Becht committed to growth of Carter County

By Julie Fann
star staff

Spending 20 years working as a Master Sergeant in the U.S. Army has prepared Mark Becht to receive little credit for a job well done, a strength he says will give him the ability to stimulate the growth of Carter County if he is elected county commissioner for the 1st District.
   "The military, up until recently, wasn't very liked, so anytime we went out and did anything, you didn't expect somebody to come along and pat you on the back and say, 'good job.' So, basically, I'm used to working in the background," Becht said.
   Becht stressed that economic struggle is the central issue that surrounds Carter County. He honestly stated that he has a lack of faith in the industrial recruiting methods used by county officials. "As harsh as it may sound, they need to start earning their money. I don't see any county revitalization industry board. I don't see them around town or around the county," he said.
   The county needs to adhere to wiser spending habits, according to Becht, beginning with lowering the county executive's wages to make them more reasonable. "The county executive is making $81,000 a year, when the base salary for residents is $30,000. It seems a little outrageous," he said.
   Becht also said the county spends too much money on rental equipment they would be better off buying. "If I'm paying $32,000 a year for stuff I'm renting, I want to own it at some time while it's still worthwhile to own," he said.
   Concerning education, Becht stressed that if more jobs are brought into the county then schools will benefit from it. Technology for schools in Stoney Creek, Becht said, is necessary so that youth can compete in society. "We need to make sure our kids are computer literate so they can get a good paying job," he said.
   Becht said he wouldn't necessarily support a countywide zoning plan because the county is too diverse in terms of population and land development. "You can't go by just the entire county. What would work up in Stoney Creek won't work over in Happy Valley, and a lot of that plays into effect with the road network," he said.
   If the county elects to hire a financial director, Becht said it won't increase accountability or efficiency in government because benefits wouldn't offset the cost needed to pay another salary. "It's part of the county executive's job to sit down and figure out what's best. Commons sense tells me that having a financial director will only increase spending, which is not the way we need to go," he said.
   Becht, originally from Minnesota, said he wants the county to move forward but that doing so will involve making some tough decisions over the next four years.