Three candidates vie for Commission District 3 seat

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, May 19, 2004

There are three candidates seeking the District 3 seat on the Butler County Commission.

They are Frank Hickman, the incumbent, Gene Gibson and Vernon S. Herring.

Each candidate was sent a list of questions.

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Each candidate was given the same amount of space to answer the questions.

Each candidate received the same questions.

What follows are their answers verbatim as they reported them.

Vernon Herring, a former County Commissioner, returned his questions for publication.

However, his responses were lost following an internal shift of the editor’s desk contents for renovation purposes.

To be frank, Herring returned his Q&A well before the deadline.

The Advocate offered to sit down with him and redo the questions, but he chose not to.

The Advocate apologizes to Herring and to his supporters for this error.

GA: Why do you want to be a Butler County Commissioner?

GIBSON: I have always had an interest in county government and I am eager to make a full time commitment to Butler County. I know most of the people in my district and where they live and with my ability to appreciate different opinions while working together to find creative solutions I know we can solve any problems or concerns that are in our County, together we will benefit our community. County government should offer essential services like law enforcement, road maintenance, fire protection and others services that individuals cannot take care of and government must do.

HICKMAN: I was asked to serve as a Butler County Commissioner three years ago after the unfortunate death of Mr. Joe Hendrix. At that time, I asked myself the same question. The answer to the question has become apparent over the last three years. I have really enjoyed my service on the Commission. The Butler County Commission is faced with many problems that require thought and leadership. I am blessed to be qualified to serve the people of Butler County in dealing with many of the problems and issues the county faces on a daily basis. The job of Commissioner is important and will be particularly important over the next four years. This is a challenging and exciting time in Butler County’s history. It is important that your County Commissioner be able to help carefully plan for Butler County’s future during this challenging time.

What do you see as being the top three problems the county will face in the next four years?

GIBSON: The three main problems facing the county in the next four years are the same ones that we have been facing, however they need to be addressed in a more diligently manner. Some of the county roads are in desperate need of resurfacing, the new jail needs to be completed as soon as possible and we need better incentives and benefits for our deputies so that they will stay with the county. Because what it all boils down to is keeping the citizens of our county safe, and this means improving roads, completing new jail and incentives for deputies.

HICKMAN: The County faces tremendous demands on its limited revenues to provide essential services. Because of the anticipated growth related to Hyundai, the demands will be greater. We will have to make wise and hard decisions as to where to use our limited resources so as to position ourselves for anticipated growth. Another obvious need is to build a new jail for Butler County. The Commission has a plan to construct a new jail and we need to begin that construction during the next four years. We need to continue to improve our existing roads. We also need to find new resources to do a better job maintaining our dirt roads and to hopefully be in a position to start a program of surfacing some of those roads in our future.

What do you plan to do about those three problems if you are elected?

GIBSON: I plan to work with other county officials to address the county’s roads, and although we currently have a plan to raise funds for a new jail, I will look into ways to speed up the process. Law enforcement is one of most essential services county officials are responsible for.

Butler County covers 779 square miles, the department does not have the manpower or equipment to cover such a large area. I will do everything possible to establish a good solid working relationship with the sheriffs department. I’ll ask the tough questions that must be answered in our county.

HICKMAN: Because of the pressure in our state’s budget, funding from the state is threatened. We must be careful how we use the limited resources we have. We must work with our legislators to be sure Butler County gets it’s fair share of available revenues. We must also apply for all available federal funds. As concerns the jail, we have a plan in place and we need to continue to execute the plan. As concerns our roads, we will complete our existing Five Year Plan and start the process of developing a new Five Year Plan.