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McCoy challenging Guider for District 4 commission seat
by Bill Baldowski
April 03, 2014 08:56 AM | 2155 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Douglas County Commission District 4 primary election May 20 has incumbent Ann Jones Guider facing Republican businessman J.R. McCoy.

The race pits Guider’s commission experience and vow to look for ways to cut cost, against McCoy’s business experience in setting and managing a budget that he said is needed on the commission.

The commission is forced to approve a budget in December because the county’s fiscal year begins on Jan. 1. It then waits six months to approve a millage rate to fund the budget because the tax digest is calculated around mid-year.

A millage rate is used to determine each property owner’s annual tax bill.

Guider opposed the 2013 budget when approved in December 2012. However, six months later, she voted for a property tax increase of 23.74 percent to fund it.

“Many don’t realize how hard I fought the budget,” she said. “I lost that fight as the budget passed and, when it did, the spending began.”

Guider said the budget was passed with an increase of 3.0 mills. She then showed other commissioners how it could be reduced before the increase was approved at 2.35 mills.

“But we were not talking about the budget at that point as it had already passed over my opposition, but we were focused on how to pay our bills,” she said.

McCoy said Guider’s vote to increase Douglas County’s property tax by “an historic and unprecedented 23.74 percent is not a vote I would have ever made.”

“Had I been in that position, my vote against the bloated 2013 budget, with its significant spending increases during a down economy, would have come with my automatic ‘no’ vote for any millage rate increase,” McCoy said.

Guider responded that she did vote against the 2013 budget but then found herself defending a budget she adamantly opposed.

“Six months later, we had to set the tax rate that was going to pay for the bills that had already accumulated from the budget or default on payments or close down some county departments, so I chose to do what was best for the county,” she said.

McCoy said the most important job a commissioner does each year is set a nearly $100 million budget.

“In order to do that effectively,” he said, “there must be someone with extensive business experience on the board, someone who has set and managed a large budget effectively, and I would definitely bring that experience to the commission.”

Guider responded that as Douglas County’s tax commissioner for 28 years, she set her office budget annually and never ran over budget.

McCoy said, in addition to his business experience including national sales and pre-sales technical support with multi-billion companies, involving him in complex negotiations with Fortune 500 companies, he would bring to the commission the ability and relationships to work effectively to support local legislation befitting Douglas County.

“I also bring the ability to understand economic development and to work with our development authority to support the expansion of business in Douglas County,” McCoy said.

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