Ryan Turner Seeks Lawrence County Council District -1 Seat
LAWRENCE COUNTY - ( March 29, 2022) - Ryan Turner is one of four candidates seeking the Republican nomination for Lawrence County District -1 seat.
Ryan Turner seeking Lawrence County District -1 Seat
Lawrence County President Scott Smith currently holds the seat and decided to run for county commissioner. The Republican Party has four candidates seeking the party nomination which include Amy Redman, Jeff McKnight, Bill Spreen and Ryan Turner.
Each of the Lawrence County candidates were given four questions submitted by subscribers of the Lawrence County Zephyr.
Here is Ryan Turner's response to those questions:
1. Some candidates use the term conservative in their campaign press release, however the Lawrence County Budget is over $28 Million the highest on record. Explain to mean how you will look at the future budget process?
Government budgets and waste lines have a lot in common. They get bloated rather easily and are near impossible to shrink down. There is no doubt that inflation has played some small part in budget expansion. But my decade and a half experience with government defense contracts that money is often poorly utilized with the majority being spent on a few pet projects and projects that make the biggest impact are being ignored. Say perhaps Lawrence County is saddled with a $28m budget for a few more years our goal as the County Council should be to ensure that the taxpayer’s money, our own money, is spent the best way possible and is used efficiently. Unfortunately, the process of making sure money is spent wisely, or finding ways to reduce spending, can take an immense amount of time. I would suggest the Council spend time discussing the needs of each department with individuals that make up that department. This might help to find areas where spending can be reduced, or areas that need additional funding transferred to it to make the biggest impact in our County.
Policing efforts in the county could be one such area. There is no denying the drug problem in Lawrence County and the great tax burden it puts on every one of us. But perhaps there are programs that we can invest in or, better invest in, that would save the county long term. Perhaps there are ways to cut costs in other areas such as sharing duplicated resources, buying slightly used equipment that is still functional but has already depreciated in cost. Taking a serious look at the TIF districts in the county and their effects.
When I started my auto repair shop and then transitioned into a used car dealership, I had to buy used equipment or find alternative ways to accomplish the task at hand. I had to be conservative in the way of conserving the resources that were available to me because I did not have access to outside funding. The same was true when helping to start Lawrence County Independent Schools. The funds we had to start with came from donations and community yard sales and resources from our founding board. If a purchase was made it was weighed against the other needs of the school. For example, instead of buying new furniture for the school, I visited numerous school and business auctions and bought a enough furniture to completely fill the gymnasium for around $5000. From desks, to chairs, to filing cabinets, to beds for the nurse's room, I bought them for pennies on the dollar to keep our costs low and be able to spend our money on the needs of the students. The term ‘fiscally conservative’ gets thrown around a lot and loses its meaning. I like to think that I am a bit of a diehard cheapskate and bargain hunter. I’ve had to be out of necessity, and it seems to me that we could use more people like that in government when it's our collective dollar that is being spent.
2. The recent justice study calls for a $46 million new jail to be constructed at another location, new justice center, and a fourth courtroom. As a county council member how would you pay for this proposal, and what taxes would be utilized to pay for this?
I would start by saying that if it was truly needed and truly the best thing for everyone in Lawrence County, I would vote for it. So far, I am not thoroughly convinced that it is the most efficient use for our resources. The current county jail is aging and has multiple areas that need repairs and updates. From the HVAC system to the kitchen. But I feel there are other options that can be explored such as overhauling the current facility, finding a way to incorporate the existing facility into a new plan, attempting to utilize existing buildings in the county, etc. Until we fully explore the options, we will not know what the best option is. Unfortunately exploring these options does not come without cost, but I think the cost of additional studies is miniscule compared to the burden of each person in the community spending a thousand dollars on a new building. With overages, and changes, and expense creep that price tag could grow way above the $46M mark.
3. Why do you want to be a county council member?
I have been a business owner in the community for almost a decade and have experienced the various aspects of dealing with local and state government as well as financial hardships. Over the past three years I have worked to start Lawrence County Independent Schools. Through this process I have seen the difference a group of dedicated individuals can make in a community. From starting with nothing but a dream we were able to overcome numerous obstacles to create real change and educational opportunities for the children of Lawrence County. These experiences and lessons learned have inspired to seek a position on the County Council. I am not one to sit by and complain about something without trying to do something to make it better. And I feel that there are changes that need to be made in Lawrence County and I have the experience and skillset to continue to make changes.
4. How would you make sure county office holders keep within their established budget?
I think the first step would be to raise awareness of what is going on in the county. We should care what our tax dollars are being spent on even on mundane items. It's easy to get up in arms when we see something like $46M for a new jail, but we spend around half of that every year as a county. That is part of the reason I have decided to run for County Council. I’m not a politician, I’m a parent, a business owner, a taxpayer who got fed up with certain things going on in the county. I figured if I had the time to complain, I had the time to try to do something to make it better. Which leads to the next way we can, as a community, help keep county office holders within their established budgets, vote them out. If an office holder keeps coming back to the council for budget increases, perhaps we need someone else for the next election cycle. I realize that things do happen that are unavoidable, and occasionally the budget may need to be adjusted, but the Council has the responsibility to ensure that the additional expenses are necessary and work to find ways to cope with the expenses.
5. you can add additional addition or communications to the voter other things not addressed in these questions.
I would like to encourage everyone that reads this to find something they are passionate about and use that towards making our community a better place. There are civic organizations, clubs, sporting groups, and community outreach groups of all types sprinkled throughout the county. A couple hours a week or month from all of us working together to continue to create something better in Lawrence County will make a huge impact, and might even help to reduce the tax burden, who knows. But it’s going to take help from everyone, because the government can't solve all of our problems.
Lawrence County Zephyr will continue to provide complete election coverage. Later, this week we will be submitting questions to the contested township trustee races. Feature of township trustee will be in a feature next week.