5 Questions for Jay McGinnis
County 3 News sent all of the candidates for County Commissioner these 5 questions:
What is your background and why are you running for office?
I have lived and worked in Sheridan County the past forty-two years. My wife, Sara has been an educator in Sheridan County School District 1 for 25 years, and together we have raised four children who have graduated from Sheridan and Big Horn Schools. In 1976 I was employed at the Sheridan County YMCA, and served as Executive Director the past twenty-five years. I have received training in fiscal management, strategic planning, facility operations, staff supervision, and community engagement. My civic involvement has included serving on community boards such as the Roberts Foundation, Center for Vital Community, Food Group, Tongue River Valley Community Center, Scott Foundation and I am a member of Holy Name Catholic Church.
I have been blessed to live in Sheridan and raise my family here. I have worked my entire adult life in this community and feel that I know Sheridan County, its leaders, both past and present, and most importantly, the community values that make Sheridan a great place to live, work and play.
My vision for Sheridan county includes being prepared for growth, designing a county budget that is conservative, reducing the cost of governance by creating a three-member Board of Commissioners, and revising the comprehensive plan to protect open spaces, agricultural land, and provide zoning for affordable housing.
Sheridan County is experiencing a period of growth, which will impact the infrastructure we currently have. It will be critical to be prepared for growth by maintaining and investing in well maintained roads, bridges, equipment and a trained county workforce. Sheridan County has over 500 miles of roads, which make serving such a large county, no easy task. The past Boards of Commissioners have provided for operating reserve, and with continued conservative budgeting, the county can keep up with its infrastructure needs. My intentional decision to put infrastructure on the top of the priority list will prepare the county for future economic growth.
I believe it has been effective to have a board of five commissioners; however, I believe three can do the job and save the county over $100,000 a year. The next board of commissioners could assess their time commitment, devise and recommend to Sheridan county residents the number of commissioners needed to govern the county.
Sheridan is economically diversified more than many other counties in Wyoming. New businesses coming to Sheridan, such as Weatherby and Ramaco, will strengthen our economy. Currently the V.A. hospital, Forest Service, Fish and Game offices, Sheridan’s ability to attract retirees and young families, Sheridan College, and exceptional county-wide school systems, have helped make Sheridan County a desirable place to live and work. A challenge may be our ability to attract and retain a viable workforce. City and county leaders will have to investigate other obstacles to future economic expansion, which may include low wages and affordable housing.
The review of the Sheridan County Comprehensive Plan will be perhaps the most important work for the Board of Commission. The Comprehensive Use Plan will guide our growth and serve as a resource for problem solving and making decisions.
What would your priorities be for allocating one-cent funding?
The one cent taxes provide needed funds for community organizations and critical projects, as well as operating funds for the county. The proposed one cent sales tax, capital tax and the lodging tax have already been allocated by the current County Commissioners for the next four years. I recommend the passing of these taxes and agree with the proposed funding allocations established by the current County Commissioners.
My top priority is dedicating the needed resources for maintenance of infrastructure. Sheridan County is going through a period of growth and it will be important to keep up with roads, bridges, and insure that county employees have the equipment and training to do the job.
Being a County Commissioner takes a lot of time. How do you plan to balance the time required with your own career or life?
I recently retired and have the time and energy to dedicate to the office of County Commissioner. In addition to performing the duties of the office and being available to the public, I plan to enjoy time hiking, fishing and kayaking in the Big Horn Mountains with my family. I also find pleasure in being involved in community projects that support youth and families.
What do you think the proper role of the County Commissioners is at the state, regional and national level?
The role of the County Commissioners at the state, regional and national level is to advocate for the citizens of Sheridan County and be involved in decisions that may impact county funding.
The County Commissioners must take the opportunity to convene community and state leaders, and citizens, around critical topics and work together to gather information, brainstorm solutions, secure funding, and come to consensus to solve problems.