A forum of Republican candidates in Brunswick did not draw the full list of candidates expected Thursday, but those who showed up had plenty to say.
The first hour featured Glynn County Commission No. 1 candidates Jane Fraser and Thomas “Bo” Clark and No. 4 candidate David Sweat. Robert Eligah Tucker is the other Republican candidate seeking the ‘Post 4 nomination and did not attend the forum.
The candidates agreed to a non-binding referendum to gauge interest in consolidating city and county services is needed.
Clark predicted that the issue of consolidation will be before voters over the next four years.
“There are a lot of moving parts,” he said. “We have to be deliberate.”
Fraser said a referendum is needed because of the significant financial impact consolidation could have on the county.
“It’s a complex question,” she said. “What are the tax implications? »
Sweat said there were a lot of questions, including how many services to consolidate, the impact on local taxes, who is responsible, how residents will be represented, and impacts on quality of life.
Clark said policing consolidation should be up to voters, while Sweat said more data was needed. Fraser said she believes in the separation of powers between the police department and the sheriff’s office.
“Don’t put too much power in the hands of one person for public safety,” she said, pointing out that several Georgian sheriffs have been removed from office in recent years for abusing their authority.
Fraser said she does not support a referendum for a special purpose local options sales tax, saying the tax should not be used for anything other than special projects.
Sweat said he “absolutely” favors a SPLOST because much of the revenue is generated from visitors to the Golden Isles.
“We are blessed to have a place that so many people want to visit,” he said.
Clark said he would like to see SPLOST money spent on Blythe Island Regional Park and a new courthouse annex for juvenile court.
Fraser had the audience laughing when asked which SPLOST projects she would be supporting.
“You’re giving me another chance to say no,” she said.
But if a SPLOST referendum goes ahead of voters, Fraser said she would like to see funding for the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission. And she opposes a courthouse annex because the county could divide the courthouse by using vacant building space in other locations.
Sweat said a courthouse annex was a “top priority.”
Both Clark and Sweat said they liked the roundabouts, but Fraser said she didn’t support the one proposed on Frederica and Sea Island roads because there are “10 trigger points” that would make the difficult task for motorists.
The second hour of the forum was reserved for candidates for the school board, but they were unable to attend for various reasons.
Clayton Watson, a nonpartisan candidate for the Brunswick-Glynn Joint Water and Sewer Commission, said he wanted to ensure the commission was accessible to the public and supportive of county leaders.
Glenn Cook, one of four candidates running for the Satilla River Soil and Water Conservation Commission, said stormwater runoff is a big concern. Another problem that doesn’t get much attention is damage to property by feral hogs.
“Pigs are like little bulldozers,” he said. “They are so prolific that it is difficult to control them.”