George Lucier will seek re-election as Chatham County Commissioner from District 3. Lucier, a Democrat, was elected in 2006, and has a long record of public service at the local, state and national levels. He is currently Vice Chair of the Board of Commissioners and served as Chair in 2008 and 2009. Lucier also serves on the Board of Trustees for the Central Carolina Community College, the Chatham County Board of Health and the Economic Development Corporation.
While serving on the Board of Commissioners, Lucier has focused on what he calls the four essential areas of success for Chatham County; economic development, education, land use and regional planning, and fiscal responsibility.
Shortly after taking office, Lucier and his colleagues on the Board restructured the Economic Development Corporation and developed a strategic plan in cooperation with Siler City, Pittsboro, Goldston, business leaders, and interested citizens. “We are all working together to implement our economic development plan and to help existing business and we are now in a better position to take advantage of opportunities in agriculture, arts, medical and pharmaceutical, ecotourism, alternative energy and wood processing”. “We have also made a significant investment in the Siler City Business Park” Lucier adds, “which includes a new hospital and new job training facilities for county citizens at the Central Carolina Community College”.
Lucier and his fellow commissioners have given strong support to the Chatham County Schools. “Education is an essential partner in the success of Chatham County” Lucier stated. Chatham County currently ranks 5th out of 100 counties in school funding per student. School funding has increased 4% this year while the overall county budget decreased 3%. The Board of Commissioners was awarded the 2009 Commissioners of the Year by North Carolina School Board Association, “in recognition of their outstanding support for the schools, developing a strong working relationship with the Board of Education and the creative funding of education in the face of financial crisis”.
“Land use and regional planning is essential for infrastructure and school planning, economic development and environmental protection”, says Lucier. To this end, the Board has revised many ordinances including zoning, subdivision, watershed, soil erosion and sedimentation control, and stormwater. “These revisions will insure that growth works to the benefit of Chatham county citizens” adds Lucier.
Plus the Board is in the midst of updating the comprehensive land conservation and development plan, which includes farmland protection, parks and recreation, and the strategic plan for economic development. “Agriculture has always been a centerpiece for Chatham County and the farmers have been recognized for their leadership in beef cattle, chickens and organic farming. It is important to work toward finalizing a farmland preservation plan that keeps agriculture at the forefront of economic development.”
The county also is working on plans to build a regional water treatment plant on the western side of Jordan Lake, and developing a joint land use plan with Cary. “Chatham County played a prominent role in the passage of the Jordan Lake nutrient rules by the state legislature. We need to protect Jordan Lake as a drinking water resource and recreational area”.
“The key to managing the affairs of the county is fiscal responsibility.” Lucier points out. “Financial indicators, both short and long term, are very positive, and county government is on a firm financial foundation as evidenced by our ability to obtain funding for the Margaret Pollard Middle School, the Community College facilities in Siler City and Pittsboro, the county library and expansion of Northwood High School”. Lucier noted that the county saved approximately $7 million by beginning construction of these facilities in an economic downturn.
Lucier is proud to be able to fund these projects with a lean county government. “I don’t think people realize that on the average Chatham County has 100 less employees per capita than other counties in the State. Our tax rate is about average, yet we are still able to accomplish quite a bit. It is the engagement and leveraging of our citizens, advisory boards and non profit agencies that make this possible”. These accomplishments, Lucier says, “have been achieved in an open and transparent manner and for the first time, we have a Commissioner Code of Ethics in Chatham County.”
Lucier says that family time with his wife, Jane and their two children is a high personal priority. However, he believes strongly in public service. “The support and appreciation expressed by many county citizens has helped to energize, motivate and encourage me to seek this office again next November. I would like to help complete the many initiatives we have begun that are important to the future of Chatham County”.