The Franklin County Citizen Leader presented each local candidate with a set of general questions ahead of Tuesday’s primary. Stories written from the answers provided have been published over the past few weeks. All of the stories are available, for free, at www.franklincountycitizen.com.
Roach driven to help make future better
ROYSTON – Christopher Roach describes himself as a “father, husband, agriculturalist, American” and said he is blessed in many ways.
“I feel driven to do everything I can to better the future of America,” he said.
Roach’s drive has led him to run for chairman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners. It is a position he said he feels he’s been prepared for.
“From my teenage years on, I have been groomed for leadership, from 4-H State President to running various family businesses and working for the department of agriculture,” he said. “I have been exposed to a wide gamut of niches in this world. My college experiences and world travel have also opened my eye to old and new avenues to benefit others. From a well-rooted American family, to a strong conservative Christian moral base, God has blessed me with common sense that only being raised as a Southerner can have.”
Roach attended seven different colleges and universities in two different countries and traveled the world to finish his education before coming back to Georgia to raise his family.
Roach has worked for the past several years for both state and federal Departments of Agriculture.
The biggest challenges facing the county are a balanced budget and overspending, Roach said.
The county needs to “review, revise and prioritize a balanced budget,” he said, with “a true cleaning house of luxuries, frivolous expenditures, with a new management structure that creates more productivity.”
Roach said that “reduce and reuse should start to become a forethought.
“We need to tighten our spending,” he said. “Debt is never an answer that a government should make for its people. Accountability within our county’s government and programs needs to be enforced.”
Roach said the county also needs to consider more involvement in “moral programs for our youth.
“if we do not focus on the next generation, then nothing we do or decide is worth the having,” he said. “Another investment in the future of our land and water would be an agriculture response network/team within the county.”
Roach said that his mentality will have with spending is, “If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it, value each cent spent and make each dollar count towards the benefit of the taxpayer.”
“I will always stand by the Constitution, Bill of Rights and the belief that God has the greater plan,” Roach said.
Macomson wants to continue service
LAVONIA – Jason Macomson has held two elected positions during his public service career and is now seeking his third: the chairmanship of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners.
“I enjoy public service, and I have made a conscious effort to be involved on some level in serving my community for most of my adult life, in addition to my professional occupations,” the former Lavonia City Council member and current commissioner from the county’s District 2. “I’ve been blessed with many opportunities and the help of many people who guided me along the way through school, higher education and veterinary medicine. I am grateful for all those who paved the way for me, and I have always sought for ways to give back to the community and help other people just as I have been helped.”
A native of Lavonia, Macomson has lived in Franklin County his entire life.
He served on the Lavonia City Council from 2003-07 and was elected to the Franklin County Board of Commissioners in 2016.
Macomson is a veterinarian and has worked at Lavonia Animal Hospital in some capacity for about 34 years, since he was in eighth grade.
A 1991 graduate of Franklin County High School, he graduated with a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine in 1998 and practiced at Lavonia Animal Hospital prior to and while teaching high school science at Franklin County High School from 2000-07.
“During my tenure at the high school, I served on the school leadership team and led the SACS reaccreditation process in 2006,” he said.
In 2007, Macomson moved to the middle school, where he served as an assistant principal for another five years until returning to Lavonia Animal Hospital to practice full-time again.
“I love Franklin County, and I believe that my background in education, veterinary medicine and city and county government has given me unique preparation and a solid foundation for the role of chairman of the Board of Commissioners,” he said.
In the near term, Macomson said the biggest challenge facing the county comes from dealing with the fallout of the coronavirus pandemic.
“Much of the financial assistance available to businesses and individuals is administered by programs from the state and federal government, but we need to work closely with the Industrial Building Authority, the local chambers of commerce and the cities to help connect people with the right resources,” he said. “One of the greatest sources of direct assistance the county can provide is tax relief. The Board of Commissioners is going to have to take a hard look at everything in the county budget, set spending priorities, determine what services are absolutely essential, and make meaningful budget cuts toward helping reduce the tax burden on businesses and individuals. This will require a cooperative effort from all the elected officials, both on the Board of Commissioners and the constitutional officers to make the best decisions that will allow the county to provide adequate levels of service while saving as much money as possible. As citizens in the private sector and business tighten their belts, local government must respond similarly.”
The county needs to keep its taxes low and shift the burden away from property owners, he said.
“One way we can do this is by expanding our revenue streams beyond primary reliance on the traditional property tax,” the candidate said. “We need to focus on increasing our financial reserves. Reserves are important to help us weather economic downturns, but unfortunately right now we don’t have strong reserves to rely on as we prepare to face what has the potential to turn into a recession.”
Franklin County is a rural county that “preserves a historically rural lifestyle while also offering opportunities for business and industry,” Macomson said. The county needs to continue striking a good balance between business and agriculture.
