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Troup County GOP introduces tax commissioner candidates

By Tyler H. Jones

tjones@civitasmedia.com

Frailey
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Hunnicutt
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LeFevers
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LaGRANGE — The Troup County Republican Party on Thursday introduced its candidates for the May 24 primary during a meet-and-greet at the Hollis Hand Elementary School auditorium.

Republican candidates and nonpartisan school board candidates in contested races were given five minutes to make their case for why they are the best person for the job, although no questions were taken because of time constraints.

The Daily News is presenting highlights from each candidate’s speech. Because of length, we are serializing this topic and today present the candidates for Troup County Tax Commissioner. Note that there are no Democrats running for the position. On Friday, we presented candidates for Troup County Board of Education, and copies of that edition are on sale at our office at 105 Ashton Street, or the story can be found at www.lagrangenews.com. Candidates for the Troup County Board of Commissioners will be presented Monday.

In the interest of informing the public, we have videotaped the candidate’s speeches have made them available online at www.lagrangenews.com/election2016 in their entirety. Every candidate who spoke at Thursday’s meet-and-greet is available online. The site also offers online polls where readers can choose which candidates they prefer.

Here are the highlights from speeches from candidates for Troup County Tax Commissioner:

• Bill Hunnicutt IV, a financial services businessman, said his experience managing a company and its employees has prepared him for the position of tax commissioner. He said the tax commissioner’s job is complex and demanding, and it’s “important that that job is done right.” His history, and experience founding and running his financial service company makes him the most competitive candidate for the job, he said. Hunnicutt did tell the audience he closed his company after changes in the financial markets in 2008 at the beginning of the Great Recession.

“But, I used my character, my integrity; I made sure every employee I had when I decided to close that company found a job,” he said.

He also disclosed that he underwent a bankruptcy recent years.

“I think it’s important for you all to know that,” he said. “I grew a lot from it. I know what tough times are like and I know how to come through them.”

Hunnicutt went on to say that he is excited about the future of Troup County and noted that he has a business degree from the University of Georgia. He said he understands the complexities of running a large business and would bring that to the tax commissioner’s office.

• R. Shane Frailey, a deputy sheriff who is on leave while seeking office, said he started working at age 15 and has a strong work ethic that persists today. He explained in his role with the sheriff’s office, he was actively involved in collecting taxes.

“I am the only person that can stand up here and tell you I’ve done the job that I’m running for,” he said.

He also spoke about his experience of running the sheriff’s operations at the county courthouse, and said during his tenure, helped collected more than $2.5 million in back taxes to be transferred to the tax collector’s office and the county.

Frailey said he used a personable approach to convincing people to pay back taxes, but ultimately was not afraid to place levies on properties if necessary to collect owed taxes. He said he understood the process for tax collecting and that would enable him to serve as the county’s tax collector.

• Ronnie LeFevers, a pastor and former director of operations and human resources for a federal bankruptcy trustee, said he helped administer more than 10,000 bankruptcies totaling more than $84 million annually and would bring that experience to the tax commissioner’s office. He noted his institution was regularly audited, but the collection and receipt of money was only one component of the activities.

He said he wanted to take “customer service to a whole new level” by educating the residents of Troup County about tax exemptions, property taxes and assist them in understanding their tax bill.

“I want to educate those first time, new homeowners,” he said. “I want to educate that high school student that is leaving high school — and you’ve seen it — they are inundated with pre-qualified (credit cards).”

LeFevers said he wants to give a “foundation” for people to understand their finances, and that he has experience doing that as a bankruptcy administrator.

Important dates

Early voting begins May 2 and is available until May 20. Saturday voting will be held May 14 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Anyone registered to vote in Troup County may cast early ballots at the Troup County Government Center in downtown LaGrange.

To vote in the May 24 primary, citizens must be registered by April 26. Applicants must be a U.S. Citizen, a legal resident of the country, at least 17 ½ years old on the day of registration and 18 by election day, not serving a sentence for conviction of a felony involving moral turpitude, and must not have been found mentally incompetent by a judge.

Area residents can register to vote at the Troup County Government Center, 100 Ridley Ave. in LaGrange, during weekdays from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Georgians can also register to vote online through the secretary of state’s secure website at https://registertovote.sos.ga.gov.

Tyler H. Jones is a reporter with LaGrange Daily News. He may be reached at 706-884-7311, ext. 2155.