Name Jennifer Mason
District 3
Current Occupation & Employer Assistant District Attorney/State of TN
Political Experience None
Education Doctor of Juris Prudence
Civic/Religious Organizations You Belong To n/a
How Long Have You Lived In Williamson Co.? 12 years
Military Service None
Email Address jennifermason@williamson-tn.org
Phone Number 615-934-2356
Thank you for volunteering to serve your community, what motivated you to seek this position? An opportunity presented itself to serve my county and with my experience in the judicial system and law enforcement I offered a different perspective.
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? I receive emails and phone calls from my constituents. I also try to attend District 3 community events.
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? Open communication with municipalities is vital to maintain a healthy level of growth.
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? All options should be addressed and vetted.
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? -Did Not Answer-
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? The budget committee meetings as well as the county commission meetings are open to the public.
What cost containment measures can you suggest to save tax dollars? -Did Not Answer-
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