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Candidates give tax plans

6/21/2012

By GORDON JACKSON
The Brunswick News

Candidates vying for nominations to the Glynn County Commission in the July 31 primaries say they have alternatives to the contentious negotiations between city and county governments over the division of local sales tax revenue.

The candidates spoke Wednesday at a candidates forum at College of Coastal Georgia, a little more than a week after city and county officials began last-ditch efforts to resolve their differences without going to mediation.

Clifford Adams, who is seeking the Republican nomination in District 1 in northern Glynn County, said the city and county need to sit down and negotiate in earnest to reach an agreement.

Michael Browning, another Republican contender in District 1, said the city and county need to negotiate their shares of the tax in a way that benefits a majority of residents. He said the county needs a voice to address issues such as jobs and restore public confidence.

Bob Coleman, incumbent Republican At-large Post 2 commissioner seeking re-election, said communication has been a problem between city and county officials. He said the county needs to consider the city's challenges, while trying to address its own financial problems.

David Breland, one of three challengers to Coleman for the at-large nomination, said the amount of sales tax generated by the city and county should be a factor in the negotiations. He questioned data presented by the city, which also has to take into consideration that the county provides services it doesn't have to provide.

Joyce Crosby-Deloach, another Republican challenger for the at-large nomination, said the city and county need to make a better effort to work together because they are part of the same community.

John Terris, also an at-large candidate, said the city and county have been playing politics for years. The governments need to develop a formula to divide the money without a mediator. He said the money should be divided based on population.

Robbie Tucker, a candidate for the Republican nomination for the District 5 seat that includes the city, said the county needs to be more responsive to residents' concerns and demands, instead of spending tax dollars on unpopular projects, such as the ill-fated jail expansion in downtown Brunswick.

Anna Hall, a District 5 Republican candidate and former newspaper reporter, said her experience covering the county commission as a reporter gives her an understanding of issues such as improving city and county relations. She said monthly meetings between the city and county could have helped with sales tax negotiations.

Tashawnta Wells, who is also seeking the District 5 Republican nomination, said the city and county need to set aside egos during negotiations. She said the city deserves the 37 percent of tax revenue it is demanding.

Gary Cook, who is running for the Democratic nomination for District 5, said the city and county should have held meetings long ago to discuss how to share the tax. County elected officials need to be honest, if their intent is to force the city to consolidate with the county by starving it of tax revenue.

Dale Provenzano, who is unopposed for the Republican nomination for District 2 on St. Simons Island, said a formula to divide the money should have been created two years ago. The city and county need to identify all buildings exempt from property taxes and take into consideration sales tax revenue collected during the past 10 years.

More forums

Other candidate forums in the College of Coastal Georgia series will be:

* Wednesday, Glynn County Board of Education candidates.

* June 28, judicial and Glynn County sheriff candidates.

* July 10, state legislature candidates.

All forums will be at 7 p.m. in Room 112 of the Miriam and Hugh Nunnally Health and Science Building on the Brunswick campus.

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