Name Betsy Hester
District 2
Current Occupation & Employer Williamson County Commissioner
Political Experience 12 years as County Commissioner
Education BS in secondary education
Civic/Religious Organizations You Belong To Church of the City/Williamson County Historical Society, Heritage Foundation, Friends of the Public Library
How Long Have You Lived In Williamson Co.? 40 years
Military Service husband served in the U.S. Air Force
Email Address
Phone Number 615-790-3089
Thank you for volunteering to serve your community, what motivated you to seek this position? To give back to the community which was a wonderful place to educate and raise my family. I realize well the challenges inherent to Williamson County.
On your first day in office, what will be the top item on your agenda? Education
Have you attended County Commission meetings or work sessions, researched the duties and responsibilities of a County Commissioner, and talked to other elected officials about what your role and time commitments would be as a Commissioner? Incumbents: How do you communicate with your constituents and when are you available to meet? Yes. I communicate by email, social media and Next door and phone calls.
The County Commission is responsible for approving the budget and funding our schools, roads, and infrastructure with property taxes collected. On the other hand, cities fuel growth by approving zoning requests and building permits for commercial and residential construction. What would you do to encourage a shared fiscal responsibility with local municipalities? Additionally, in your mind, who should pay for growth and how? I believe in a great deal of communication. I think that growth should pay its own way as much as possible. Developers should be aware of how they are gaining by Williamson County's investment in schools.
Our current property taxes if left unchecked are estimated to double - perhaps triple - in just a few years. The tax burden is on current residents many of whom are looking forward to retirement, living on fixed incomes, or raising families. Would you support legislation to foster sharing the cost of growth with the business sector as many high growth States have done? Would you support researching alternative funding sources such as making commercial or business rental leases subject to sales tax? What other cost containment measures would you recommend? The education impact fees on new residential housing would be a choice. I would be open to researching alternative funding sources.
In 2016-2017, $44,000,000.00 or 21% of our property tax dollars were allocated to pay the interest on our debt. While interest rates are currently low, if we continue to fund growth by borrowing, we take on significant fiscal risk as bonds interest rates rise. What funding ideas to you have other than purchasing 20 year bonds? Protecting the current AAA bond rating.
In an effort to promote accountability and transparency local municipalities in other states have put their checkbook register on line for citizens to see how their tax dollars are spent. What recommendations would you make to increase transparency and accountability to the electorate? I send out the agenda for County Commission meetings.
What cost containment measures can you suggest to save tax dollars? More dollars coming from parents involved in the schools of their children. I personally worked for 2 months to help get money for a printer at Page Middle School several years ago. More volunteer firefighters....
Schools funding including interest payments on money borrowed to build new schools is close to 80% of the total County budget. Commissioners vote either to accept or reject the budget as presented, they have no control over how the money is spent. If the budget is rejected, they must negotiate with the Director of Public schools until they reach a resolution. Would you support a resolution to change current law to allow line item veto power to the County Commission when approving the School Budget? No