Ed Driggs questionnaire for District 6

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - WBTV's Sharon Smith sent a questionnaire to both Republican candidates for District 6.

Ed Driggs' answers are below:

Where do you stand on consolidation with city/county government?

I am opposed to city/county consolidation for three reasons;
- The District towns of Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville would end up effectively subordinated to Charlotte in County affairs
- The functions of City and County are generally separate, there would be minimal cost savings
- Special arrangements can be made for shared services like fire protection where appropriate
Do you think the Ballantyne area should become its own municipality? Why or why not?

I would support investigating the idea of a new city because it would give citizens of South Charlotte control over their own destiny, particularly how much they are taxed and how the money is spent.  However, this is an issue that must be resolved among those that live in the de-annexation area, the City of Charlotte and the North Carolina General Assembly.  My opponent's suggestion that he originated the idea and would play a major role in carrying it out is inaccurate on several levels.   
CMS plans to ask the county for $27-million in additional funding compared to last year. Would you support their request?

There can be no question of a tax increase to fund additional CMS spending.  Since education is a top priority, however, County funds should be diverted from less productive uses to help the schools where possible.
Why should voters support you instead of your opponent?

My opponent has tried to make this race about who is conservative and who isn't.  In truth, we are both conservatives.  What is really at issue here is effectiveness and leadership.  I do not believe that a representative who sits at his home computer and grabs publicity through inflammatory rhetoric and sound bites is effective.  A true leader is out among the people and inspires with a combination of personal integrity, vision, and hard work. 
Name two issues you see as the biggest priorities in Mecklenburg county and explain how your representation on those issues would lead to improvement.

High taxes have driven many Mecklenburg County residents to move to adjacent counties or to form groups advocating de-annexation or the breakup of CMS.  Our number one priority must be fiscal discipline.  My training as a financial analyst and economist will enable me to identify wasteful spending in the County budget and divert those funds to more productive uses or return them to taxpayers.  The second priority is CMS schools.  Dropout rates are too high, and many of those who do graduate are ill-prepared for college study or employment. As a parent of two CMS graduates and a member of the board of Communities in Schools and the CPCC President's Council, I am well qualified to work with the School Board to improve results without raising taxes.
What is your opinion on how the County handled the property revaluation process? What would you change or recommend, if anything?

The County had plenty of time to press the North Carolina General Assembly for changes in valuation procedures in response to unsettled market conditions, but no major changes were made.  Valuations based on computer models and aerial photography were highly erratic, and many properties shot up in tax value while some benefited from "stigma" adjustments.  The problem was made worse by an onerous and unresponsive appeal process. Since the revaluation cannot be undone, the best procedure now is to 1. develop valuation methods that better reflect current market conditions, and schedule a follow-up valuation as soon as possible, 2. Shorten the interval between subsequent valuations to reduce the risk of tax sticker shock, 3. Make the appeal process more user-friendly.