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story.lead_photo.caption Butch Pond

FAYETTEVILLE -- Butch Pond, the longest-serving Washington County Quorum Court member, is running for re-election in District 15.

District 15 is in eastern Washington County, which includes Goshen and Elkins.

Butch Pond (R)

(incumbent)

Age: 65

Residency: Has lived in the district for about 34 years.

Employment: Self-employed farmer.

Education: Graduate, Fayetteville High School.

Elected office: Justice of the peace since 2002.

Quinn Childress, a Democrat, is challenging Pond. Childress couldn't be reached for comment by phone, social media or his website. He didn't attend an election forum hosted by the Fayetteville Chamber of Commerce.

Pond, a Republican, has lived in Washington County his entire life, except for four years he served in the Navy. He has served as a justice of the peace since 2003.

"I bring some experience to the table," he said. "I just try to apply common sense."

Pond is a fiscal conservative, but one place he definitely doesn't skimp on is roads, he said. Road conditions affect the economy of a county -- city and rural areas alike -- whether it comes to motorcycle sightseers, residents or business, he said.

"If people have to drive around a bridge or road that's out, that's extra fuel to drive to work," he said. "They are having to spend more money on that extra fuel or car maintenance and spending less on sales, which reduces sales tax revenue."

Pond said he would support raising the property millage before cutting back on road maintenance.

He was there in November 2011 when the court reduced the millage to 3.9 mills from 4.4 mills, which has cost the county millions of dollars in the past seven years, he said. He voted for the cut but said at the time he would be obliged to increase it if and when the county needed the money.

"You start adding it up and start to see why we might be strapped. Ever since we cut that, our reserve has been shrinking every year. My hat is off to folks that can find a way to stop that from happening and not put that mill back," he said. "We made that cut to give taxpayers a break. To some, moving it back would just be tax increase, but they aren't looking at the whole picture."

Pond is also concerned about keeping pay rates competitive and that the reserve be used only to pay bond debt and as an emergency fund.

He said the county is bearing too much of the load when it comes to the crowded jail.

"The cities bring in people, and constitutionally we have to keep them. The state is paying us less than it costs for state prisoners. If that doesn't change, what do we do? We are strapped. It's bleeding us," he said. "We are going to have to get the state to pay for the prisoners."

Pond said he could support the sheriff's suggestion to add another pod to the jail and pay for it with a one-fourth cent sales tax to build it and another one-fourth cent to maintain it.

Justices of the peace serve two-year terms and are paid $200 per meeting.

The election is Nov. 6. Early voting begins Oct. 22.

NW News on 10/18/2018

Print Headline: Longest-serving justice of the pease runs for re-election

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