All On Georgia Paulding (AOG) sent some questions to the candidates running for Post 3 commissioner. This is the first of 3 articles we’re publishing with the candidate’s answers. Taurus Madric-Morris (TM) is one of the 3 candidates that qualified to run. The following are the answers she provided to AOG Paulding, unedited, as well as a short biography.
AOG: It should be the goal of all government to operate as fiscally and as efficiently as possible, in what ways can Paulding County become more efficient in its operations?
(TM) Paulding County can become more efficient in its operations by embracing and implementing current software and streamline practices. Technology has the ability to reduce labor cost by decreasing the amount of data that must be shared throughout ledgers. It increases accuracy; provides capabilities for information to be processed and viewed quickly; and offers capabilities of communal transparency.
AOG: There is a lot of talk about building our infrastructure to entice businesses to locate here, as a BOC Board member, are you willing to devote more money to expanding roads and infrastructure? How would you fund this?
(TM) Paulding County’s roads and infrastructure must grow with its population to ensure this community has the resources and capabilities to thrive comfortably and economically. The population growth offers more tax income, increasing the prospective of SPLOST dollars. Any and all transportation plans must be established by Board meetings based on the needs of the County, while limiting impacts to the residents. SPLOST and Capital Project funds will be evaluated in determining obtainable plans. Once this is determined, the citizens should be given the opportunity to vote on transportation to the county.
AOG: What do you believe will be the biggest challenge facing the Paulding County over the next 5 Years?
(TM) The biggest challenge facing Paulding County over the next five years is increasing economic development in all areas of Paulding and not just one section. While businesses continue to increase in Hiram and North Paulding, at least 77% of Paulding Citizens work elsewhere. With the growth to the county, we must improve our congested roadways. Also seek methods to improve long term water supply to the county. Some pipes are outdated, and some citizens still remain on well system.
AOG: Last year there was an increase in property taxes, what is your assessment of the county’s overall financial position? Where do the biggest threats to the county’s financial stability lie?
(TM) Paulding County’s current financial position is stable. As expected, revenues have increased over the past few years, however, so have expenditures. With such increases, plans should be evaluated to focus on future revenues that do not impact or put additional pressures on residents. The biggest threat to the county’s financial stability is the lack of plans to use the county’s viable assets in creating infrastructure. Infrastructure development should enhance the quality of life of the county’s citizens by offering opportunities and resources for entrepreneurs, which will create more jobs, decrease residents commute time, and keep Paulding’s finances flowing within the county.
AOG: Would you raise property taxes again?
(TM) With property taxes having been increased last year, there should not be additional increases anytime soon. Last year, Paulding’s tax rate increased to over one full percent which is on the higher spectrum of Georgia’s average property tax. This recent increase created additional income for the county, in which time will be a great indicator of checks and balances to ensure the additional revenue has great impact in maximizing the resources for the county.
AOG: What experience do you have with complicated budgets? When you are given a 400-page budget for the county, what will be your process to determine if it is a good budget for the county?
(TM) My background includes an education in business, accounting, project management; and the experience of growing my own thriving business. In addition, I have experience in planning and managing large events with a small budget. My skills and knowledge will be an asset to the Board of Commissioners. I have had experience in putting together events for 200 to 2,000 people with little to no budget. I possess the skills and experience to put together complicated budgets and have done so successfully in the past.
With a 400-page budget for the county, I will use a break-down process in dissecting budget proposals by scrutinizing viable information that includes everything from revenues and expenditures to assets and liabilities in determining the best pathways to meet the needs of the county. My research and analytical skills are additional benefits that allow for process improvements and innovative implementations. This will ensure quality analysis that will produce and maximize benefits within the budget parameters.
AOG: In your view, what has the County BOC done well over last 4 years? What has it done poorly that you would change?
(TM) The Board of Commissioners has done well with the development of the new WellStar Paulding Hospital. Bringing new infrastructure to the county is essential. The Board should continue to seek new businesses to relocate to the county. I believe we should do a better job of providing our citizens the education and training they need so these local residents will be among the best qualified candidates to fill the new jobs we bring to Paulding County.
AOG: In your past professional experience, what criteria do you use to make decisions about hiring people, retaining goods and services, or the effectiveness of a course of action? How will you use these criteria when making decisions as a BOC board member?
(TM) In my professional experience, I have hired people who show professionalism and great character and who possess very good communications and articulation skills, along with qualifications for the position. They must project an attitude that is service oriented and must be open and willing to learn new things.
These attributes are important among the Board of Commissioners because professionalism, character, and communications are essential elements to building relationships and partnership in the community. Commissioners are representatives of the people at large and must be of service to their constituents. They must be open and willing to learn to gather viable information that will allow innovative implementations that will move Paulding forward in its missions.
AOG: What are your views on open data and transparency of information? What kinds of county information should be made public?
(TM) I believe transparency creates attributes of community and partnership. Relationships provide resources, and resources are needed to build infrastructures that benefit the community at large.
BOC meetings, Approved budget plans and financial distributions should be made public. This creates a system of checks and balances when it comes to the upholding of integrity. At all times the Board should be making sounding decisions with community’s best interest as its first priority.
AOG: What specific steps would you take as a BOC board member to improve transparency and make county information more widely available?
(TM) Transparency is essential in growing trust amongst constituents and advancing economic growth. I would improve transparency and make county information more widely available, by utilizing the current social media structures to gain input from the public.
Any large expenditures through the BOC budget should be visible and shared with the citizens. However, if there are other items of interest, the citizens should be given the opportunity to voice their concerns at each BOC meeting via input. Meeting and budget discussions can be taped for citizen viewing. Additionally, meetings should be scheduled at times that citizens can be in attendance. These meetings should be posted on-line for those citizens unable to be in attendance. In addition, each BOC member should have an open-door policy to hear from and speak to our citizens. This can be done through budget conscious media outlets with online questionnaires through social media, and email surveys to receive direct input. We need continually to audit our communications system and be open to new innovations which will enable us to provide better information to the citizens and to receive information from them.
Taurus Madric-Morris Biography
Taurus Madric-Morris is the wife and mother of three daughters. Living in the County for thirteen years and raising children who are students in the Paulding County School System; she recognizes the needs and wants of her community.
Taurus understands the value of hard work and perseverance as she comes from humble beginnings, being raised in a single-parent household. She married young, and she and her husband of 16 years started their family in 2005. Taurus worked her way through college, receiving an Associate Degree in Marketing Management; Bachelor’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies for Business and Accounting; with young children, while simultaneously growing their business. She is finishing her Master’s Degree in Marketing and Project management.
Her passion is working with youth, instilling confidence and skills that gives opportunities to excel and thrive as they transition into adulthood. She spends her time creating programs such as, the Gloves Not Drugs and Girls Fight Smart mentoring outlets for girls and boys, structured through the Douglasville Boxing Club owned by her husband and herself. She gives several free yearly Youth Day Events to bring the community together and offer resources to parents and youth.
Taurus believes she can bring her experience, skills, and tenacity in growing Paulding County from the inside-out by structuring economic development plans that will keep Paulding moving forward in its rapid population growth. She realizes with such growth, structures such as water supply and road ways must be evaluated to sustain Paulding County comfortably.