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MACON, Georgia (41NBC/WMGT) – Election Day is just weeks away. As Macon-Bibb voters get ready to head to the polls, 41NBC News is introducing you to the candidates for commissioner.
Decision 2020: Meet Raymond Wilder, Macon-Bibb Commission Candidate for District 6
Candidate name: Raymond Wilder
Running for: District 6
Occupation: Insurance Adjuster
Campaign Facebook: Raymond Wilder
Q. What are some of your plans for your district that you hope to make sure passes? And how will you get your fellow commissioners on board?
A. Well, as far as District 6, it’s a rural area. Public safety is definitely going to be my main concern. Our firefighters, we’re over 150 deputies short and around 70 firefighters short. I definitely want to see all of that brought back up to speed. We’re going to definitely have to address that. The main thing I hear out of my people when I’m talking to them out here, is road conditions. That is definitely something that needs addressing because our roads have gotten horrible out here. We’re going to have to find a way to address some of that.
Q. What are some of your plans to make sure that that does get passed? That that is addressed? Because I know they have that road box machine that’s coming in, testing all the cracks in the roads, but specifically your area. What are some interest, key point roads over there that really need attention?
A. Columbus Road definitely needs attention. Let’s see, we’ve got several. Really it’s the biggest majority of the roads need attention because they’ve been doing pothole work, but they’re just not holding up. I don’t know if they’re just using too cold of material or what. Because we’ll have a rain and they wash right back out. But there’s several of the bigger roads that definitely need immediate attention. Columbus Road are probably two of the main ones right now.
Q. I don’t know if you saw Mayor Robert Richiert’s budget presentation. And we knew that coming into the new fiscal year, we’re going to have a lot of cleanup from COVID-19’s dip in taxes as a result of it. And a big concern, of course, is making sure there are pay rate increases. So after hearing his budget, after seeing that there are basically not much to work with, I should say, how do you plan on making sure we can get those public safety employees, the pay raises they need and deserve with this Pay Scale study now?
A. Well, actually, I haven’t been a part of the budget. I’m seeing what’s going on. When I do become part of the budget, controlling the budget, we have got to stop some of the wasteful spending. We got to put our priorities in order. We got to take care of what’s most important first and then take care of the extras.
Q. Is that the same plan to make sure we pull out economically from this? Because new commissioners will have to revisit the budget again in January.
A. I know we’re going to inherit whatever’s there at first, I’m sure will be addressing in the next year. We’ll have to work with what we have once we’re in an office, and do the best we can with it. And there may be some hard decisions when you got to not do some things that we may have done in the past, like maybe some of the outside agencies and things like that, that we may have to cut back on some of those things to take care of what’s most important first.
Q. And with blight in Macon Bibb, how do you plan on combating that issue with residential and commercial blight?
A. We don’t see as much of it out here in District 6, but I do know definitely District 6 is my main concern, but the whole city as a whole is of my concern because the nine commissioners are all in control of a vote for anything that goes on in the entire county. And the inner city part, more so, some of the Bloomfield area, Mount Pleasant, there are several areas that we do definitely have a lot of blight. And I know they already have some things in place already on that. We just need to continue that and even get more aggressive with fighting blight.
Q. How do you plan on supporting the sheriff’s efforts to combating crime, as well as, citizens?
A. We got to see what the sheriff’s department needs. I know the main concern is definitely pay, maybe benefit package. What I hear more than anything is, maybe not necessarily the entry level, but even some of the long-time guys, they’re a little concerned about maybe their pay not keeping up with times, saying there’s a difference in percentages of, well, let’s say a new hire may get. Yeah, you tend to hear more so that they feel like there’s not as much difference from the starting pay as there is say a guy that’s been there, or a lady that’s has been there for quite some time.But not being on the inside yet, we just got to look into that more and find out where the issues or where the shortfalls are and attempt to address them. And there might be some morale. I really don’t know all the answers yet, but definitely something I’m already looking into and that I’ll be looking into heavy once we’re in there.
Q. And what is something about making Macon Bibb that stands out versus the rest of middle Georgia?
A. Well, Macon Bibb’s been my home all of my life. Actually, I was born and raised in Macon Bibb area, so I’ve always loved it. I go to some of the other cities at times, but I love Bibb County. I’ve actually lived in the District 6 area in the same home, on Fulton Mill Road for 32 years. And I’ve just always loved the area. I have grandchildren growing up in the area also now, and I just want to do what I can and have my say in making it what it needs to be for their future.