It’s bouncing around as it always does, but there’s a sense in the air that spring is winning. The rains feel springlike, and the peepers are going crazy. A few warblers have been through, not that I can identify them. I haven’t seen anything native in bloom, but I have seen those awful, invasive Bradford pears, forsythia, and daffodils in bloom.
Qualifying is this week for the local elections, along with early voting in the Presidential Preference Primary. This being Fannin County, most folks showing up at the courthouse to vote are requesting the Republican ballot, which lists exactly one candidate.
I’ll try to write a post shaking out the candidates who qualified sometime next week, after qualifying is over. There are lots of candidates, some of them very interesting.
In the meantime, here’s Stan Helton’s campaign announcement. I’m not taking sides – at least not yet – but I do plan to post any campaign announcements that are sent to me. These usually appear in one or both newspapers, but only for a week.
I was interested in Mr. Helton’s last sentence, which mentions local heritage, and asked him if he wanted to say more. I’ll post what he said below the announcement itself. If I recall correctly, this is a little different from the version I read in the newspaper, but it is the version that he sent to me for posting.
“Four years ago the citizens of Fannin County elected me as Chairman to “get things done, and watch our tax dollars.” Working and compromising with the two Post Commissioners we have voted unanimously 96% of the time on 400 business votes during the last 3 years.
Some of our major accomplishments are:
- Twice lowered the Millage property tax rate to a record low 3.938, lowest rate in the state of Georgia.
- Completed the new Fire Station on Windy Ridge within budget and with no debt owed.
- Slowed the budget to less than 2% growth the last three years after inheriting a budget that increased 20% over 2016.
- Re-introduced chip sealing on County roads – reducing cost, eliminating dust. Public Works has achieved 84 miles of chip seal and asphalt resurfacing in only 3 years.
- Worked with the Chamber and Development Authority to encourage business and employment. Unemployment rate in Fannin has dropped from 5.7% to 2.6% the last three years.
- Introduced employee participation in retirement programs while protecting current retirees and existing employee participants on the fixed benefit retirement.
- Per the 2016 SPLOST mandate, purchased the Whitepath building for future home of County Administration offices that will improve public access and parking.
- Numerous improvements at the Animal Control facility to protect employees and facilitate public access.
Fannin County goverment is a $28.5 million dollar/year business. I believe in challenging departments that are overstaffed and overfunded regardless of whether it is popular or will cost votes. Our Public Works department and the Tax Assessors office are just two departments that are meeting that challenge and should be commended on their progress.
Law enforcement and all Public Safety support are important to this administration as it was to the previous administration. Since 2015 the average hourly rate for patrol officers has gone from $12.91/hour to the current $19.64. This is your tax dollars and you have done well to support our Sheriff’s department.
Fannin County is thriving, there are still many challenges ahead, I grew up here, educated in the Fannin school system and received my Bachelors of Business Degree from the University of Georgia.
Fannin County has many God-fearing people with common sense who deserve to see their local heritage respected as Fannin continues to change and grow.
I am honored to serve you – I ask for your vote in the upcoming Republican primary.”
Here are Mr. Helton’s comments on local heritage:
“Here is my clumsy effort to explain ‘Local Heritage’:
Folks that are native to the Fannin area have traditionally distrusted outsiders. I don’t think this is unique in Appalachia or any place in rural USA . I do know what it’s like being the guy who “ ain’t from around here,” living and traveling from New England to Hawaii for 34 years.
I believe this is simply a basic fear of the unknown or new ideas that conflict with local traditions. Guns, hunting dogs, self reliance, property rights, helping neighbors, pulling off the road for funeral processions, respecting the Sabbath, etc. are some of the actions that fall under ‘heritage’ in this area.
Even if you are from here and move away to learn new ideas, business practices, etc. Try coming back and trying to change ways this county has operated under for decades, it’s guaranteed to get you demonized in the local news. Lol.