Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camden Growth Tops Candidates' Lists; Foes in County's Only Contested Race Point to Need to Pave North-End Roads

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Camden Growth Tops Candidates' Lists; Foes in County's Only Contested Race Point to Need to Pave North-End Roads

Article excerpt

Byline: Gordon Jackson, The Times-Union

WOODBINE -- Growth at the north end of Camden County is a key concern for the two candidates running in the lone contested election in Camden County.

Both candidates for the District 1 seat on the County Commission, Democratic incumbent Preston Rhodes and Republican challenger Bill Blankenship, said a major challenge is maintaining and paving many of the dirt roads as a way to accommodate growth coming to the north end of the county.

The election is Tuesday.

Here is a closer look at each candidate.

BILL BLANKENSHIP

Blankenship said repaving all dirt roads at the north end of the county should be a priority because of high growth there. A special purpose 1-cent sales tax paid by everyone, including residents living outside the county who stop at local restaurants, service stations and motels, would be used to fund the road upgrades.

"It's a project that needs to be done," Blankenship said. "People at the north end should have equitable services."

Blankenship said he'd also use his influence as a county commissioner to influence the county's Board of Education to build an elementary and middle school at the county's north end because some children are spending more than two hours a day riding buses to and from school.

A master plan that maps out the future for the county is needed to help determine the best locations for new residential developments, schools and fire stations.

"We don't have a plan that prevents a $250,000 house and a manufactured home on the same street," he said.

Property taxes can be lowered through better budget planning, Blankenship said. This will save taxpayers in his district and throughout the county and help prepare for growth that is sure to come to the north end of the county.

"People will come, regardless," Blankenship said. "It's happening as we sit here. …

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