Editor’s note: Each Republican candidate for Champaign County Commissioner on the May 3 ballot was invited by the Urbana Daily Citizen to participate in a survey. The candidates are Bob E. Corbett, Marcia Bailey, David Faulkner and Nino Vitale. Those surveys received by the deadline are being published in a series of articles. No Democrats filed for the election.
Name: Marcia Bailey
Address: 4643 E. state Route 29, Urbana, Union Township
Qualifications: I am a wife, mother, grandmother, and sister who calls Champaign County home. My husband Ned and I have three adult sons and two grandsons and are deeply involved in our community. We have coached youth sports teams, served as 4-H advisors and volunteer at different events in the community. I am a Triad and Urbana University graduate with a bachelor’s degree in social services.
I bring over 40 years of leadership experience serving Champaign County residents and businesses working as Champaign County Deputy Auditor, Champaign County Job and Family Services Workforce Administrator and most recently the Executive Director of the Champaign Economic Partnership (CEP). My career has been based on communication, honesty and always having the community needs in the forefront of decision making. My hands-on expertise includes budget management, income/expense analysis, marketing, and collaboration.
I have a proven career of working with local, regional, and state governments and partners for business growth as well as workforce development in Champaign County.
My civic leadership includes serving on boards and committees including WESTCO Port Authority, Ohio Hi Point, Clark State Community College, Urbana University, Monument Square District, Champaign County Comprehensive Plan committee and Champaign County Emergency Management Disaster committee.
Question: What is your position on granting tax-favored status to renewable energy projects in Champaign County?
Granting tax-favored status is not a simple yes or no in my opinion. There are various forms of renewable energy, and our county has gotten acquainted with at least two.
Anytime a business/entity is requesting tax-favored status, the governing authorities must look at the entire project proposal and request. What will be the outcome – jobs, investment, revenue, longevity, and community impact? Champaign County has several examples of economic growth over the years due to business investment and expansion through the ability to gain time limited tax-favored status based on agreed requirements and outcomes. This growth was a collaborative effort and agreement with the business, school districts, and local government.
The State of Ohio has various taxes that may or may not be applicable to renewable energy projects. These projects must be approved as a Qualified Energy Project to be granted tax-favored status with Champaign County.
In my opinion prior to a PILOT (Payment in Lieu of Taxes) or other tax-favored status being approved, each project must be evaluated on its own merit based on the desired outcomes listed above. Input from the community is another vital component of the evaluation process which creates collaboration with other partners.
Question: How would you help position the county for economic growth in the next 20 years?
In various discussions with our local manufacturers, their businesses thrive because of the proximity to their customers (national and international) and the diversity of their products. The distance to major interstates, ports and international airports allows for continued opportunities for economic growth and sustainability. Our manufacturing climate has a substantial positive economic impact and security that we need to retain.
Our agriculture is becoming more and more diverse in their products and entrepreneurs continue to stand strong in our community.
Recent expansions include 4 manufacturing and 2 commercial businesses with a minimum investment of $89M, approximately 140 new positions created and nearly $8M in new payroll.
In order for us to continue our economic stability and growth, we need a countywide Economic Development Plan. This plan would consist of incorporating the comprehensive plan, housing study, hotel feasibility study and other planning documents to give us the desired direction for growth. We need to evaluate our infrastructure and determine needed upgrades (water, sewer, roads, electric, natural gas etc.) for sustainability and growth. This takes time, resources, commitment, and collaboration but is necessary. This “road map” will allow for budget planning for our infrastructure now and in the future.
Question: What is the biggest asset for ensuring the county’s future viability? And what is the biggest challenge for the county?
Our asset – “never give up” attitude! I truly believe in our community, the residents, leaders, and business owners that make Champaign County a great place to live, work and enjoy life. During the pandemic, our manufacturers stayed open and continued to make products deemed essential and local retailers reinvented themselves by offering online shopping and dine at home opportunities. As the CEP Director, I coordinated and distributed much needed government funds for COVID expenses to local businesses, allowing for safe environments.
Businesses are looking for locations such as Champaign County because of proximity and lower cost of doing business.
Our challenge – smart sustainable growth. The Comprehensive Plan has many recommendations for growth, now we need to further define “how” we are going to grow economically. We need to be ready with housing, infrastructure, and a community that is appealing, welcoming, and prepared for businesses, individuals, and families to encourage growth.
We need to be proactive with marketing to potential end users and make the process of site selection more user friendly.
Workforce becomes less of a challenge when we proactively work together to attract residents and educate our youth on the broad range of career opportunities in Champaign County.