I am happy to announce that I am running for reelection to the District 2 position on the Orange County Board of Commissioners. It has been an honor to serve on the board for the past seven years.
Public education, business development, and fiscal responsibility have been, and will continue to be, my priorities as a county commissioner. I remain committed to ensuring that every child receives the best education possible. To that end, I have worked to provide our school districts with the resources they need. Students need a safe and healthy environment in which to learn, so we need to invest in repairing or replacing our aging school facilities. During my two-year tenure as chairman of the board of commissioners we sponsored a bond referendum to fund school construction. The referendum appeared on the 2016 ballot and passed by a large margin. .
At present our tax burden falls too heavily on residential property owners. I will continue to work toward a more balanced and equitable tax base by supporting efforts to attract new businesses and to nurture the growth of our existing businesses by encouraging better collaboration between the county and town governments on economic development.
I am proud to have played a role in the continuing effort to attract all types and sizes of business to our county. The expansion of AKG, the opening of the Morinaga facility and the recruitment of Wegman’s brought and will bring many new jobs to Orange County. Many other smaller companies have made Orange County their home or have expanded their operations here in recent years. These smaller businesses are essential to a healthy, diverse economy. They provide not only tax revenue but, equally important, well-paying jobs for Orange County residents.
There are many other issues that the boad of commissioners must address over the next few years. They range from housing costs and public transportation, to maintaining the quality of basic services such as public safety, libraries, and waste disposal. We must find ways to provide these services without raising the property tax rate to levels that force our residents out of the county. I will continue to push for sound financial decisions as we look to the future needs of Orange County. I am proud that we have increased the general property tax rate only once during my seven years of service.
During my tenure, I have provided a voice for the concerns of District 2 residents, worked to ensure that all viewpoints receive consideration on each and every issue and I have collaborated with other board members to bring about changes that have benefitted all Orange County residents. I will continue to listen to your concerns and work to find solutions to those issues. I appreciate your past support and I look forward to continuing to represent our county.
Earl McKee lives in Rougemont.