Letter: Agreeing with Citizens

Several key points were made at Council’s regular meeting on April 8 and I would like to reinforce them for those who rely on this publication for information. I strongly believe that the number one priority for Fairfield County Council, and in fact any government, is to provide for the safety and health of its citizens. We typically take for granted our safety and health until something goes wrong. And it’s when something goes wrong that we need, and should expect to receive, help, as Mr. Randy Bright stated.

Imagine your house is on fire and all the belongings you worked hard to acquire may soon go up in flames. Imagine suffering a heart attack or severe injury while working on your property. You need emergency services, and you should expect to have them respond quickly to provide the help needed.

Providing adequate fire service, medical response and law enforcement should be Council’s highest priority.

Regarding funding the county’s priorities, there appears to be a lack of financial oversight with the current Council. I would expect Council, or at least the Administration and Finance Committee, to know where our taxpayer dollars and being spent, where they should be spent and shouldn’t be spent. Also, the budget setting workshop on April 10 didn’t appear to have an established process for department directors to follow. There should be one workshop focused on capital investment requests, and another one on the operating budget with a focus initially on manpower requests. There should be a template of information for each director to follow, including a discussion of spending levels in the current fiscal year and whether the department is under, over or on budget.

Mr. Randy Kelley spoke about the Comprehensive Plan and the need to set priorities and have more accountability for actually implementing specific actions, by having Council members accountable for specific actions. This is something I have also spoken to and firmly believe in. Without a specific action plan with SMART goals and actions, we will likely see the same actions 10 years down the road in the next Comprehensive Plan. Kudos to Mr. Ruff and Council for tabling the Plan until the errors are corrected.

Transparency and more open communications between the Council and the citizens it represents is something we expect to see. As mentioned by Mr. Jeff Schaffer, the by-laws include an agenda with two public comment sections, and that Council must vote in a public meeting to change the agenda. This was never done and Chairman Pauley refuses to acknowledge this and correct it. What is it going to take to get the second comment section back on the agenda? We expect more transparency and communication.

Don Goldbach

Lake Wateree – District 2

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