Charles Oddo (incumbent), Fayette Commission District 5 (At-Large), Republican Primary

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CHARLES ODDO

QUESTION: You are asking to be hired (or re-hired) by the voters of this county. Give five reasons why they should vote for you and not your opponent.

1. I have shown by my record I am eminently qualified. I understand business. I understand home ownership. I understand how the county government works. And I understand the relationship among them. I understand that although we are one of the richest counties in Georgia, we have residents on fixed incomes and low incomes, and I understand the burden taxation places on them. It is why my fellow commissioners and I successfully sought state-wide change to property tax laws to benefit our veterans.

It is why I voted to roll back the millage rate to the taxpayers of Fayette County six of the last seven years I have approved budgets. Last year I supported allowing the millage rate to remain constant so that the county would have the necessary funds to competitively compensate our first responders: Sheriff’s deputies, Fire and EMS, and 911 – all providers of critical services our residents need and expect.

It is important to understand that lowering the millage rate is what the Board of Commissioners does to offset increased property values people may see in their tax notices. The county millage rate is what the Board of Commissioners controls. Three components the Board of Commissioners cannot control are property values determined by formula, and millage rates set by the Board of Education and municipalities.

I have been part of many achievements and accomplishments that benefit all residents.

To name a few:

• Comprehensive Annual Financial Report 2019, page 9: “The Board again demonstrates a long-term commitment to fiscal conservatism and efficiency while maintaining an outstanding level of customer service to its citizens.”

• New, May 14, 2020, approved TNVR Ordinance and Policy (Trap, Neuter, Vaccinate, Release). The culmination of a three-year effort with the Fayette Humane Society and the Office of the Solicitor General, this ordinance can be enforced and will allow those who wish to participate in TNVR to be exempt from the current controlling ordinance.

• Seven consecutive balanced budgets.

• Aaa bond-rated since 2014 (one of only 5 counties in Georgia).

• $1,000,000 earmarked for a new Department of Health building.

• $1,000,000 for a new, larger Animal Shelter.

• First in the USA adoption of 911 Carbyne, “The first municipality (county) in North America to advance its emergency services with cutting-edge technology to precisely and quickly locate victims.”

• 2017 SPLOST to rebuild county stormwater infrastructure and provide state-of-the art radios for Sheriff’s deputies and all First Responders.

• Beneficial Statewide change for Veterans property tax refunds.

• Construction of new Fire Station 3 in Tyrone, and two new fire stations underway.

• Elimination of the Storm Water Utility fee.

• Stabilization of the retirement and health plans.

• Millions of dollars in rollback of property taxes to our residents.

I would ask the reader please see my website and the list of achievements, accomplished during my tenure in office, all of which have benefited the citizens (http://www.oddonow.com/accomplishments2.html).

2. I am fiscally conservative. It is one of the four tenets of my philosophy of governing (http://www.oddonow.com/philosophy.html). I believe the county must live within its means. To help in my decisions, I use a four-part test, the answers to which help guide my votes: Do we want it? Do we need it? Can we afford to? Can we afford not to?

Taxes are a necessity of civilized society, but they must be minimized whether times are good or bad. They must be imposed with the greatest hesitation. They must be utilized with the greatest of care.

As a commissioner, my responsibility and oversight has extended to present and future needs of the county. I have never approved spending based on the loudest outcry, but instead have depended on the substance of the request and the analysis of our professional staff. Spending wisely not only ensures funding to cover annual expenses, but also future needs.

From the beginning of my tenure, I have believed in planning. I whole-heartedly supported the creation of our vehicle replacement fund and 5-year capital fund. By putting money aside in these funds, the county is much better prepared for future expenses we know are coming, and better able to handle the unexpected.

Because of wise financial management, Fayette County has been Aaa bond-rated since 2014. We are one of only 5 counties in Georgia with the highest rating.

3. Relationships are vital. Over the past seven years, I have worked diligently to develop and build relationships on behalf of our community and within the community. Great strides have been made since I took office. My two years as Chairman were marked by improved relations among our local elected officials, state, and ARC, an effort I have continued throughout my term in office. My allegiance has been to all the citizens of Fayette County. I am always available to speak and meet with residents. My cell phone is 770-843-4034. My email address is coddo@fayettecountyga.gov. My website is www.oddonow.com.

