Monday, June 21, 2010


When I was in the service many years ago, I used to have a plaque on the topof my desk in my office that one would see as soon as you walked into the room.( Master Sergeants are like that you know!) “There is always an excuse for stupidity, but never an excuse for incompetence.” I can’t remember if that was a quote from somebody or what, but it seemed to fit the situation at the time.
During the public input at the county commissioners meeting last week, I stood and asked the commission what it cost to build the parking lot across the street from the court house. I was immediately rebuked by the chairman that if I bothered to read the claims in the minutes I would have seen that they paid Campbell Grading $3700. Now since the claims don’t say what the expenditure is for, am I to automatically assume (you know what that is right) that it was for parking lot work and not for grading a county road or some other project? So I asked the chairman what it cost for labor for the county employees, equipment rental of county equipment, oil and gas etc. He said those figures weren’t available. I hate to be a pain in the ass, but what does it take to get answers from the commissioners about county business and the spending of our tax dollars? I think that as a public servant, the commissioners would be more than happy to satisfy my curiosity, not try to hide things from me. I’m going to find out anyway, so why not tell me up front and save everybody some grief. That would be too easy.
If they have done nothing wrong it shouldn’t be a problem should it? As taxpayers in this county, don’t you want to know how your tax dollars are being used? Don’t you want to know that someone is looking out for your best interest, and not “flitting” our money away? Is this why the county wants to opt out? They want to tax and spend.
Speaking of oopsing out, wouldn’t you think that the commissioners would have all their ducks lined up before they decide to do this? I mean how much money do they want or need? How many years are they going to opt out for? Are they deciding to oops out before all other options have been looked at?
One of the ideas I heard kicked around at the meeting was to oops out for $350,000 and put $100,000 away into savings or capital outlay in case matching funds become available from the state, then they will have more money to spend. Not only do I think that is totally stupid, I am not sure it is legal to say that the highway department doesn’t have any money so we are going to oops out and at the same time say they are going to stick some money in a sock somewhere “just in case.”
At the end of the meeting the commissioners voted to authorize the chairman to sign a purchase agreement for the property at the port of entry on the interstate. This will give them access to the property they bought a couple of years ago. I can’t remember exactly when they bought it, I think it was two years ago. They still haven’t decided what to do with that property. One of the options that I heard recently was to make it an extension of the treasurer’s office so people in the southern part of the county don’t have to drive all the way to Elk Point to get license plates and pay their taxes. That’s just a rumor I heard, but whatever the reason is, was, going to be, the property must have been a “blue light special”, and the county commissioners just couldn’t pass up a good deal. They took the money from the highway department to pay for the land. ($25,000) But wait a minute. The county is going to oops out because the highway department doesn’t have any money to fix the roads, but can buy a piece of property that they not only don’t want, they don’t need. What the heck is going on here? And you wonder why the county is getting into such a fix? DUH!
Now the frosting on the cake about this port of entry property is that the county purchased the property from the state. Did they purchase the property or did they just purchase the buildings? I’ve been told that everything inside the fence on the interstate is federal property, not state. I wonder if this is why it is taking so long to get clear title. Or should I say took so long to get title. I think they might have it by now, but according to what I know, the state cannot sell property that is landlocked. If that is the case somebody screwed up again because that is what the $25,000 was for; to gain access to the port of entry from old Hwy 77. Am I dreaming all of this or what?
Don’t we have the ability and a right to hold our public officials accountable for their actions? Don’t we have a right to expect to have our elected officials be open and above board in their actions? This isn’t right. Maybe a committee of watchdogs should be formed to keep tabs on what is happening in our county and stop all this tom foolery. Maybe then the commissioners wouldn’t be so free and easy with our money.
‘Till we meet again.’


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