2 of 3 respond in District 5

Published 12:00 am Monday, November 3, 2003

[10/31/03]In advance of general election voting Tuesday, The Vicksburg Post provided questionnaires to candidates for local offices.

Their responses, as they wrote them, are being printed in a series of articles, ending today with those from candidates for Warren County District 5 supervisor.

The candidates for the post are Democrat Frank A. Gardner, 46, incumbent independent Richard George, 54, and independent Joe Wooley, 60.

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No response was received from Gardner.

District 5 is the county’s southeastern district.

Q: How would you decide which public-works projects are most important?

George: Warren County operates on a unit system basis which emphasizes the concept of countywide cost and effects. Public-works projects are determined on priority basis of need and cost by the board as a unit.

Wooley: By deciding which ones would be the most beneficial to the people of Warren County.

Q: Development in Warren County outside Vicksburg has increased recently in areas including U.S. 61 North near River Region Medical Center. What, if any, level of land-use regulation or zoning laws would you support? Why?

George: Land-use planning and regulation is certainly in the future for Warren County. The cost of enforcement and hearing processes involved in land-use regulation must be measured and a plan of funding developed that is reasonable and affordable for our citizens.

Wooley: In areas such as U.S. 61 North, near the River Region Medical Center, I would support zoning that would allow development that would complement existing businesses. Manufacturing businesses should be encouraged to build in one of the industrial areas already available in the county.

Q: Groups such as the Community Alliance of Vicksburg Warren County have pushed for consolidation of some functions performed by both county and city governments. What, if any, opportunities do you see for gains through consolidation?

George: Consolidation of some services possibly could provide more efficient services at a more affordable rate. Two factors must be addressed thoroughly in advance of any move. (a) Level of service to be delivered countywide should be equitable. (b) An accurate and defined method of funding a consolidated service must be developed in order to be equitable.

Wooley: Some functions such as recreation and animal control, which serve both city and county residents, could be consolidated and would be more efficient and would also save both the city and county money.

Q: Four years ago, county voters said in a nonbinding referendum that they wanted the old Mississippi River bridge open to light vehicular traffic. Supervisors followed with a 4-1 vote to do that. The bridge remains closed. What are your thoughts on this?

George: Since the vote was taken four years ago, both river bridges have developed pier problems on the Mississippi side of the river. Studies are ongoing to determine cause and remedy of the problems, as well as the cost of a cure. Once pier stability is assured on the old bridge, then repair to other deficiencies and the deck could be pursued. However, liability coverage for the taxpayers of Warren County is a serious matter that must be addressed since part of the bridge structure is subject to Mississippi law, while the remainder of the bridge structure is subject to Louisiana law.

Wooley: The board of supervisors has failed to stay on top of the situation and has not held the bridge commission accountable in keeping the public informed of plans and progress for reopening the bridge.

Q: What do you think is the most important aspect of a Warren County supervisor’s job?

George: The understanding of the duties and responsibilities of county government and how it is funded. This knowledge enables a supervisor to work with fellow supervisors and other officials, as well as enables a supervisor to respond promptly and accurately to questions and concerns from citizens.

Wooley: Representing the citizens of your district while making decisions that will benefit all of Warren County.

Q: If there are specific things you’d like to accomplish in office, please list them and explain.

George: Topics that need attention include: (a) Addressing the need for courtroom space in our circuit court system that will offer security and efficiency while considering law enforcement’s concerns for transportation and manpower. (b) Continuing our efforts to devise a paving plan for dead-end gravel roads that carry low-weight residential traffic. Experiments with alternate methods of paving are ongoing and hopefully will soon reveal an affordable and effective road-surfacing method.

Wooley: (1) Build a better relationship with the city government which would benefit all of Warren County. (2) Work with organizations such as Keep Vicksburg Warren Beautiful to help reduce litter and reduce illegal refuse dumping. (3) Look for innovative ways to entice new industry to Warren County.