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Perry: Keep county moving forward

Earl Perry said he is looking forward to helping lead Decatur County toward further progress if he is re-elected to the Board of Commissioners.

Perry, a Democrat, intends to run for re-election to County Commission District 1, which represents the southeastern part of the county including Attapulgus. Qualifying for the July general primary will be held April 26-30.

Perry, a retired college mathematics professor and a native of the county, was first elected to the board in 2002. He was re-elected without opposition in 2006.

Perry is one of a group of commissioners who have attempted to modernize county government in recent years. Construction of a new administration building, upgrading of computer systems and the hiring of several new county staff—including an administrator, finance director and human resources manager—have all factored into what Perry believes is an improvement for both county officials and citizens.

“Computerizing our accounting and refining our budget development procedures has made the county’s financial information more readily available to those who wish to see it,” Perry said.

Perry is one of the original members of the Board of Commissioners’ Finance Committee, which was set up in 2007 to assist with the drafting of new county budgets each summer. Together with the county administrator and finance director, as well as other commissioners, department heads and elected officials, Perry has helped conduct detailed reviews of financial information.

At times, the process has been crucial to continuing efficient operation of county government, as seen during a budget crisis during the summer 2009 in which the budget went through many drafts.

“With the budget and any other important part of county business, it takes all six commissioners working together to achieve goals,” Perry said.

Some of county commissioners’ other recent accomplishments include the purchase and opening of the Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area, creation of the county’s official Web site, construction of a profitable, modern landfill, supporting activities at both of the county’s industrial parks and partnering with the City of Bainbridge on its recreation programs. Currently, commissioners are investing in a new wireless broadband system to serve customers living in rural areas. They are also working to enforce county ordinances dealing with animal control, nuisances and litter.

Perry said that if re-elected, some of his personal goals for commissioners to work on include the following: Continuing to actively support the recruitment of new industry and jobs to the county, responding to citizens’ requests regarding road improvements, emergency response and flood prevention, and encouraging the appointment of people who are currently under-represented on county government boards.

Perry said he has attended every board meeting since he was elected. He served as the board’s vice-chairman in 2009 and is serving as its chairman in 2010. He has completed advanced certified commissioner training offered by the Association of County Commissioners of Georgia and has attended each of the statewide county commissioners’ conventions since 2003.