Candidates Vernon Collett, Herb Haynes and Richard Manous will face off May 20 for the Republican nomination for the seat being vacated by Tommie Graham, who is not seeking re-election. The winner will be unopposed in the November general election.
Collett, who is in the financial services industry, said he was seeking election to the Paulding commission because residents want a transparent and ethical county government.
“What I’ve been hearing for a few years is the main concern of people, whether it be national or state or local, is they don’t feel their concerns are being heard,” Collett said. “I don’t know if people are against something or for something, as much as they want to be a part of it.
“When they don’t get to voice their opinion, that kind of rubs them the wrong way. They just want to know they are part of the whole process.”
Collett also said the Paulding commission should work to create jobs locally, recruit businesses of all sizes and make it easier for existing businesses to remain open.
Haynes, a real estate agent, said he was seeking the office “to help build an even better Paulding County by bringing more higher-paying jobs to the county,” such as those provided by conveyor maker Interroll.
“I want my grandchildren, and your children and grandchildren, to have better opportunities than in the past, without having to leave the county,” he said.
The county needs to recruit more industry to Paulding to diversify the tax base and take the total burden of funding government services off the homeowner, Haynes said.
Manous, a businessman and former county school board member, said he felt the county needed the “proper kind of business,” such as high technology and manufacturing, that provides a living wage to county residents while providing a tax base other than on residential property.
Manous said recruitment of such companies should be a priority so the county can diversify the job base beyond retail and government employment. The availability of Silver Comet Field airport makes the county more attractive to aerospace-related employers like maintenance and repair companies, he said.
“We just need to give [young county residents] a bright future,” Manous said.
He noted the Paulding County School District will have to rely on a dwindling share of state funds if more tax revenues are not generated from a source other than property taxes.
“We can’t wait to see what the state will give back,” he said, in reference to the annual share of sales tax the state returns to county school systems in Georgia.