April 17, 2024

LETTER: Monitor Adams County accountability

Marcia Allen

Adams County

I attended the board of supervisors meeting on Monday, December 4, at 9 a.m. in the Adams County Courthouse. I’d really like to encourage you to attend a meeting. I’ve gone from never ever attending a board meeting to thinking someone needs to be there to monitor accountability.

Unfortunately, power can corrupt, even on our teeny tiny level. The elected can forget they serve and think they rule. The elected can be sure they know best and don’t care what their constituents are telling them. The elected can think they’re too big and too important to be challenged or to be held accountable. I believe we should all work and play nice with each other. I believe we are all important, and we all should be heard. I hope you will think about what you believe.

Freedom of speech. We currently do not have it at the board of supervisors meetings. Public comments were suspended by chairman, Leland Shipley, and have not yet been reinstated. Will they be? They should be.
Money. We spend it. And spend it. And spend it. And want to spend it. We hired a new road worker. I’m not sure what his job description is. He has started. The supervisors talked about hiring a weed commissioner to replace Travis Paul, who has served as an interim commissioner.

They discussed combining that position with someone who would also spray weeds and also works for the county and they maybe regretted not making that part of the job description for the new hire, so now do we need another new hire? Those words were very close to being said. Will they have had the necessary training? Travis would continue to do it. (Do contracts for the county include the words “and duties as assigned”? Teacher contracts sure did. I got lots of “duties as assigned.”)

Last week or so engineering had overspent because they couldn’t buy the piece of equipment that had been budgeted, so they bought a more expensive piece of equipment, but this week they want more. They want a drone. A drone would be so helpful and Page County has a drone and Montgomery County has a drone and Adair County has a drone and our Hungry Canyon (grant) funds would mostly pay for a drone and we have a special engineering fund that would help with a drone. We could sure use a drone. We will have to pay for someone to learn to run the drone but drone.

Michelle Wilson spoke with the supervisors on grant writing. (I hope this becomes a possibility. Stay tuned. She will be reporting on what she finds that will help with priorities that they discussed with her.)

There are tree roots that are a challenge on the west side of the courthouse and impede the sewage flow. The city will be working on the street between the courthouse and the library. Tony Hardisty is going to investigate. Perhaps the work the city will be doing can help the courthouse with what they need to do. Bill Lyddon is investigating setting up a clean out every six months or so as a preventative measure, rather than waiting until there is an issue. The jail on the opposite side of the courthouse is the biggest internal sewage concern. Inmates flush inappropriate items down the toilets. That can then cause issues for the entire system. I wish I could have asked if they have ever investigated setting the jail area up with a separate sewer system and exiting from the east rather than being a part of the entire courthouse system. Where does the firehouse hook up to the sewer? Is joining a system on the east side of the courthouse a possibility for the jail? But, I can’t talk so I couldn’t ask.

We have approximately $535,000 in unspent ARPA funds. The funds must be designated for spending in 2024 and then spent by 2026. A list of priorities were discussed by the auditor, Rebecca Bissell, and supervisor members. (It would have been nice to have a bit of public input here, but we couldn’t, so didn’t.) However, this is half a million dollars and worth public attention. I’d like to know who is in charge of dispensing the funds, who is in charge of being sure the funds are used efficiently and appropriately, who is in charge of the final paperwork that keeps us on the path of spending the funds according to the Federal guidelines.

The zoning and planning commission meeting scheduled for Dec. 11 was mentioned by Charles Bechtold, engineer, but I don’t believe anyone else acknowledged the meeting. These minutes (letter to the editor) will be in the paper after the Dec. 11 meeting. I hope there are lots of people attending the meeting, ready to talk about their vision of Adams County.
What I considered worthy of additional comments might not have been what you would have chosen. That’s another reason your attendance is important. I think you are important, and your interest and attendance is much more valuable than anything I might choose to write.