Advocate Editorial Board opinion: Thank you for 12 years of moving forward
For the past 12 years, Victoria County has seen consistent leadership in the county judge's office. Through good times and bad, our county has stood with a strong leader at the helm. Now, after the March 4 primary election, Victoria County Judge Don Pozzi will be stepping down in 2015 to make way for new leadership, and we are grateful for everything he has done during his time in office.
Victoria County has seen some major changes since Pozzi first took office. He was elected as a member of the Democratic Party and has lead the county with a constant emphasis on positive development while also trying to protect county residents. When he took office, the county only had a reserve fund of about $870,000, Pozzi said. Under his leadership, that has grown to more than $11 million. The first year he took office, the commissioners court raised the tax rate, but that rate has remained constant over the past 11 years. Even during the recent recession, when people across the area and the nation were financially strapped, county leaders chose to keep the tax rate constant and face a budget shortfall rather than raise the rate and demand even more of taxpayers to meet the county's budgetary needs. As a consequence, county workers were not given raises for a few years, but Victoria County still had a strong government to rely on. Today, the county has a AA credit rating.
Despite the recession, the county has prospered since Pozzi took office in 2003. Whether it is because of the nearby Eagle Ford Shale activity, the county's partnership with efforts to promote and bring in new businesses, the community's emphasis on providing education and job training, strong fiscal responsibility or a combination of all of these factors and more, Victoria County finds itself on a better, stronger financial footing than it did when Pozzi stepped into his leadership position. Pozzi points to economic development efforts, maintaining law enforcement at appropriate levels, great strides in emergency management, the building of the Emergency Operations Center and the overall shift from a negative to a stable, positive financial outlook as some of the results of his work as part of the county leadership.
We know that all of this prosperity is not just the work of one man. It is thanks to the cooperation of several people, groups, nonprofits, companies and more in our county and communities that contributed to this prosperity, but Pozzi has been an important part of this process, and we thank him for all of the work that he has done. Before he was elected county judge, Pozzi served in the Vietnam War from 1968 to 1970 and was a private attorney since 1971. He is very involved in important boards and committees that contribute to the success and prosperity of our community. He serves on the local emergency planning committee and works with the Victoria Regional Airport, the economic development corporation, the workforce commission and more.
We are proud to have such a dedicated leader in our community, and we applaud all of the positive work that Pozzi has done for the county and its residents over the past 12 years. We encourage the winner of the November general election to follow his example and always maintain a positive vision for the future of Victoria County. Pozzi will leave the county in much better shape than he found it. That is a model that we hope all our elected officials, especially those who follow in his position, will follow.
Thank you for your service, Judge Pozzi. We hope you have a prosperous future.
This editorial reflects the views of the Victoria Advocate's editorial board.