Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2004: CAMDEN COUNTY COMMISSION; Taxes, Growth Priority Issues Elected Officials Struggle to Keep Up with Demands on County's Infrastructure

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

ELECTION 2004: CAMDEN COUNTY COMMISSION; Taxes, Growth Priority Issues Elected Officials Struggle to Keep Up with Demands on County's Infrastructure

Article excerpt

Byline: Gordon Jackson, The Times-Union

WOODBINE -- Camden County's explosive growth the past 25 years has forced elected officials to wrestle with the best way to keep up with continued demands on the infrastructure.

The two candidates running for the County Commission seat in District 5 say planning for growth continues to be among the most important issues facing voters.

Incumbent David Rainer, chairman of the commission, is challenged by George Scott in Tuesday's Republican primary. The winner of the primary has no opposition by a Democrat and will earn a four-year term.

Here is a closer look at each candidate.

David Rainer

Rainer said his ultimate goal is to maintain the lowest taxes possible, while still providing a high level of service.

Rainer said he'd continue to look at ways to eliminate some administrative positions or combine job duties as a way to improve efficiency of public services.

"We're trying to streamline operations to make sure we don't have any more personnel than we need," he said.

Another way to save money, Rainer said, is to reduce the number of county cars and trucks, purchase more economical vehicles and maintain them so they last longer.

Rainer said he'll continue to work to bring new housing developments and businesses into the county as a way to increase the tax base. Because of the high interest by developers to build in the county, Rainer said, Camden is in a position to have builders share some of the infrastructure costs -- such as with a new development at the north end of the county, where the developer plans to build a fire station at his own expense.

Other developers and businesses will come to the county if elected and appointed officials create a receptive climate, Rainer said.

"People are starting to look at this community," he said. "I think we're on a threshold."

As growth comes, Rainer said, the county needs to prepare by conducting studies. One of the first studies planned, he said, is a comprehensive look at traffic flows.

George Scott

Scott said the county needs to form a comprehensive plan that will help establish spending priorities over the next five years. …

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