With no competition in November, Scott Gibbs is ready to take over as the District 3 representative on the Hall County Board of Commissioners.
Gibbs beat opponent Jones Cottrell in Tuesday’s primary election to succeed incumbent commissioner Steve Gailey, who was not seeking re-election. District 3 is the county’s largest and most rural district, covering most of north and east Hall.
Gibbs said fiscal issues are his biggest concern.
“I don’t want any more taxes for me or anybody else, and I believe that there are areas of the county that can still be streamlined,” Gibbs said. “I know that a lot of the citizens, including myself, are paying all they can pay because the economy is so bad.”
He said he’d like to look at zero-based budgeting and additional cuts within the county.
“I think Steve (Gailey) has done a great job representing the folks,” Gibbs said. “I think a new set of eyes might uncover some things that can be done differently.”
There are three municipalities in District 3 — Clermont, Gillsville and Lula — that also will be affected by the change on the board.
Lula Mayor Milton Turner said he is looking forward to working with Gibbs.
“He kind of won my heart, as you might say, at the public forum that was held at Clermont. And he made a statement that’s very, very true: When the cities do good, the county does well,” Turner said. “So I think he will represent us very well.”
There are a few major projects slated for the northern part of the county, including sewer in the Ga. 365 corridor.
“He and I have already talked about 365,” Turner said. “We’ll do everything we can to get him up to speed as quickly as possible.”
Gibbs said he is looking forward to working on bringing growth to the district.
“Even though things are not great right now, we need to invest in the future,” he said.
He said he hopes to see more infrastructure and development along the Ga. 365 corridor.
“With that comes a tax base,” Gibbs said. “I don’t think it’s developed its potential like it should have.
“We have a lot of natural resources and things to invite growth.”
Turner said he has a history of a good working relationship with the District 3 commissioner.
He and Gailey were friends for years when Gailey, then the mayor of Clermont, decided to run for the commission seat in 2002.
“One of us was going to run for county commission whether it be me or Steve,” Turner said. “We made that decision 10 years ago.”
Turner said he hopes Lula and the other cities will keep a good relationship with Gibbs when he takes office.
“This district has more cities in it than any other district,” Turner said.
Gibbs said he became interested in government in 2008 when his wife, Jennifer Gibbs, ran for clerk of court.
“When my wife ran two years ago we made a commitment to become involved in our county because we were the first to criticize what was going on, and so I think the way to make public officials accountable — me included — is to attend those meetings,” Gibbs said. “I think it’s good for everybody. I encourage people to attend those.”
Though Gibbs won’t take office until January, he said he’ll continue to stay involved in county government.
“I’m just going to continue to attend meetings like I always do,” Gibbs said.