As the general election draws near, there are a few things that I feel need to be addressed and clarified. One of my opponents has indicated that there is “wasteful spending” and he wants to “focus spending on improving the whole county”. The term “wasteful spending” has been used rather freely during this campaign. I have not seen my opponent at a Board meeting, nor has he contacted me or any other current Supervisor with his questions and concerns. I know the common thing to do is jump on the band wagon of things you hear about and tend to disagree with. We have all done it, but I have found that you need to go to the source and get your facts in order to make an informed decision on the matter. I cannot imagine serving in a public office where I would intentionally be wasteful while spending the taxpayers’ money as well as my own. As far as spending money to improve the whole county, the budget most certainly does include the entire area of Clarke County.
Another opponent disagrees with the road department purchases and their staffing. There are many challenges and issues that every county in this state faces, including secondary roads. This seems to be one of the most talked about issues, but there is much more to this topic. The Secondary Road Department maintains roads, culverts, bridges, patches pavements, clears brush, sprays brush and are responsible for all signs in the county to name a few. We have an educated Engineer with staff who are constantly striving to keep the entire county in good condition. In order to maintain all levels of the Secondary Road Department, equipment has to be replaced or updated to keep up with the changing needs of that department.
The staffing issue would appear to be that we hired an individual from outside Clarke County as our Secondary Roads Foreman. We had only a small number of applicants for that position and the person hired was considered to be the most qualified for the position.
This opponent also indicates that her district is “all rural” so the roads and bridges will be her priority. District 1 does include the majority of rural Clarke County, but it also includes the cities of Murray and Woodburn. Each Supervisor, regardless of the district they represent, should at all times be aware of not only the needs of their district, but what is best for Clarke County overall.
As far as dividing the population, there is a committee that undertakes that task every 10 years following a census. The per capita division is based on the data from the census. It may not mean the square miles or area of each district is even, but the population split is accurate.
As far as the taxes in Clarke County, the tax levy that the Supervisors are responsible for approving is the lowest it has been in seven years and the total dollars that the Supervisors have requested is also lower than it has been in the past. Your real estate tax statement shows the percentages of individual taxing authorities that combine with the county to make up the total tax assessments. Again, the percentages that the other taxing entities within the county receive are not something that the Supervisors are responsible for setting outside of the county’s portion.
I have served as the District 1 Supervisor for 2 ½ years and can honestly tell you that this job is multi-faceted. There is so much more to being a Supervisor than simply relaying a concern to the County Engineer as to where gravel needs to be put. The Clarke County Board of Supervisors are part of 22 numerous boards and committees that are directly related to our county. Each Supervisor is delegated to serve on the various boards and committees and each of us attend several meetings a month. It is important that we represent Clarke County in each of these areas as this process keeps the Board connected to all aspects of every region associated with Clarke County.
The Board is also responsible for setting and maintaining the budget for Clarke County each year. We work directly with approximately 12 different department heads on their individual budgets and then weave each department’s budget into the overall budget for the county. During that year, there can be issues that arise which may require some adjustments. This can certainly pose some issues, but we work together to do what is necessary to find the best solution for each situation.
The Clarke County Supervisors have an email address that has been used for years in order to reach out and communicate with people and so that anyone can reach the Supervisors by email as well. The email address is email@example.com. The telephone number of the Board of Supervisors in the Courthouse is 641-342-3641.
I feel strongly about the responsibilities given to me when I was elected as a Supervisor and I don’t take any matters lightly, be it roads, taxes or any other issue. It is my hope that I am able to continue to serve Clarke County as District I Supervisor and would appreciate your support.