LEE COUNTY – Long-time Lee County Supervisor Ron Fedler announced this week that he will be running again for the 1st District Supervisor position.
Fedler announced he will be running again after Lee County Auditor Denise Fraise released she will be running on the Republican ticket.
Fraise, who’d been running under the Democrat ticket for the past 10 years, switched parties this year after being pursued by the Lee County Republican committee.
Fedler is in his third term as District 1 supervisor after beating Rick Carter, who ran on a petition campaign, in 2012.
The West Point native said his frustration with the budget process this spring that resulted in higher taxes was part of the reason.
“After the budget was approved this year, I was very frustrated because I wanted to cut expenses to avoid raising taxes so much because a lot of people are hurting with inflation and I feel sorry for those people and, when it came time to approve the budget, I voted no,” Fedler wrote in a letter to Pen City Current.
“The budget the year before, I was frustrated with the large raises that were proposed by the (compensation) board. I understand they were mandated by a state law that a county sheriff should get paid the same as a police chief of a town equal in population as the population of a county. So they came up with a 45% raise for the sheriff and a 10% raise for all other elected officials.”
Fedler said he made a recommendation to lower the comp. board’s figure by 50%, which would have lowered all the comp. board’s recommended raises. His motion was defeated 4-1. Supervisors then approved the comp. board’s recommended increases. The comp. board did voice concerns over the county not listening to their recommendations and that’s why the county was facing the wage gap it was facing.
Fedler claims that Board Chairman Garry Seyb said the county could implement the raises without raising taxes. After running a business for 26 years, Fedler said he knows you can’t raise expenses that much without increasing revenues, which, in the county’s case, is taxes.
“I don’t blame the county employees because sure they would take that big of an increase, but the taxpayers pay the bill, and they were seeing inflation in their lives also and were not getting big pay raises like this,” he said.
Fedler said after that budget was passed, he was asked if he was going to run again and he said if had to decide at that moment it would be no.
“After that, the word got out and I had a lot of people in my district, both Republican and Democrat, ask me to run again and that made me feel good and some Republicans tell me they like the job I was doing,” Fedler wrote.
“When I vote, I never consider anything but what is the best for the people of my district and the people of Lee County who pay the taxes. I would like to thank all the district one voters who have voted for me in the past and hope I have done a good enough job you will vote for me again.”
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