Robb Pitts is familiar with the Fulton County Commission: he was elected to an at large seat in 2002 and stayed until 2014. Before that, he was an Atlanta City Council member and president. He spoke to SaportaReport via email.
Q: What’s your biggest concern for Fulton County?
My biggest immediate concern is that we have a fair and equitable property tax appraisal process. The tax debacle as it played out in public hearings, undermined the trust and confidence residents had in Fulton County. As chairman, fixing the property tax appraisal process and restoring the faith and trust in county government will be one of my top priorities.
Q: What could you, as Fulton County Commission chair do about that, what are some policy ideas?
A: I will seek to hire additional appraisers and make sure they have the necessary training and latest technology available to perform their jobs. I will also seek to have appraisers assigned to specific zones so that they are knowledgeable about the trends in the assigned area/zones. Additionally, I will investigate the possibility of outsourcing the property tax appraisal process like other jurisdictions have done.
Q: In Fulton County, a lot of public services are handled by the cities. What do you see as the role of the county and of the commission chair?
With the incorporation of the City of South Fulton, (except for 7.5 square miles in the Fulton Industrial Boulevard District), Fulton County is no longer providing city services.
So, the county is mandated by law to provide the following services: criminal justice, health and human services, libraries and animal control. Additionally, the county is responsible for appraising, assessing and collecting taxes on residential and commercial properties, and is responsible for voter registration and elections.
The chair is one of seven members of the commission and has one vote just like the other six members, but is charged with presiding over the meetings of the board. The Chair, by nature of the position, serves on various boards, commissions and authorities and therefore becomes the face and spokeperson for the county.
Q: What’s something the Fulton County government has gotten right in the last 10 years?
A: Tremendous strides have been made in health care, especially with Grady Hospital. Care given to patients with insurance has increased, the uninsured treatment rate is down and the expansion of services has made Grady one of the top ten trauma centers in the United States.
Q: In the last 10 years, what’s something the Fulton County government has gotten wrong or failed to do?
A: Fulton County failed to address its transportation problems. However, with the passing of TSPLOST [transportation sales tax] the county is headed in the right direction.
Q: Overall, bottom line, why should people vote for you, what’s your pitch to the voters?
I have served the people of Fulton County and Atlanta as a member of the Atlanta City Council where I chaired the Finance and Community Development committees. I also served as president of the Atlanta City Council and presided over an 18-member body. Additionally, I served as a member of the Fulton County Commission. Because of these three elected positions as well as my business acumen and my international and domestic experience, I am uniquely qualified by any measure to lead and be the face of the Fulton County Commission.