Ward took the reins of leadership during the board’s January meeting. He pledged to serve with honor, integrity and transparency.
“It is my sincere hope that we leverage our local contacts for assistance at the state and federal level,” he said. “This year, we need to specifically focus on economic development.”
Other goals Ward mentioned are giving more attention to public safety and taking advantage of grant opportunities that are available.
Croker said he has three priorities. They are economic development, infrastructure and improving relationships with other governmental entities in Polk.
“We need to recognize our existing industry and their contribution to Polk’s economy,” he said. “We should work closely with them to create more jobs.”
He emphasized the need to provide adequate funding to economic development and the new speculative building. “The spec building will be a great marketing tool to attract new prospects,” Croker said.
He also emphasized the need to seek any funding that is available. “We should get our share,” Croker said.
Ward and Croker were seated with new board members Ray Barber and Stefanie Burford.
Barber is also anxious to work with local development authorities and would like to see an intergovernmental committee added this year.
“We had an intergovernmental committee when I previously served on the board,” Barber said. “I would like to see another one organized. It would give us opportunity to meet with other entities to discuss common public safety problems and plans for the future. We must work together for the good of all our citizens even if it means compromising.”
Burford said she would work with other commissioners to reach common goals.“I plan to work with everyone to bring jobs to the community, enhance the quality of life and make a difference,” she said.