Name Brandon Ryan
District 11
Current Occupation & Employer Regional Sales Manager - Halyard Health
Political Experience County Commissioner, YR Chairman, WCRP Vice-Chairman
Education BA - University of Mississippi
Civic/Religious Organizations You Belong To St. Matthew Catholic Church, Grassland Baseball Coach
How Long Have You Lived In Williamson Co.? Native
Military Service None
Email Address tennessee_ryan@yahoo.com
Phone Number 615-210-9080
Thank you for volunteering to serve your community, what motivated you to seek this position? As a native to Williamson County, it was important to me to serve in a constructive manner. In addition, I continued to watch the mounting debt within our County Budget which concerned me greatly. That has been a consistent message of mine since being first elected in 2010.
On your first day in office, what will be the top item on your agenda? Taxes
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? I post all Resolutions voted upon with explanations on my website along with Committee News. www.commissionerryan.com
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? Obviously, I believe whomever is responsible for the growth...should be paying for it. With that said, my opinion matters little here since State Law dictates the County absorb the majority of it. However, I would like to see the actual developers continue to help the County financially. Having the lawsuit settled between the County and these developers will be crucial in our long-term funding plans.
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? First and foremost, as a member of the County Commission, I will continue to vote against any Property Tax increases. I have voted against every such measure in the past and plan to continue to do so moving forward. I am a strong believer in keeping taxes as low as possible, so before we consider increasing taxes on businesses...I would like to see the schools begin working with the Commission in more of a partnership rather than the current adversarial role. Our debt load is now the 2nd highest expenditure of our County budget.
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? I support the tax on developers to help control growth and provide a little relief to our budget. I also presented a Debt Cap Resolution in 2011 to prevent the County from recklessly increasing our bond levels. Unfortunately, that Resolution failed.
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? In addition to the Taxpayer Education Card I presented to the Commission, I fully support Commissioner Kathy Danner's plan to put our entire "checkbook" online for citizens to see.
What cost containment measures can you suggest to save tax dollars? First and foremost, we have to get schools in line regarding their spending. In addition to their capital requests, every day operating costs continue to skyrocket. Secondly, we need to hand over any services to the private sector that be better addressed by businesses (gyms, healthcare, etc.)
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? Yes