Sasser: Budget is top county priority

Published 2:02 am Saturday, November 8, 2008

Newly-elected County Commission Chairman Lynn Sasser plans to bring “some new ideas” to the table Wednesday with “some new ideas” about how to the county back on track financially.

Sasser, who was elected in Tuesday’s General Election, will be sworn in as the new chairman at 1 p.m. Monday. The afternoon meeting will take the place of the regularly-scheduled meeting. The group will reconvene Wednesday at 9:30 a.m. for the first meeting of the recently elected county commissioners.

Joining Sasser will be District 1 Commissioner David Ellis, District 2 Commission Bragg Carter, District 3 Commissioner Harold Elmore, and District 4 Commissioner Carl Turman.

First and foremost on the commission chairman’s mind is the economic situation facing the county.

“My first official action as county commission chairman is that I’m to buckle down – and with the help of the other commissioners – figure out what money we’ve got coming in and where we’re planning on spending it and if it’s the right decision for the county or not,” Sasser said. “I’ve got some ideas that I just can’t wait to talk to the commission about – a lot of ideas that I think can bring this county where it needs to be.”

And while he didn’t elaborate on what exactly his plans would entail, Sasser said he’s “trying to develop, in my mind, what I want to present to the commission. I can’t do it by myself. I know that.

“I can tell you that there are some things in the budget that I have looked at and I don’t like what I see,” he said. “There are some things from non-vital departments – and what I term vital is departments like the sheriff’s office, the probate judge’s office, the tax collector, the circuit clerk, offices that provide services – that those non-vital departments, I think we can look at them and cut where we need to cut without hurting services.

“Our – and I say our as in the commission – intention is not to hurt but to help,” he said.

Sasser said he has been unable to coordinate a “sit down” meeting with current chairman Greg White so that the two could discuss how to make a smooth transition.

“Of all things, I had jury duty twice and the time I spent campaigning, it just didn’t work out,” Sasser said on holding discussions with White.

“Hopefully, Monday we can all sit down and see what’s what,” he said. “I want to sit down with him. I want to look at some things before we have the swearing in.”

Sasser said since winning the election, he has had nothing but positive feedback from his constituents.

“I’ve had some very positive feedback; people saying they’re behind me,” he said. “I tell them I appreciate it and that I’m going to give it my best effort. At the same time they’re congratulating me, I tell them I couldn’t have made it without them. I tell them you made it possible for me to be elected.

“I’m ready to go to work,” he said.