Self <br>
Election coordinator, Shirley Powell, left, shows voters, Hope Panipino, of McDonough, and Dan Bledsoe, of McDonough, where to check the information on their voter registration to make sure it is correct.
Staff / Nathan Self
Election coordinator, Shirley Powell, left, shows voters, Hope Panipino, of McDonough, and Dan Bledsoe, of McDonough, where to check the information on their voter registration to make sure it is correct.
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With the election over and the results certified, newly elected Henry County commissioners can take a momentary breather before having to ramp up for taking office at the beginning of the year.

Commission chairman-elect Tommy Smith said he is eager to get started and looking forward to serving the county.

“I’m excited about taking the helm,” he said. “I know basically what we want to do, but I’m not so sure how we’re going to get there.”

Smith said the first thing he wants to tackle upon taking office is giving a raise or cost of living adjustment to county employees, who have not received either in four years.

“After we get the employee finances worked out, then we’re going to focus on jobs,” he said.

Smith would like to see an increase in small business development to help improve the economy. He also said he would like to get the county’s finances in order.

“There will be some changes,” Smith said. “People voted for change. We’re going to stop the wishful spending. We’re going to have to spend to survive.”

He said he knows that he can’t stop county spending entirely, but the spending needs to be better prioritized.

“We’re going to meet all of our needs, and then look at some things we might like to have,” Smith said.

District 1 Commissioner-elect Bo Moss said leading up to a prep class the newly elected will be taking in Athens in early December, he will be researching county operations “and trying to get myself as knowledgeable as possible.”

His eyes are set on working on the budget once he takes office — reducing deficits, increasing revenue and lowering taxes.

Moss said he also wants to begin looking at improving road infrastructure to address traffic congestion and establish transparency in government.

He said he feels the other commissioners have similar goals in mind.

“I think the new board is pretty much in line with what we need to do for the county,” Moss said.

District 2 Commissioner Brian Preston, who won his bid for re-election, said he is ready to start a new four-year term.

He said he wants to focus on continuing to provide strong service to residents in light of a declining tax base, but also work on bringing more jobs to the county.

Preston has served nine months on the board, having been appointed to fill the unexpired term of Fred Auletta, who stepped down from his District 2 post to serve as county manager.

“I’m very thankful for the citizens who elected me and showed support, and obviously felt they approved of what I’ve done in the last nine months to give me four more years to see how I can help Henry County,” he said.
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