4. Decisions have county-wide ramifications, and are not always easy to make. Yet they are part of this job, and I have not shirked from them. One of my first decisions was to deny a first responder and his wife for the rezoning they needed. The precedent that would have been set would have been untenable for the county. I felt my stomach in knots as I watched the distraught pair leave our chambers … And then I worked with others over the next 8 months to successfully come up with a solution for them.

5. Voters should have a commissioner who has demonstrated commitment to the community for the long term, someone who is trustworthy, fiscally responsible, considerate to all sides of an issue, and capable of making tough decisions when warranted. My interest in the well-being of the county is second to none.

June 21 will mark my 50th anniversary living here in Fayette County and my family and I have contributed to the community in many ways, some of which include publishing children’s books which carried the name of Fayetteville across the US and Canada, and as far away as Japan; building and operating GTO’s Fabulous Fifties Drive-In Restaurant; raising cattle and Christmas trees; and now our accounting and tax practice. And in the process we have provided employment to many local residents.

My passion for the county in which I live is why I offered and desired to serve as a commissioner. It is what has driven me to be part of a team that has accomplished many good things for our county over the past few years.

Looking ahead, my goals for the include, but aren’t limited to:

• Maintain a strong, Aaa-rated, financial position.

• Balance growth and economic development following the Fayette County Comprehensive Plan.

• Maintain strong property values.

• Target 21st century industries including Advanced Manufacturing, Film and Creative Media, Aerospace & Aviation, Information Technology, and Corporate Headquarters.

• Complete construction of our new Public Safety Training Facility.

• Complete construction of our new Animal Shelter.

• Continue progress on 2017 SPLOST projects including Stormwater, Transportation, Fire & Emergency Services, and Public Safety Radio System.

• Leverage SPLOST funds to develop more traffic solutions.

• Continue to improve state and local relations.

QUESTION: How are you different from your opponent(s) in your philosophy and your approach to this elected office?

1. I can only speak for myself. I do not know my opponents’ thoughts other than what is represented in social media. My goal, as in past elections, has been to conduct myself professionally, courteously, to speak of my record and what I hope still to achieve, and to do my job well. My goal is to build bridges. Then, I believe everything will fall into place.

So what does my experience bring? On a critical level I understand what a County Commission can do and cannot do, and where to seek guidance for those things I may be unsure of. For example, the county cannot make laws that supersede state laws governing the Animal Shelter. Or, for example, the County Commission cannot supersede state law on property tax refunds which is why we sought a state-wide change for our veterans. Overstepping the bounds of our authority has liability and can be extremely costly. When legal questions arise, I seek the counsel of our County Attorney.

2. My record is one of applying my business knowledge and experience to the business of the county. It is not necessary that I know how to do every job, but it is extremely important that I have the right people doing the job. It is imperative to understand the ramifications of decisions beyond the commission chambers and understand the precedents we may be setting. It is very important to follow established procedures for enacting or revising new policies and ordinances. If the goal is agreed upon, it is incumbent to find the best solution to achieve the goal. It takes fortitude to face a crowd and do what you know is right, even though it may not be popular.

3. My philosophy is to be respectful and patient, and to listen so that opinions of all can be taken into account. Deliberation sometimes takes longer than we as commissioners or citizens hope for, but deliberation will lead to the best, long-term decisions. The recent TNVR ordinance and policy approval was discussed for three years and was the result of the county working with the Fayette Humane Society and the Solicitor General. The ordinance enacted provides legal protection for participants that would not exist otherwise.

4. I cannot be a one-issue candidate. There are many issues, and I understand that I need to balance all the needs and wishes of the residents. My decisions must benefit the entire community. My decisions that will not always make everyone happy. But I always conduct myself professionally and respectfully at all times, some tell me to a fault.

Thank you for the opportunity to present some of who I am, and respectfully ask for your support and your vote.

Let’s Keep Working Together For Fayette!

I encourage everyone to visit my website to learn more about me (www.oddonow.com).

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