Ray Cox, county commissioner candidate, District 6

1. What uniquely qualifies you to serve as a county commissioner?

I feel I am uniquely qualified because I am a former business owner and worked on budget and projects for my business. A member of the Lumberton Rescue Squad for 25 years, I served as commander for 10 years. In addition, I was vice chairman for the Robeson County Planning Board, serving on the board for 16 years. I also served on the Robeson County Health Board for nine years and held the position of vice chairman. I feel that all of my years as a servant for Robeson County will be very beneficial to me serving as a County Commissioner.

2. The Robeson County Board of Commissioners, at just more than $500 per student, provides funding at the second lowest level of the 100 counties in North Carolina. As a commissioner, would you work to provide more funding for the local schools? Why or why not?

Yes, I would work to provide more funding for our schools because I feel the children are the future of this county and they need to be equipped with the resources to continue to improve Robeson County.

3. Robeson County has a problem with roadside trash. The county has established a Clean and Green Committee, but it appears that as soon as one roadside is clear, a week later it is trashy again. Do you have any unique ideas on how to approach this problem? If so, can you detail?

Yes, I have several ideas ….I think each county commissioner should adopt a highway and get out each month and participate to clean up. I also think more signs should be displayed with a littering fine of $1,000.

4. The Robeson County commissioners are the best paid and benefited in North Carolina, and our county is among the poorest. This is true when pay, stipend, retirement, health insurance are totaled up. Do you think commissioners in a poor county are deserving of the best pay and benefits, or should they be scaled back?

No, we should scale back the commissioner pay since we are the poorest county and save the taxpayers money.

5. There is a perception among many people that nepotism and cronyism play a role in key hiring decisions for the county. Do you agree with that? If so, what would you do to end that?

Yes, I agree that this happens in this county. I feel that there should be by-laws and policies created so this does not continue to happen.

6. The Board of Commissioners recently considered the purchase of the Angel Exchange for use by the schools as a central office. That talk has died down. Do you think it will be resurrected after the election, and what is your position on its possible purchase?

Yes, I feel this will resurface after the election. I do not agree with this purchase. It will cost the taxpayers millions of dollars and there are several other buildings in Robeson County that would suffice and save the taxpayers money.

7. Robeson County’s tax rate, at 77 cents for every $100 of property, ranks in the top 25 highest in the state. Do you have any ideas on how to reduce the rate without a dramatic reduction in services?

Reducing the commissioners pay would be one way. Also if we could get our tax collections up to 100 percent that could help reduce the rate.

8. Do you think it is important for the county administrative offices to be located in Lumberton, which has the highest population and is in the center of the county?

Yes! It is the county seat.

9. Robeson County’s unemployment rate remains higher than the state and nation’s. Also, many of our jobs, especially in the service industry, don’t provide a livable wage and are without benefits, with the result being about 40,000 people in the county depending on food stamps. The lack of jobs also drives our crime rate, the highest in the state. What new ideas, if any, do you have that can be implemented to try to bring more jobs to the county?

First we need to start in our schools. We need to provide our teachers and children with resources they need. Also we need a driven person and staff in our Economic Development Department to encourage businesses to come to Robeson County.

Ask yourself a question and answer it.

Cox did not do so.