[media-credit name="Paul Fitts" align="alignright" width="150"][/media-credit]Paul Fitts — Wake County Commission
Political Party: Republican
Occupation: Mortgage lender
Campaign website: http://paulfitts.com/
What do you think is the central issue for this election and how do you plan to address it?
Everybody is going to say that transit is the central issue facing these four candidates. My personal biggest issue is job recruitment. I don’t think we’re doing enough business recruitment to our area. But if everybody is saying that it’s transit, transit, transit — that’s probably what more people are hearing about than anything else. But my biggest issue is that we need elected officials to focus on business recruitment.
Why should your constituents elect you?
Because I’m a think-outside-the-box person. I don’t just follow ideology from one party to another party. I look at what’s the most effective and efficient way of maintaining government in a financially responsive manner that will take care of the citizens of the county.
How can the County Commission support the school system’s efforts to deal with growth?
Something I’ve talked about in the past. The first thing people look at is a bond referendum. And raising taxes isn’t always the answer. Currently Wake County, the actual Wake County offices, owns a lot of real estate. Why aren’t we selling properties that are currently being unused to developers that are looking to bring tax revenue into the area? There are other ways of garnering money to put into the school system other than just raising taxes. Why aren’t we converting our school buses to natural gas? Which would save millions of dollars in gas revenue that in the end would go back into the education system. If we clean up what we’re doing wrong and put that money back into the education system, we could hit the tax payers with less increases that way.
Transit has been a hot topic in Wake County this year. What do you think about the future of transit options in Wake County?
Let me just answer first by saying that I’m not in favor of the most recent plan that’s been proposed. I don’t see light rail or any kind of government-funded rail options as a viable option for Wake County. I think we need to look at where we’re failing in the City of Raleigh with CAT buses. Why are CAT buses running at 30 percent capacity, why are they so expensive to run? I think if we’re going to do a county-wide transit system, we should start small, we should buy smaller buses that will hold 12-15 people max. Have those buses run off natural gas, which is a more cost-effective fuel; it’s cleaner it’s cheaper and then add to more buses to the routes where needed as opposed to buying the big $300k large CAT buses that we’re using now. I think we should operate more efficiently and then look at expanding the system.