Commission pleads its case

Published 4:55 pm Friday, August 6, 2010

Whether you’re for or against a proposed 1-cent sales tax increase, you have to hand to the Chilton County Commission for taking the issue to the voters.

Commissioners on Thursday addressed concerned residents at the Chilton County Courthouse. The meeting was the second of a planned four hearings on the sales tax increase, which is designed to raise money for the improvement of county roads.

Roads are a passionate topic at seemingly every commission meeting. To summarize, there are too many bad roads in the county and not enough money or manpower to fix all of them. Our road engineer, Tony Wearren does a good job with what he has, but what he has often isn’t enough. So, residents bring their complaints to the commission chambers.

The commission was forced to try to do something, but how they went about it was going to be as important as anything. Fair or not, the perception of the commission (like almost every other government entity) is that waste exists and the fiscal belt simply needs to be tightened.

We’re not judging whether that’s the case, but commissioners do owe voters an explanation if they expect those voters to pay more of any kind of tax in the midst of an economic downturn that has forced too many out of work. And commissioners are doing a good job of explaining the county’s sales tax situation, correcting much of the misinformation that inevitably arises in any political debate.

We wish more residents were taking part in the hearings, but political participation is never as high as most would like it to be. It’s important for voters to educate themselves because this sales tax increase is something that will affect them–one way or the other–for several years to come.

Commissioners have done a good job stating their case; it will be up to voters to decide whether they agree.