Phillips seeks to build on county’s achievements

Published 8:18 pm Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Local businessman Gary Phillips said he hopes to continue bringing a business-oriented and customer-service approach to the County Board of Commsissioners if he is re-elected to a second term.

Phillips, who was first elected in 2006, said he intends to qualify as a candidate for the District 6 Commissioner’s seat, which represents northwestern Decatur County, including Brinson. He said he considers his first four years on the board as a learning experience in which he and the other five commissioners have accomplished much. He believes he can continue to be an asset to solve citizens’ pressing issues.

“When I get a phone call about a concern or problem, I try to explain that county government is like a machine,” Phillips said. “Things move along in a process, there’s a schedule to be followed.”

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For Phillips, one of the most important issues to both he and his constituents has been maintenance of dirt roads. Phillips said he works closely with the County Public Works Department and County Administrator Tom Patton to make sure all of citizens’ road concerns are being addressed. Sometimes, it’s a matter of managing employees’ time and fuel, as well as “catching up” across large areas after rainfall degrades road conditions, he said.

“We try to be efficient in a way that saves taxpayers money,” Phillips said. “When people call in, we have a system for recording their information, their concern, who checked on it, what needs to be done to fix it and what the status is.”

Public Works employees are getting professional training about various techniques in grading and maintaining dirt roads. Administrator Patton and commissioners have held several workshops to identify roads which need work and prioritize improvement projects. For example, the county is preparing to try out a new technique for grading of Carter’s Mill Road, which Phillips acknowledged as the road in the worst need of repair in the district he represents.

“If you spend your time and money on doing it right the first time, in the long run I believe you will save money,” Phillips said.

Phillips said he and other commissioners who were involved in the negotiations to acquire two large tracts of land which comprise the Silver Lake Wildlife Management Area are proud of what it represents for the county. Phillips said commissioners’ long-term vision for Silver Lake is to develop a lodge, bike trail, horse trails and other recreation amenities.

“We see it as a very positive asset, to preserve the property from being over-developed or ruined, while making it available for recreation now and in the future,” Phillips said.

Another development Phillips takes pride in is the opening of the new county landfill on U.S. 27 South and its profitable operation. He said he likes that the county government is in control of where local waste goes and having a fixed cost. With good planning, the county has been able to make plenty of space for waste from other customers, helping make money for the county, he said.

Some of Phillips’ other future goals include: ensuring there is ample infrastructure at the Industrial Air Park for new industries, continuing to enforce local and state laws on litter and illegal trash dumping and continuing to support the efforts of local law enforcement in combatting the problem of illegal drug usage and trade.

Phillips serves on several civic groups’ boards, including the Association of County Commissioners’ of Georgia Interlocal Risk Management Agency’s Board of Trustees, the Georgia U.S. Highway 27 Association, the Southwest Georgia Joint Development Authority, and the Bainbridge Downtown Development Authority.