Meet Erath County Commissioner Precinct 1 candidates
By Whitley Combs
Dee Stephens, 49, is a Stephenville resident, re-running for County Commissioner Precinct 1. He is challenging Terry Truss, a first-time runner for the position. Stephens holds the current position as the County Commissioner Precinct 1. He can be reached at (254) 918-5341 as well as the Erath County official website. He is finishing his second term and hoping to be re-elected for his third consecutive term.
“I’m a life-long resident here. I’m not in this position for the money. I’m in this position because this is my home and I want to leave it better than I found it. That’s why I’m here, and why I want to stay here,” Stephens said.
Can you explain what a County Commissioner does? For the people who may be unsure of just the day to day operations as to what you do.
Stephens: The County Commissioner is in charge of the finances for the county. We set the budgets for every department inside the county, from the tax accessors to the sheriff’s department, every office inside the county goes through the commissioner’s court. We have budget meetings when it comes down to setting that up. We determine what we can and can’t provide. We also maintain the roads. The county roads and the FM roads as well. I’m in charge of Precinct 1, which is the southern part of Erath County and I’m in charge of the roads in that area.
If reelected what are your top priorities in regard to the road work in your precinct?
Stephens: Keep doing what we’re doing. We’re going to continue improving the roads. I’ve replaced four low water crossings with big culverts in my precinct. We just want to continue making Precinct 1 safer and better for the constituents of Erath County.
There’s a lot of growth that has happened, and will happen in the coming months and years, especially regarding the campus enrollment at Tarleton. What are you hoping or expecting to follow suit with that growth?
Stephens: Well what we’re expecting is already happening. There’s already RV parks, mobile home parks, arena’s, and subdivisions. People putting in rental properties for the college students. It’s already happening. I’m hoping it’ll bring more business growth to the county because then it will keep our tax rate down for the constituents. The tax rate is lower now than what it was because of some of the growth that’s already happened. It’s going to grow, and we have to be prepared for that.
Terry Truss, 69, is a Stephenville resident from Hamilton, Texas. He is hoping to be the new face for County Commissioner Precinct 1. He is running against the long-time place holder, Dee Stephens. Terry can be reached at (254) 396-2048 as well as Facebook @TerryTrussforCountyCommissioner,PCT.1. He is hoping to take over and implement his own ideas and priorities if elected.
If you’re elected for County Commissioner what are your first few priorities starting out?
Truss: For me the priority would be to get started on some things that have maybe been placed on the back burner. As far as the road aspect of it, I want better improvements. For some of it, it’s the financial aspect, but some of it is just utilizing the available funds more efficiently. I favor putting the roads and bridges in a separate department and also bringing a more business aspect to the department. I feel as if business structure has been lacking lately.
Tell me about yourself.
Truss: I moved here from Hamilton in 1969. I’ve worked in the oil and gas industry for a long time, about 15 years, and I also worked internationally. I feel as if I can bring different things to the table being that I have traveled so much and done many different things.
What do you feel is the main priority for the county commissioner?
Truss: I think there is more to the job than transportation and roadwork. You have different departments, counties and responsibilities. I believe it’s more than just fixing roads and handling budgets and finance. I think I can bring many things to the table and I want to improve anything I can. I think the county should be more involved with the city as well. I think improving the property taxes for the residents, and just the overall well-being of the constituents, is a responsibility we should take care of.
The Texas primary election is March 3, 2020. For more information visit http://bit.ly/2wPf51o for locations and times.