“We need to continue to prioritize and support agriculture, because agricultural operations employ and feed large swaths of the county,” he said. “We need to continue to work on expanding our infrastructure and access to water throughout the county, as well as find ways to extend internet and broadband technology to underserved areas.”
The county’s planning and zoning laws also need revision, he said.
“Zoning was implemented in the early 2000s, but much of the zoning ordinances are generic in nature,” Macomson said. “The entire set of zoning regulations needs to be revised to better reflect changes in growth in the county over the last two decades. More protections for property owners need to be added, and we need to decide exactly what type of growth we want and where we want to see that growth occur. “
Developing more housing is also important.
“As business and industry expand, we need to be sure we have adequate housing for the influx of employees needed to support those businesses.,” he said. “The county is continually working on expanding water infrastructure, but we need to also improve broadband/technology access as well.”
Road maintenance is also a need.
“The county road department does a great job with the finite resources they have, but developing the funding to improve the quality of our roads is a vital need, not only to serve citizens but also to enhance recruitment of business and industry,” Macomson said.
The candidate said he believes strongly in public service and open, transparent government.
“I have priorities, but so do the other four board members,” he said. “No matter who is elected, we all have to develop a professional working relationship. This doesn’t mean that we have to agree on everything, but collegiality is important to maintain and foster civil discussion and debate. Elective office is no place for personal grievances and petty politics, but all too often it seems to be present throughout all levels of government.”
If elected, Macomson said he promises “to pursue a collegial, professional board that works to develop strong relationships with the other elected, constitutional officers of Franklin County, and also with the members of the Board of Education and the elected officials of each city.
Government leaders should make every attempt to reach out to and inform citizens, as well as be willing to listen to their needs and concerns, he said.
“Since I began my term on the Board of Commissioners, I’ve made a determined effort to maintain direct lines of communication with citizens online through social media platforms as well as through letters to the editor and guest columns in the local paper,” Macomson said. “My goal has been and will continue to be that of making sure that our government’s activities are as open and transparent as possible. I will continue my efforts to keep everyone informed in a manner that is timely, unbiased, apolitical and as professional as possible. As chairman, I will work to improve public services by expanding the documents and information resources that are available online through the county’s existing website.”
Franklin County faces challenges but also has a lot of strengths, the candidate said.
“I want to be a good steward of all of our resources, keeping tax rates as low as possible and maintaining a high level of public service,” Macomson said. “There will be sacrifices because of the impact of the coronavirus, but I want to do everything possible to blunt its impact on our lives and our finances. We live in a wonderful county and have an excellent group of county and city leaders, and I want to see us succeed and thrive and improve the quality of life of everyone who lives here. I appreciate your consideration, encouragement, and support, and I am excited about the opportunity to serve Franklin County in a new capacity.”
Ginn offers servant leadership as chair
CANON – Britt Ginn says his agenda if elected as chairman of the Franklin County Board of Commissioners is a simple one: “to honor The Lord Jesus Christ and represent the citizens of Franklin County to the very best of my ability.”
Ginn, who serves as pastor of Indian Creek Baptist Church in Carnesville and drives a bus for the Franklin County School System, has a family history of public service.
“Both sides of my family served public office in Franklin county: My great grandfather Buford Ginn served as clerk of court many years ago and my Grandfather Terrell Roper served as commissioner in the 1970s and again in 1980s,” he said. “It will be an honor to serve the great people of this county. I am proud of my family heritage and proud to be from this county and will Honor God while serving man.”
Ginn and wife Mandy have been married for 20 years and have four children, Kaleigh, Ivey, J.D. and Georgia.
The family lives in Canon on Ginn’s grandparents’ family farm.
Ginn said his family has engendered qualities that he will need as commission chairman.
“I’m a family man,” he said. “I know the challenges that come with being married and raising a family for over half my life. That brings a sense of responsibility, accountability and dedication.”
Ginn said he is a servant leader and leads by example.
“The ability to listen to people is a key component of leadership,” he said. “I have always offered a listening ear to the concerns of people. A level head, I often think about all sides of situations when making decisions because decisions effect others besides myself. I am a relational person that is very approachable. People of this county matter to me.”
The candidate said that he wants the county “to identify who we are so we will know which way to go.
“I will lead our county in determining that,” he said.
The county government needs a strategic plan that includes infrastructure to attract businesses that “fit who were are as a county,” Ginn said.
Commissioners should also “look for ways to create tax revenue to take the pressure off of the property owner.”
A recreation master plan is also needed in order to “make a better Franklin County for our families,” he said. “My relationship with sports and school will aid in bridging that gap to continue to make Franklin County a place to build a life.”
Ginn said the county faces several challenges and those could change depending on the impact that the COVID-19 pandemic has locally.
“However, I will face any challenges that come our way as a county, prayerfully and with a mindset of working as a team for what is best for the citizens of Franklin County,” he said. “If elected, I will begin right away continuing to build relationships with those in our county to work hard for what is best for the citizens of Franklin County.”