BONHAM — Fannin County residents will have two choices for county judge when they go to the polls this year: incumbent Creta "Spanky" Carter and write-in candidate Bill Carey. The county judge presides over the Commissioners Court and handles the county budget, among other responsibilities.

BONHAM — Fannin County residents will have two choices for county judge when they go to the polls this year: incumbent Creta "Spanky" Carter and write-in candidate Bill Carey. The county judge presides over the Commissioners Court and handles the county budget, among other responsibilities.


Early voting takes place from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. beginning Monday, Oct. 20 until Friday, Oct. 31. The Fannin County Courthouse is the only voting location.


The Herald Democrat gave Carter and Carey four questions pertaining to their backgrounds and campaign objectives. Their answers are below. Candidates were told to remain within a 100-word limit with their answers. If a candidate went over this limit, the remaining words were replaced with an ellipses (…).


Tell us a little about your background — Where are you originally from? How long have you been in Fannin County? etc.


Carter: I am a native Texan. I grew up and graduated high school in Sherman, Texas. I attended the University of Texas on a football scholarship, received my undergraduate degree from Angelo State University and went on to earn my law degree from Texas Wesleyan School of Law.


My wife, Donna and I have been married for 28 years and have 5 children. We live on our farm in Mulberry, which we purchased in 2000. I have been a property owner, business owner and taxpayer in Fannin County for the past 18 years.


Carey: I have lived in Texas for 21 years. My wife Chantal and I and our Great Pyrenees pups moved to Fannin County in 2011. We are in the process of restoring the Smith Moore Williams buildings in the heart of the future Bonham Entertainment District. Our Army-wife daughter Angel and her husband Jason are posted at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Chantal and I attend 1st Presbyterian Church in Bonham.


What are your qualifications for this office and why are you seeking this office?


Carey: My qualifications for being Fannin County Judge are based on my business experience in real estate, insurance, securities, and taxes as well as my community involvement. I am the Texas Silver-Haired Legislator for Fannin County. I also serve on the Texoma Regional Advisory Council on Aging; as the Secretary-Treasurer of the Texoma Senior Citizen Foundation; as the Treasurer of the Fannin County Habitat for Humanity; and am a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) for Fannin County children in foster care.


I am seeking the office of Fannin County Judge to bring transparency to county government as well as prepare now …


Carter: I have been the Fannin County Judge and have led the commissioner’s court for the past four years. During my tenure, we lowered the tax rate three out of four years and opened a new Agri-Life extension office.


I am seeking re-election to this office to continue the efforts of the commissioner’s court to ensure the county’s money is spent wisely and to keep from raising taxes on our hard working citizens. I am also working to get Lake Fannin returned to the citizens of Fannin County, where it belongs.


Do you have experience managing budgets?


Carter: Yes, when I was elected I vowed to review the budget line by line, which I have done for the past four years. In managing the budget, we have consistently lowered taxes, built our reserves each year and paid off all the county’s debt five years early. We are one of the very few counties in Texas to be completely debt free. We have also supported the Sheriff’s Department by giving them much-needed and overdue raises.


I have also owned and operated several financially successful businesses in this area since 1986.


Carey: I have experience as a president/comptroller/treasurer planning and managing budgets and tax matters for companies and organizations in the profit and non profit sectors. This includes preparing state and federal tax returns and negotiating favorable tax settlement outcomes for companies and organizations with the Texas State Comptroller and the Internal Revenue Service.


What do you think are the biggest issues that Fannin County will face in the next five years? How do you plan to address these issues?


Carey: I think some of the biggest issues facing Fannin County in the next five years include water availability, property taxes, lake zoning, and the need for a county animal facility. I will work with the Commissioner’s Court to address these and all county issues. We will reactivate the Fannin County Water Supply Agency to negotiate a 20 percent county water allocation. Once a reliable water revenue stream is secured to fund the county budget, we will propose slashing the county property tax rate from 59.5 cents to 10 cents per hundred dollars of appraised value. We will immediately appoint the four …


Carter: Zoning the two new lakes, Lake Ralph Hall and Lower Bois D’arc Reservoir. This responsibility lies with the county judge and commissioner’s court to see that these lakes are zoned properly to benefit the best interest of the county, because the zoning will impact our citizens for generations to come.


Jobs, infrastructure and planning for growth, will remain big issues for Fannin County. I plan to continue to work with the mayors, council members and business leaders throughout the county to tackle these issues and keep our citizens informed.