Troup District 3 Board of Commissioners candidates face off in Chamber forum

Published 9:55 am Thursday, April 25, 2024

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With the primary elections coming up in a few weeks in May, the Republican candidates for the Troup County Board of Commissioners for District 3 faced off on Tuesday in an election forum at the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce.

Incumbent Lewis Davis is being challenged by Ashley Adams, Rex Scott and T C Nixon.

The forum was organized by the LaGrange-Troup County Chamber of Commerce and live-streamed by The LaGrange Daily News. Videos of the forum in its entirety, including other races, are available on both the Chamber and LDN Facebook pages.

Davis is completing his second term as a commissioner. Adams previously served on the Troup County Board of Education. Scott and Nixon are relative newcomers to politics.

Professionally, Davis is a contractor and owns a small cattle farm. Adams works as a clinical mental health counselor. Scott is a retired fire captain and works for a security company. Nixon is a retired law enforcement officer and currently works as an insurance agent.

Each candidate was given 90 seconds for each question, with two minutes for an opening and closing statement.

Some of the topics covered in Tuesday’s forum include:


The candidates were asked about the Oakfuskee Conservation Center and plans to utilize the lake as an asset to Troup County.

“As far as District 3 goes, probably 95% of the usable portion of West Point Lake is in this district. It is an economic driver for this community that is kind of untapped. That’s what we saw when we built and started the development of Oakfuskee,” Davis said.

Davis said the county presented a plan for an event center on the lake in the SPLOST, which was approved by the voters. At the time, the voters allocated $3 million for the project, which was expanded to $13 million using grants and donations, without the use of general funds. It’s currently maintained using an account with funds derived from the facility, he said.

“That facility is a great asset to the community. It could have been built anywhere. It was built right in District 3 in the best place it could be built. I’m proud of that facility. And I want to see us expand with other things going forward with Pyne Road Park,” Davis said.

Nixon agreed that the lake is a great asset for District 3, saying it brings people to Troup County with fishing tournaments and other recreation.

“I do believe that it’s a major asset to us. I do like the building out there. It’s a nice building,” Nixon said. “I think as long as it’s something that could bring more business to our county, I think it’s an asset for us. And I do want to be able to promote that better and bring more people to our county.”

Scott echoed that the lake is an asset to Troup County,

“West Point Lake is a great asset. I grew up on the lake myself and spent a lot of time on it. As far as Pyne Road Park, the convention center that was built, beautiful location, beautiful building. I’d like to see as it expands out, though, for it to be more usable for the citizens of the county. I know a lot is talked about bringing people in and bringing people in. But I just always feel for the people who live here,” Scott said. “I’m hoping in the future that there is more for the citizens and those that are on the lake, that they can have more use out of it.”

Adams also said that West Point Lake is a great asset but questioned Oakfuskee.

“I do believe that Lake West Point is a huge asset to Troup County and to our side of the district as well. But I’ve heard my entire life, we don’t control those lake levels. So why are we going to build something around something we can’t control? That makes sense to me,” Adams said.

“Why are we going to build a conference center to compete with Callaway Gardens, to compete with Great Wolf Lodge, to compete with any other wedding venue? That doesn’t make sense to me,” Adams said.


The candidates were asked about the recently enacted limits placed on short-term rentals and how the county should balance individual property rights with the effects of those rights on their neighbors.

“Short-term rentals can be a good thing and can be a bad thing. The good thing is if we have people that are coming here to work short term in our county, they’re going to need somewhere to stay,” Nixon said. “If they if they’re going to be here for an extended period of time. I don’t see any issue with them.”

“They are here spending money in our county. They are visiting places in our cities in our county. I don’t really see any issue with that. I guess my issue would be too much government oversight. Because I really don’t see why the government can tell me what I can and can’t do with my own home,” Nixon said.

Scott said his initial concerns about short-term rentals were about people coming in from out of town.

“I’m big on the citizens that live here and the health, safety and welfare of the people of Troup County. When I see people from out of town coming in and purchasing these [houses] and in 45 to 60 days, all of a sudden just making a short-term rental, renting it to people that we don’t even know, it was a very big concern for neighborhoods,” Scott said.

“I was at some of the meetings when they came in, and they had to stand up to protect their own subdivision,” Scott said.

“The short-term rentals, have to have boundaries to it. I like some of them that are there,” Scott said. “They have to make sure that they enforce them because our public safety is already stretched out.”

Adams vehemently opposed the new restrictions on short-term rentals calling it government overreach.

“Plain and simple, I think it’s an overreach in government and I’m absolutely against it,” Adams said.

Davis said the restrictions were enacted because, for the most part, people don’t want short-term rentals in their neighborhoods.

“I represent the people that live here and I represent the people, the property owners of this community. We didn’t have just a few people coming to us. Almost every time we had a short-term vacation rental come up, the citizens that live next to that, and in that subdivision, had a problem with it. They didn’t like a transient community. They would come to us and they’d say, we love people but we didn’t sign up for these people moving in and out, and not knowing who’s going to be here next week,” Davis said.

Davis noted he voted for the changes and has no regrets because he was listening to his constituents.

“If there’s ever an overreach, or we did something that’s causing a problem, we have no problem at looking at the issue and changing it,” Davis said.


The candidates were asked if the recent change to move to a single franchise provider for garbage collection was the right move for the county and should the county consider changes.

Davis noted that county sanitation has been an issue for many years, with at least three groups of commissioners trying to deal with the issue in the past.

“When I became a commissioner, the cost of sanitation was about $425,000 a year. When we see sanitation, it was over two and a half million dollars a year. There was a problem with sanitation. Something had to be done,” Davis said.

“Second of all, I heard very plainly and very clearly. Every time I’d go out to eat, every time I’d go somewhere, there were people come up to me and say, ‘Don’t you dare change our trash. Don’t you touch our trash.’ I know how much it meant to my citizens.” Davis said. “In the unincorporated area, it was a tangible thing that they could see that they were getting for their taxes. I voted not to do it.  I voted not to change. But at the end of the day, something had to be done,” Davis said.

Davis said he opposed the trash change but ultimately he lost that vote.

Nixon said his biggest concern was being forced to use one trash service.

“I believe it was absolutely handled improperly. My biggest complaint was basically monopolizing the whole thing, telling me that I’m going to do this, this is what you’re going to do, you don’t have a choice. To me, that’s not being free in our county. That’s just not right,” Nixon said.

“It’s not our place to tell people what they can and cannot do. I believe we should have options. I tried Martin out. Honestly, I gave them a shot and I’ve gotten nothing but complaints from everybody around me,” Nixon said.

Scott said he didn’t like the way the sanitation change was rolled out.

“I didn’t like the way it was presented. I go to a lot of the commissioner meetings and a lot of times there’s not a lot of people there. But the boardroom was full. There were a lot of people expressing concern and they just felt like what I’m hearing every day is that, they just didn’t have any representation. It was just so forced down the throat,” Scott said.

Adams said her biggest issue was the county telling citizens who they have to use for sanitation.

“We’ve talked a lot tonight about adapting and changing. I don’t know if you noticed what came off your property tax bill, but for me, it was less than $50 a year,” Adams said. “I look at that and I say okay, they had to do something. That’s not even up for discussion as far as I’m concerned. It definitely takes more than $50 to take care of my own trash. But it’s how it was done. It was the way it was done, and then telling us who we can and can’t use.”