Perverse, self-serving interests were quite evident in recent Cherokee County Commissioner’s Court budget hearings. Because upset taxpayers attended court en mass, the original 10.8 percent salary increase Commissioners wanted for themselves was reduced to 3 percent.
However, the Court remained deaf on repeated requests to refrain from moving $230,000 from Precinct 2’s budget to the other three commissioners’ budgets. Almost every speaker during open forum pleaded with the Court to leave the road and bridge budget based upon number of road miles of which Precinct 2 has 320 and Precinct 1 has 169 miles. The Court was also presented with a petition signed by 254 concerned citizens who agreed that Precinct 2 Steve Norton’s funding should be based on the number of road miles and not equally divided.
One of the citizens addressed the $299.95 approved expenditure from Precinct 3 which paid for Six Sigma Lean Black Belt in Government. Outgoing Commissioner Katherine Pinotti participated in this Internet course which is defined as a course to assist participants to “streamline government process in an efficient and cost effective manner.” However, there was no public outcry of wasted taxpayer money when Commissioner Precinct 4 Byron Underwood and Commissioner Precinct 1 Kelly Traylor used taxpayer funds to join the voluntary Commissioners Court Leadership Academy which is a two-year program that provides advanced leadership training. More details of that wasted spending is located in Jacksonville Daily Progress May 5, 2011, article.
There is a 45 minute video of September 2, 2016, budget hearing located at Cherokee County Republican Party’s Facebook page which will give you an insight into the collective Court’s inability to conduct county business in a professional and business-like manner.
The solution is at the voting box. Mr. Norton certainly has an excellent business background, and his analytical financial abilities were quite evident during the proceedings. Voters in Precinct 1 have an opportunity to select another businessman, Mr. David Jones, who is a cattle rancher and owns a well-known wedding/special events venue in Jacksonville. He is stepping to the plate as a write-in candidate on the November ballot.
Recent budget hearings are an embarrassment. It is quite evident that Washington’s greed and self-serving interests are unfortunately now present in Cherokee County.