LEESBURG, Ga. — Candidates for public office typically list their occupation in campaign literature as a formality, a means to show they are indeed gainfully employed.
Lee County Commissioner Bill Williams says his life’s work — as a certified public accountant — is crucial to his mission on the commission. And it’s why he’s seeking a second four-year term in office in the July 31 general primary.
“Lee County was spending more than it was taking in for a number of years before I was elected, and there was talk of the need to raise taxes in order to correct this,” Williams said in formally announcing his plans to run for re-election. “In addition, our county was on the verge of adopting a budget in 2006 that had a $1.6 million error. I discovered this error and informed the commission, thereby saving the taxpayers this money before the budget was passed and expended.
“I realized at this time that our commission needed someone with experience in financial matters to serve on the board. The No. 1 problem that continues to face cities and counties is budget concerns, and I would like to continue utilizing my experience in government finances in order to help our county solve these problems.”
Williams currently serves as partner in the Garland Williams & Associates CPA firm, a position he’s held since 2000. But his expertise in the field goes back 31 years, and in that time he’s come to specialize in government auditing and accounting. In fact, among Williams’ current clients are 16 governmental entities, including six counties.
Williams is chairman of the Lee Commission’s Budget Committee.
“As chairman of the Budget Committee, I am proud of the fact that we have been able to run surpluses every year that I have been on the board without an increase in the millage rate,” Williams said. “We have also been able to increase our reserve fund, not had to lay off or furlough any employees while continuing to provide needed services to the citizens of Lee County.
“This is remarkable considering the current economic conditions we are experiencing.”
Williams said the board’s accomplishments during his three-plus years in office include construction of a fire/EMS station in Smithville, construction of a county animal shelter, increased funding for public safety, initiation of an ongoing aggressive road paving program and implementing cost-cutting measures at Grand Island that turned the county-owned venue around.
“Before we came into office, Grand Island was taking as much as $150,000 a year from the general fund,” he said. “Since we’ve directed cost-cutting measures, they haven’t taken a dime and have become completely self-sufficient.
“I am also especially happy that bids for Donald Road and a portion of Flowing Well Road have already been approved by this board and that David Road, Lane Drive, Ragan Street and Thomas Street will be completed as soon as we obtain a few remaining rights-of-way.”
Williams said that, even though sales tax revenue has finally started to trend upward in the county, the time for fiscal responsibility has not ended.
“I don’t believe things will ever be like they were before the recession hit us,” he said. “One thing we now know is we can’t rely on the state and federal governments to bail us out.
“This board has done a lot of good things, and I have been honored to be a part of it. I only hope that the citizens of Lee County will choose to keep this board intact. I find it remarkable that each board member has different backgrounds and areas of expertise, and we work well together and generally reach the same conclusions about what is best for our county. I am looking forward to continuing to serve the citizens of Lee County.”