Tolley says county's latest improvements are long over due

By Thomas Wilson

STAR STAFF
twilson@starhq.com

   Candidate Paul Tolley says his qualifications to become a county commissioner are his practical approach to issues and ability to think and act independently.
   "I've got common sense," said Tolley of his qualifications, "and I don't believe in this if you pat my back, I'll pat yours."
   Tolley, 60, is making his first run for county commission.
   If elected commissioner, Tolley said he would address "wasteful spending" of money within the county and make sure the commission made the major decisions pertaining to the county's operation and development.
   He stated that the formation of the Watauga Regional Water Authority and the decision to hire a county financial director were two issues "that should've been done 20 or 30 years ago."
   "The county executive doesn't have enough time to do two jobs and that's what he has been doing," he said. "They (the Authority) should've done something before spending all the money they've spent and still don't have a clean water system."
   He also felt the county's financial management committee should postpone the selection of a financial director until after the August 1 election to allow new commissioners to have input about the position.
   He felt the county had been "too picky" in rejecting some industries that had considered setting up shop in the county.
   "The people of Carter County are going to have to be willing to let different industries into the county," said Tolley. "If the people won't let it come in here, the county executive and the county commission's hands are tied."
   On the issue of county-wide zoning, Tolley felt the county needed to review zoning and private act standards in all eight county districts and enforce the laws currently on the books. He also said favoritism in zoning and building enforcement had no place in the county's administration.
   "It's this, 'Good ol' Joe over here is a buddy of mine so we're going to let him by, but ol' Jim over here, we're going to make it hard on him,'" said Tolley. "If they don't have the people to enforce the rules and do all the work, they need to look at getting someone else and have them enforce it."
   He also said the county could end up constructing a new building to house circuit court and sheriff's department offices to allow the expansion of the county jail in the Justice Center building.
   "It was a bad idea putting those offices under the jail to start with," he said.
   His professional experience has included truck driver and custodial maintenance at manufacturing plants.
   Tolley is a lifetime member of Mothers Against Drunk Driving, a volunteer with the American Red Cross, and president of the Carter County Amateur Radio Society. He is married to Louise Tolley.
   "If elected, I'll talk to the people in my district and listen to them about how they'd like things to go," he said.