Letter: The Fiasco Continues

I cannot recommend attendance at a Fairfield County Council session. It is depressing. Tonight’s meeting continued with the four to three split on just about everything.  This was especially the case on the second reading of the proposed FY 2021-2022 county budget.

The 4 majority amended the proposed budget to kill the proposed 5 mill increase which would have helped balance the budget and lean towards meeting agency needs (fire service, library, recycling, transit, law enforcement, and a host of other agencies which, of course, those of us in the audience were not given privy to read—so much for “transparency.” 

They also killed a proposed one mill increase to the county library budget.  It was pointed out that this determines library services, and there has not been a millage increase in many years. And the library’s reserve is fast reaching bottom. I would have liked to have noted that, to continue to receive state aid ($100,000 this year), the county must demonstrate a maintenance of support (state law) or show cause why this cannot be maintained, and the outcome of the appeal is determined by the state librarian.

A comment was made during one of the two public hearing opportunities that the county administrator had allowed the county to get in the fiscal situation we are in.  Evidently the commentator did not understand that the county administrator is powerless without council endorsement of all budgets and expenditures and the only latitude may lie within line items already approved by council. 

My conclusion is that there is still massive ignorance of council’s role and their administrator’s toeing the line according to council dictums while wisely guiding council as to legal requirements and options available to achieve desired outcomes.  The record industry growth and concomitant employment improvement, attests to the current county administrator’s talent and leadership and certainly not the converse.  If anyone is moving the clock hands backwards, let us look at council actions this calendar year!

Given the per diem penalties being levied for delays in the already approved ironclad contract for the renovated county administration facility, it seems that this would have been an urgent council matter. It was not.  So, we strain at millage but show no plan to avoid the four-figure per diem (daily) added cost for the project. Folks, that is well over $40,000 per month according to my calculator!

It also appears that council is now a quattuor (Latin for foursome) who have already decided prior to any session what they will do and what they will not do, thus leaving the remaining three district representatives impotent to forward any business. 

While my district representative (council member) is one of the four, by no stretch of the imagination does she represent my position on any county affairs.  Thus, I am, in a sense, disenfranchised.

Is this really what we the electorate wanted, to have a stalemate in forward progress for our beloved county?  And endorsing what appears to me to be reverse racism at its rankest?  Thankfully, the adage that the pendulum can swing only so far before it swings equally in the opposite direction affords some optimism.  And better sooner than later.

Hopefully, council members planning on attending the Hilton Head training/free vacation will learn much about council objectives and protocols. 

Paul Dove

Winnsboro

Speak Your Mind

*