Name Gregg Lawrence
District 4
Current Occupation & Employer President- Healthmart Corporate Benefits
Political Experience 1 Term County Commission
Education BBA Harding University
Civic/Religious Organizations You Belong To Toastmasters/SM Church of Christ
How Long Have You Lived In Williamson Co.? 24 years
Military Service n/a
Email Address gblawrence@bellsouth.net
Phone Number 615-202-7990
Thank you for volunteering to serve your community, what motivated you to seek this position? I desired to bring some new ideas to the commission to help Williamson County solve some of it's pressing issues
On your first day in office, what will be the top item on your agenda? Something Else
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 email regularly my email list and talk directly with many of them either via phone or in person
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? The burden of the costs of growth needs to be placed more directly on the drivers of the growth - which is why I supported the educational impact fee. We need better communication with the municipalities. I favor an impact report that must be done with every approved new development so that all public officials can see the impact of their decision.
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? I don't believe the residents will support tax increases of that magnitude. I would favor a transfer tax on every home or commercial property sold in the county to pay for growth. State law would have to be changed in order for us to do that though. Currently, the real estate association doesn't favor that. I've already had discussions with them and would like to continue those dialogues to see if we could find some common ground. We also need to take a hard look at our spending to see what areas we may be able to make some cuts to the current budgets.
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 supported the impact fee to reduce the level of borrowing. The transfer tax would work similarly to reduce the borrowing levels
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 would support putting the registry online and the idea of an independent audit that looks for inefficiencies.
What cost containment measures can you suggest to save tax dollars? I have brought up ideas that collectively could potentially save the county over $16 million per year on our healthcare costs. I also raised the idea of studying the options we may have with county assets.
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