Ellis vs. McCord for tax commissioner
Over the years, we have had some excellent tax commissioners in Macon-Bibb. Two that come to mind of particular note, are Jim Davis and Tommy Tedders. One of the most important races on May 24 will be to elect a new tax commissioner.
The job of tax commissioner for Macon-Bibb is not a glamorous one; nonetheless, it is a job of significant importance to our community. This is a constitutional office so the race is a partisan one. Both candidates are running as Democrats: former Macon Mayor C. Jack Ellis and the current Tax Commissioner Wade McCord. It’s time to separate political rhetoric from the truth. I offer the following as the truth as I know it.
First, from the archives of The Telegraph, here are some facts about Ellis from 1999-2007. In May 2004, a series of articles revealed problems with the renovation of the Terminal Station. The consultant Ellis hired had no transportation experience and was unable to produce a renovation plan, jeopardizing more than $800,000 in federal funds.
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More than $1 million in bond money earmarked to match federal grants for the Terminal Station renovation and six other downtown initiatives had been spent in many ways that bond experts warned could be illegal.
Ellis spent a great deal of his time as mayor, particularly during his second term, traveling at taxpayer expense to many African countries, especially Ghana, promising economic benefits that have yet to materialize.
Ellis once dedicated a parking spot for his finance director, Kelly Clark, in front of the Bibb County Courthouse, even though he had no authority to do so.
May 6, 2008, the U.S. Department of Justice warned it could sue the city of Macon for more than $1 million for allegedly misusing $350,000 from a federal grant and making false claims about how the money was spent. After Ellis finished his term, then Mayor Robert Reichert received a letter April 2, 2008. The letter said the city, during the Ellis administration, told the federal government that “the city had spent the funds in accordance with the terms of the grant,” but an investigation revealed “all those certifications were false.”
From 1999-2007, too many realtors were listing homes because the owners said I’ve got to get out of Macon, followed by I’ve got to get out of Bibb County. In fact, the 2010 U.S. Census revealed some startling facts. During this 10 year period (2000-2010) Bibb County grew a paltry 1.1 percent while Houston County grew 26.5 percent, Jones County and Monroe counties by over 20 percent. I attribute much of this population shift to surrounding counties to the policies and the perception of the Ellis administration.
Our current tax commissioner, Wade McCord, has worked in the Tax Commissioner’s office for 20 years. This same office under the leadership of Tommy Tedders and others and has an outstanding record.
Most residents don’t think about the Tax Commissioner’s office until it’s time to pay our car tag or property tax. So, the Tax Commissioner’s office plays a vital role in our schools, our recreation facilities, our courts, our law enforcement, our public safety such as fire department and our E-911, Animal Welfare Facility, and so much more. In the course of a year, this vital office collects $180 million from 30 different kinds of revenue.
Therefore, it is critical for the tax commissioner of Macon-Bibb to be a person of the highest integrity, one whom we can trust to run this office in a competent manner according to the laws of the state of Georgia. Under McCord, this office will continue to be run in a fair and efficient way that also treats the public with the highest regard, just like one treats a “good customer.”
McCord and all the good men and women of this office have decreased wait times by 30 percent. McCord is always looking for new advances such as the new auto tag renewal kiosk at Kroger. Most importantly, after 20 years of service, McCord and the Tax Commissioners office has never had a single operational or ethical hiccup with our tax dollars.
So for me, in the May 24 Primary, I will be signing in as a Democrat, so that I can vote for Wade McCord for tax commissioner.
While I’m there, I will vote for another outstanding public servant, Sheriff David Davis.
Mallory C. Jones III, Macon-Bibb County Commissioner, District 4