GOP County Commission Candidates: John Ferguson
Published 9:18 am Thursday, April 19, 2018
Why did you decide to seek public office?
Ferguson: I served as Mayor for 12 years and have been a Commissioner for the past three plus years. I consider it an honor to serve the citizens of our county. I have served in leadership roles most of my working career. I served in several managerial roles with Wachovia Bank in my 37 years there. Many of the skills learned in commercial business are the same needed to serve in a public office. I consider the most important role of a commissioner to make sure our tax payers funds are spent wisely.
Give approximate percentages – reasons why – of where the county budget should be spent, including, but not limited to, law enforcement, schools, human services?
Ferguson: The County’s general fund budget for this year is approximately $57.5 million.
About 30 percent of this will be spent on emergency services: EMS, Sheriff, jail, fire dept and 911. Education will account for about the same amount: current school operations, debt retirement and Davidson Community College. Human Services account for about 15 percent, which includes social services, senior services, veterans, library, Parks and recreation. The additional funds are spent on things like public buildings, staff costs, technology, Register of deeds, etc. Some years it is necessary to spend more on some areas than others. The county budget is much like any household budget; only a limited amount is available to cover all expenses.
Is Davie county growing too quickly, too slowly, or, about right?
Ferguson: I think the growth in Davie County is about right. For the first time in many years we are importing labor into the county instead of sending our people to other counties. The employment rate is at or near an all time low. With the addition of Ashley, Gildan and others, our tax base is growing. Due to the incentives given to large corporations, the county is just now receiving some of these taxes. We could always use more good paying jobs and some nice restaurants and stores.
Ferguson: My wife, Earlene (of 56 years) and I have been a resident of Davie County for the past 43 years. We have 3 sons and 2 (of 8) grandchildren who attend or have attended Davie schools. I am currently the vice-chairman of the commissioners. I have served on numerous boards: YVETTI, Smart Start, Piedmont Triad Regional Council of Government, Davie Community Foundation and Salemtowne Retirement Community and am active in the Rotary Club.
For the past 17 years I have been very involved with the government of Davie County. We still need major work on our water and wastewater infrastructure. Our wastewater treatment plant and the water treatment plant in Cooleemee both need to be updated to meet the demands of a growing County. More wastewater capacity is needed in eastern Davie. Forsyth County has a plant in western Forsyth with plenty of unused capacity. We have signed a contract with them to process up to 5 million gallons per day. Two pump stations will be built in Davie for transferring our wastewater to Forsyth County for treatment in late 2019.
We also have a labor problem with our volunteer fire departments. It is very difficult to find volunteers today. Some of the departments already have paid staff on duty. The present fire tax rate of 4 cents will not fund them in the future.