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December 13--  The chairman of the Toombs County Commission is leaving the job after four years and is proud of what's been accomplished during his tenure.

{mosimage}Commissioner Buddy West chaired his last meeting of the County Commission and looked back on his time in office.

"When I came on we had the first county manager and the first parttime chairman and the worst economic times I've ever seen.  We've had the Local Option Sales Tax negotiation and have been through the ring of fire, but the bottom line is we're better off now than we were four years ago and the record will reflect than in finances and morale," West said.

Toombs County currently has $2 million in Certificates of Deposit and a cash balance in the general fund of $3.6 million.

"Our first year we had to borrow money to get through the year.  Now we've turned it around by making some decisons which were hard to make but were the right decisions.  We have money in the bank and are probably a lot better off than counties in the surrounding area.  We are leaving the county debt free and I think that's quite an accomplishment," he notes.

One of the decisions the Commission made during West's term in office was to increase county property taxes by one mil.  He says that allowed the commission to cease transferring money from the county landfill account to the general fund and to meet state requirements for landfill monitoring in the future.

Critics of that decision would like to see it reversed, but West disagrees.

"'I've always said what is popular is not always right and what is right is not always popular.  We've had to make some unpopular decisions, but they were the right decisions," he believes.

West has accepted a new job at Plant Vogtle near Augusta but is keeping his home in Toombs County and says he may consider another run in local politics in the future.