Name: Homer Sandling Jr.
Current position: Owner of Homer’s Sand & Gravel
City of residence: Red Oak
Education: High school graduate
Prior experience (relative to office): Texas Highway Department as quality control inspector for bridges and highways. Then I worked for an independent laboratory (Texas Testing Laboratory) as quality control inspector for soil, concrete, steel and other building products. My responsibilities included field testing and being on job sites to insure engineer’s specifications were carried out correctly. Then I worked for an excavating company for several years and later owned my own excavating company. Now I am the owner of Homer’s Sand & Gravel for 38 years.
Family: My wife of 46 years is Barbara and we have three sons. We have six grandchildren, three boys and three girls.
Hobbies: I hold a private pilot license and enjoy flying. I also like vintage cars and gardening.
Campaign Web site:
QUESTION 1: In your own words, why are you running for Ellis County Commissioner?
ANSWER: Ellis County has been a good place to raise our three sons. I want to give back in some way. Having a background in construction and a business owner for 38 years will help in serving as county commissioner. Please see electhomer.com for more information about me and my background.
QUESTION 2: Ellis County is growing, and with growth comes new challenges — and problems. As county commissioner, what are some of the policies/programs you will implement to improve services and combat growth-related problems in our county?
ANSWER: I would try to get people involved, especially our young voters. To get good people interested at an early age will help our county as a whole.
QUESTION 3: As county commissioner, what will you do to involve the citizens in informing and/or taking an active role with county government to solve/address issues facing Ellis County?
ANSWER: Always have an open door policy and a good Web site where comments and answers to issues could be addressed.
QUESTION 4: What would you identify as the top three issues facing Ellis County and as a county commissioner, how would you address those issues?
ANSWER: 1. If there was any stimulus money for the county, I would see that it was spent in a way to get the most impact for our county.
2. Keeping our tax base as low as possible by attracting businesses to move to Ellis county.
3. Infrastructure - as we grow, things like an increase in traffic and pollution must be dealt with. Maybe a 25 year plan for light rail and use of more hybrid vehicles for our county.
QUESTION 5: As county commissioner, what do you see as the pros and cons of a combined road and bridge division for the county?
ANSWER: On the plus side, it sounds good to have a combined road and bridge division for our county. However, due to the vast areas that must be covered, I feel the present system works better.
QUESTION 6: Would you be in favor or against a proposal to bring road and bridge work under a single county department?
QUESTION 7: What do you see as the biggest budgetary challenge currently facing Ellis County and, as county commissioner, how would you address that issue?
ANSWER: Keeping taxes low for our citizens. I would work harder to attract more businesses here. According to the size of the business and number of employees, we could offer tax abatements of one, three or five years. This would encourage them to locate here and bring people in who want to live and work here.
QUESTION 8: If you could have a wish list of three items to change Ellis County government, what would they be and why?
ANSWER: 1. More transparency – So our citizens would be better informed.
2. More stringent enforcement of illegal dumping and littering – This will make Ellis County more attractive and environmentally friendly.
3. A user friendly Web site designed specifically for Ellis county citizens.
This would allow elected officials to hear concerns and to take polls on pressing issues of this county. This would let citizens have a voice in our government.
QUESTION 9: As administrator of one of the largest employers in Ellis County, what do you see as the challenges facing human resources and your thoughts on addressing those challenges.
ANSWER: Some challenges are raising costs of health insurance and workers compensation claims. To combat these problems; safety training seminars, drug screening programs and pre-employment physicals are some of the things that help keep cost down.
QUESTION 10: How is illegal dumping in Ellis County being addressed now, and as a county commissioner, what are your thoughts on how it can be improved?
ANSWER: There are several square miles to police. I feel that when someone is caught dumping, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law. As County Commissioner I would first want to know if we have enough man power now. If not we may need more officers, or train some of the present ones to help out when they have opportunity.
QUESTION 11: Are you current on your personal and business taxes?
QUESTION 12: Have you personally had criminal and/or civil legal issues (this does not include any litigation as a public official) and if so, how were those resolved?
ANSWER: I have no criminal or civil legal issues.
QUESTION 13: What do you see as the key transportation issues facing Ellis County and what is your vision at this time for addressing those issues? (Please elaborate on your vision to improve the county’s infrastructure needs).
ANSWER: We should do all we can to help traffic flow better by adding turn lanes where possible. Some streets should be widened. Work with TxDOT to improve Highway 287. We should have a 20 to 25 year look ahead for possible light rail and use of hybrid cars and buses for our schools and city cars. This should be done as technology permits. Our county should be eligible for federal support in some of these areas.
QUESTION 14: What is your experience in administrating a major budget?
ANSWER: I have been a business owner for 38 years in good times and in bad. There were years where trucks and loaders could be purchased and other years where we tightened our belts.
This has required many budget decisions. I believe my experience will help in county budget administration.
QUESTION 15: Ellis County has several partnerships with non-profits. Please discuss the pros and cons of these partnerships and how you feel these partnerships should be expanded or decreased.
ANSWER: I believe our veterans and children in need should be taken care of to the best of our ability.
This should be very important to all of us. The veterans have fought for what we have now and our children are our future.
QUESTION 16: Discuss your thoughts on indigent health care and what the county could or should do to address this issue.
ANSWER: Indigent health care will always be with us. With the new census coming up, we must get every household counted because that determines how much money will be sent to states and counties.
An error of just 1 percent could mean millions lost in federal money allotted for indigent health care and other programs in Ellis County.
We must find ways to get the count right.
QUESTION 17: Tell us why you feel you are the best person for this position.
ANSWER: I feel I am the best person for the position because I care. I have the background for the job with 38 years in construction experience.
I work well with employees; have good management and budget skills. In all businesses, sometimes one has to be hard- nosed. I do not like that approach, but if needed I do not have a problem with it.
QUESTION 18: As an administrator of one of the county’s largest employers, what changes would you like to make to improve morale and retention of county employees?
ANSWER: I would have an open door policy, a clean working environment, and keep equipment clean and in top shape. Through the years I have learned that if I earn the respect of my employees, they will be more productive and do their best.
We should make sure our pay scales are in line with other counties and that our employees have opportunity for advancement.