Outgoing County Commissioner Tom Green Pct. 4 Bill Ford

SAN ANGELO — Candidates for the May 24 GOP Runoff election in Tom Green County were recently asked to answer a series of questions posed by San Angelo LIVE! readers.

Questions were submitted to San Angelo LIVE! and have been condensed into 12 questions. These 12 questions were then sent to the candidates.

The answers to these questions are published as a tool to help voters decide who they want to vote for. The run-off election will take place on May 24, 2022 with early voting from May 16 to May 20.

Bill Ford in Outgoing County Commissioner Tom Green Pct. 4 and is a candidate for re-election.

Here are the answers to Commissioner Ford’s 12 questions in his own words.

1. Do you think it is important to help families stranded through Mineral Wells to find an alternate route. If not, is the subdivision developer responsible?

Helping the families of Mineral Wells Rd has always been important. Finding additional access is the problem. The new bridge is too expensive. Easement through private land is also expensive or difficult. Landowners are not so open to allowing access through their land. I’m still working on this idea.

2. If it is illegal for the county to use equipment and county funds on private property, especially subdivision roads, what would be your plan for accepting new and existing roads into county inventory ?

Yes, it is illegal to use county equipment on private property without permission, such as in emergency situations. We are slow to accept new roads to add to the current road inventory due to the cost to the taxpayer.

3. Do you support increasing the $10 road and bridge fee charged on license tag renewals to increase road revenue?

Yes.

4. Does Tom Green County own water rights or supply water to subdivisions?

No. We provide assistance to subdivisions and developers for subsidies and water suppliers.

5. Would you support a substantial increase in funding for volunteer fire departments and where would you cut the county budget to find those funds?

Yes. We haven’t cut budgets in the past to do that and I don’t expect to.

6. Would you consider advocating for the county to consolidate road and bridge duties with the City of San Angelo if this process were legal?

No. The county is currently working with COSA to pave (overlay) approximately 20 miles in prct 2 and 4 with funding to use private contractors.

7. Do you support an immediate salary increase for corrections officers at the Tom Green County Jail to increase capacity and where would the funding come from?

Yes. We have funds budgeted to cover jailers if we could hire and retain them. We are currently understaffed at over 25 people.

8. Tom Green County Library System and County Parks are optional expenses; they are not mandated by state law. Would you consider permanently closing county parks and/or drastically reducing library services to avoid a property tax increase?

No.

9. Does the Court of Commissioners have any specific statutory authority to spend property tax money on economic development other than property tax abatements? If yes, please explain in detail.

Yes. We are currently working on several projects, not all of which use taxpayers’ money. Some of the projects we write grants for help business owners, developers, infrastructure funds, with federal, state, and local funds where we budget for such projects. CDBG, community development grants. Texas Capital Funds, Economic Development Funds 380/381, Texas Tax Code has development funds for emergency drought relief, loans, etc.

Now, we channel federal ARPA funds for several countywide projects.

10. What departments or services are you willing to consider cutting to meet unfunded state or federal mandates?

Nothing. Didn’t have to but still possible.

11. What is your understanding of the role of the Court of Commissioners in natural and man-made disasters with respect to emergency management?

Emergency management is coordinated by the Department of Emergency Management (city/county department) and the county judge. Commissioners and other elected officials work alongside VFDs and law enforcement as directed by our region.

12. Would you support voting to replace any or all of the members of the Tom Green County Tax Assessment District Board of Directors? Why or why not?

No.

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