After serving his first term as a Bulloch County Commissioner for Seat 2A, Curt Deal is seeking re-election.
He is opposed by challenger Chris Akins, a local farmer and businessman.
Deal, who owns Deal Funeral Home in Statesboro, said he is proud of what the Bulloch County Commission has accomplished and he hopes to continue working towards the county’s success. One point of pride is the county’s “stable financial condition,” he said. “In 2019 we reached a sufficient level of rainy-day funds. With the current COVID-19 pandemic our financial strength will be put to the test.” The county funds allowed commissioners to set aside $100,000 for the Bulloch County Health Department in March, for emergency purchases due to the pandemic.
Deal also touted the success of the Special Purpose Local Option Sales Tax (SPLOST) renewal and the passage of the Transportation Special Local Option Sales Tax (TSPLOST) in 2018. These “provide the county and its cities sustainable funding for capital projects for several years to come, without the dependence on our property taxes.”
As a commissioner, he has been part of sustaining what he says is an effective judicial system. Bulloch County, along with other counties in the Ogeechee Judicial Circuit, added two new part-time juvenile court judges and expanded the accountability court to add felony drug clients. “These initiatives were achieved at little cost and will help keep people out of our county jail in the future,” he said.
If re-elected, Deal expects to continue working with other commissioners to help the county overcome any challenges the COVID-19 pandemic may bring. But the main issues he wants to address include dirt roads.
“First, we must consider shifting resources to dirt road maintenance. With over 750 miles of dirt roads, we continually face multiple challenges such as finding and keeping qualified machine operators, an experiencing increased maintenance demands due to more significant road traffic and adverse weather,” he said.
“We possibly need to consider transferring the use of personnel and machinery from internal special construction projects to more intensive dirt road maintenance until some of the problems have been overcome.”
Providing needed space for growing departments is also a priority. The county needs to “address and plan facility expansion for detention and justice services. Jail overcrowding is present and persisting, and judicial facilities are both aging, dispersed, and space deficient,” he said. “The critical issue will be how to pay for these new facilities and keep their operational costs affordable.” Public safety needs must be funded, and takes up half the county budget, he said.
“We cannot ignore the needs of this function with a growing population. We must continue to work with the sheriff’s office on expanding school resource officers and road deputies in an effort to reduce the amount of overtime. Also, we need to continue the work of expanding the rural fire district. This would improve our ISO rating resulting in a reduction to our homeowner’s insurance rates.”
Deal praised the current commission for working well. If re-elected, he said he will continue “ keeping up to speed with issues by talking to citizens, staff and department heads; being prepared for meetings and presenting persuasive arguments or points based on rational and factual information.”
He said he would like to see “more high-quality private sector jobs and investment,” a diversified local economy, and see efforts to attract investors, to grow a tax base that “provides taxpayer relief.”
On a personal note, “Anyone that knows me, knows that I love Bulloch County,” he said. Bulloch County has offered a safe and nurturing environment in school, church and recreation activities while raising our family.” He and his wife Jenni have three children.
After graduation in 1990 from Statesboro High School he attended Georgia Southern, then earned a mortuary science degree from Gupton-Jones College of Mortuary Science in 1994. He entered the funeral industry, working as both a sales consultant and funeral director/funeral home owner.
Deal is a member of Statesboro’s First Baptist Church, active with the media ministry team and having served as a deacon, on the finance committee and a ministerial search committee.
If re-elected, Deal assures residents he will always be straightforward. “Transparency … is important to me,” he said. “During my past four years as a commissioner, I feel like I have been available and open to talk individually” with residents. That won’t change, he said.
Deal and Akins, both Republicans, will face off Tuesday, June 9 in the primary election.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.