LEESBURG -- As CPA Bill Williams makes his case for another four-year term on the Lee County Commission, he asks voters to consider a simple question.
"Is our county better off than it was four years ago?" Williams asks.
The chair of the county's Budget Committee and the architect of spending plans that have allowed the county to avoid the financial woes that have plagued neighboring governments, Williams insists -- and offers compelling evidence to support his contention -- that citizens would have to answer his question with a "resounding yes."
"Our county has made tremendous progress over the last four years," Williams said. "Consider that we have had a balanced budget each year with no property tax increases, no employee furloughs and no employee layoffs. We have run surpluses every year, and through careful planning have been able to increase our reserves by $4.6 million.
Occupation: Certified Public Accountant
Post Sought: District 5, Lee County Commission
Family: Wife Sharron; Grown Stepsons Shawn and Ryan Murphy
Key Issues: Budget; Public Safety; Roads and Infrastructure
"We've added 30 public safety employees over the last four years, corrected problems at Grand Island from averaging losses of $181,000 per year to being completely self-sufficient, and we've upgraded our antiquated public safety radio system. And we've accomplished those things during the worst economic downturn of our lifetime."
To read about Bill Williams' opponent, Greg Frich, click here.
Williams ran for the District 5 seat on the County Commission after discovering a $1.6 million error in the county's budget plan. He said financial misdirection by the board at that time convinced him to run for office.
"There was talk then of raising taxes 3 mills, and our county was spending more than it was taking in," Williams said. "Grand Island was a mess, and finding that $1.6 million budget error -- which alone could have devastated the county -- convinced me that the county needed someone with financial expertise on the board."
Williams gained that expertise during his 31 years as a CPA, but he picked up the work ethic for which he is known long before then. He started working at age 13 and put himself through college with no other financial assistance.
"I was taught a work ethic at a very young age," he said. "I know the value of a dollar and treat each taxpayer dollar as if it was my own."
Seeking a second four-year term on the commission against the challenge of defense contractor Greg Frich, Williams says the issues that were important in Lee County four years ago will be just as vital in the next four years.
"The Association County Commissioners of Georgia says that the budget remains the No. 1 issue," Williams said. "If we continue to keep a close watch, I can see us not having to raise taxes over the next four years. We must, though, make sure public safety has an adequate number of employees and that we keep our infrastructure updated.
"I am not a politician and may not be the most flamboyant or outspoken candidate. I am just an ordinary person who goes to work every day and tries to make our community a better place to live."