Thank you Mrs. Susan Adams, County Administrator, for providing some financial and loan information to the Times Virginian, and I thank the paper for publishing it (Oct. 23). I was glad to hear Mrs. Adams announce that a financial overview will be provided at the Nov. 18 board of supervisors meeting. I hope the information will immediately be posted on the county’s website and in this newspaper for all citizens to see. That will be a good step in improving the transparency of Appomattox’s government.
There is no excuse for county administrators and the board of supervisors to be adversarial toward us citizens. Getting information from our own county government, which we pay for, should be easy. We should not have to resort to using the Freedom of Information Act to force the county to comply with our information requests and then have the county charge us for it.
A lot more information posted on county’s website will help citizens better understand county finances, programs, and priorities, especially when county actions directly impact citizens’ lives and finances.
For example, where on the county’s website are the Concord trash transfer station documents that were considered by the board at the public hearing? Where are the VDOT and DEQ reports? Where is the legally binding “host” agreement between the county and County Waste that all board of supervisors approved on Oct. 21?
Also, where are the school renovation plans, cost estimates, and plans for paying for all of it? And where can we learn about the mysterious and potentially very costly walking/bike trail from downtown Appomattox to the national park that has been in the works for some years ago?
The board set aside $72,000 last spring (April 15) for the trail project, and I am hearing that was not the first investment. The recent VDOT meeting on “phase one” estimated $11.5 million for road work and building a walking path on 0.45 miles of Old Courthouse Road (that’s $4,840 per foot). Where are the plans for the rest of the trail project? We deserve to know because we will pay for all of it, even if funding comes from county, state, and federal sources (it’s all from our taxes).
I pray we will all work together to better ensure our county government is open and transparent to the greatest degree possible when conducting the public’s business. Adhering to the principle that the public’s business must be conducted in the public view means proposals, plans, budgets, contracts, and spending must be made readily available to citizens. It also means that input from citizens on all matters must be seriously considered and the county must provide responses to our comments. Changes to current practices will take time but they will be very much worth it. The public’s trust is earned through open and transparent government. We have entrusted the county administration and board of supervisors with the stewardship of our county. We must always remember that they work for us.
- Karen Angulo, Concord