By Alex Bridges
Emily Scott is running as a Democrat for the District 4 seat on the Board of Supervisors. Scott works for the Brotherhood of Railroad Signalmen in Front Royal.
Candidates were asked a series of questions. Scott provided the following answers:
Q. What would you do as supervisor to cut spending of local revenue?
A. Shenandoah County has had so-called conservative leadership on the Board of Supervisors for as long as anyone can remember and what has that gotten the county? Spending that is beyond what we can afford. I am a supporter of education, but new buildings do not necessarily mean better teaching. My priority as supervisor will be to consider the long-term health of Shenandoah County. New construction, capital improvements, and other new programs or initiatives need to have sound plans built in for how to pay for them. As supervisor I will look closely at the county budget and encourage every department to evaluate their budget requests, cutting waste and excess. Government is more than a balance sheet. As supervisor I will ask the tough questions about where our county revenue is going and find ways we can be a leaner and smarter county government. As a county we also need to ask housing developers, large businesses and tourists to contribute more for necessary improvements that make this area such a desirable place to live, work and play.
Q. How would you as supervisor handle unfunded mandates handed down by state and federal government agencies?
A. I will stand up for the people and values of Shenandoah County residents. If that means a drive to Richmond or Washington, D.C. to make our voices heard, so be it. I believe in the importance of an engaged and informed citizenry. That's why I am committed to an open and transparent county government.
Q. How would you spend any extra tax revenue the county may see this fiscal year?
A. Any extra tax revenue or savings ought to be returned to taxpayers. This may not be possible directly, but one option would be to use extra revenue to fund a county wide budget assessment to find ways of saving money over the long haul. Are there more efficient ways of doing certain things? Are we paying too much for particular services? Could certain governmental functions be better served by the private sector or, vice versa, are we paying private companies to do things that the county could do more affordably?
Q. In what county government agencies or departments do you feel need spending reductions? What agencies need increased funding?
A. The largest expenditures in our county's government are in education and public safety. We all value and appreciate the important work of these departments but we will need to look at the particulars in each of these funding areas. It would be interesting to know why Shenandoah County currently pays more for public safety than Rockingham County, for example.
With the expense of the new regional jail still coming, our county is going to have a lot of important work to do discerning together where the resources are going to come from, who's going to face cutbacks and who's going to need to step forward with greater contributions for the common good. If any area of our budget needs increased funding, I would advocate for those areas that would improve our overall fiscal and environmental health for years to come, such as public works, health, community development or parks and recreation. Sometimes, upgrades to equipment or working collaboratively with other local governments can help reduce overall expenses. My campaign's theme, of course, is "local government that works better and spends smarter for all of us."
Contact staff writer Alex Bridges at 540-465-5137 ext. 125, or firstname.lastname@example.org