Wake County Commission: Fred Puryear

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Do you support the half-cent sales tax for public transit and why or why not?
I do not support it and the reason being at the current time, transportation falls under state DOT and it falls to cities and towns as far as maintaining roads. The county does not own any roads at the present time that I’m aware of. It’s not in their scope.

Do you support letting the tax go to a referendum?
Not at this time. It’s not a county issue and if we did where would the oversight be from Wake County. It’s federal money and a piece of it being county money. Where would we be able to interject the County Commissioners as far as how money’s being spent? If I understand, we’d probably be able to put people on the board, but ultimately other than that we couldn’t control how that money’s being spent. If it’s frivolous, there’s no repercussions or any accountability.

Wake County is expected to continue growing at a fast pace. What role do you think county government should take in managing that growth?
We already have our planning and development department. I think we should encourage growth. I think growth is good, but it needs to be done responsibly. Growth needs to pay for itself. The citizens of Wake County should not be paying for people to move in. That cost should be incurred by the people or businesses moving in.

Some of the school bonds are for future schools in that I don’t believe that we should be paying for people to move in for those services. Not for the citizens of Wake County now, but for people that are moving in. I believe the permanency in their taxes should pay for that not the people that are already here because they’re not going to get the benefit of those schools. They’re not using those services. If you’re not using those services, and you’re not able to use those services, why should you pay for those services?

How much control do you think the County Commission should have over the school board?
They are elected officials, mostly for the good of education in the Wake County school system, making sure those tax dollars are spent wisely. I think the Wake County commissioners do have to somewhat be a checks and balances as far as that money being spent wisely if they do receive it from the county. I’m not looking at any ultimate control because they are elected officials with their own agendas and their own form of what they are responsible for. But as the entity that does distribute tax dollars we need to hold them accountable and responsible for the money being spent wisely in the best possible way to educate our children.

What’s the biggest issue facing your district?
Education and taxes. It’s a two part. Having good schools. Recently in our area there’s been a Rolesville high school that’s just been built and it looks like a fine facility. How did it cost so much? How are our tax dollars being spent? That seems to be the concern of the people that come to me and talk to me. We need good quality education for all no matter where anybody goes to school and it’s a properly funded school and the teachers, the educators, have the proper equipment to work with. It seems like the biggest concern is to make sure the schools are providing that at a reasonable tax rate.

Other than what you’ve already talked about, what is the main issue facing the county over the next couple years?
The transit and also taxes in the way of transparent government, where people can see how their money is being spent and know that it’s accounted for and it’s being spent wisely. This falls in with the transportation issue being the rail system. Is this going to benefit every citizen of Wake County? Is every citizen of Wake County going to use this? Is this the best possible use for it? And also then why is the county getting involved in transportation when that’s specifically a DOT or city entity?

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