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Your outcry for better accountability by our elected officials and your decry of almost any decision of a fiscal nature have become our foundations of public debate.
You, the public, often challenge those you elected to do a better job, to listen to the needs of the citizens and not to those of special interests, corporations or other political influencers.
You want them to hear you – and we certainly agree they should – and act accordingly, so you scream about being heard in forums outside the voting booth and on issues both fundamental and futuristic.
Yet, your loudest words too often are heard from the moaning you do when a vote goes against what you perceive is the public’s will. Your statements of dissatisfaction often exceed in decibels those expressing your thoughts before votes actually are cast.
But you are about to have several opportunities to change that.
In the next few weeks, you will have premium opportunities to be audience to just such decision-making in Shelby County. Three significant issues will be considered in open forum in September as our leaders consider how to handle them:
§ Shelby County Fiscal Court will consider whether to affirm or reject a decision by the Triple S Planning Commission to allow a zone change on Kentucky Street from agriculture to light industrial to allow for a metal recycling plant to be built adjacent to Red Orchard Park.
§ Triple S will conduct a public hearing to consider a request from the Shelbyville City Council to rezone 53 acres on the southeast corner of Harrington Mill Road and Freedom’s Way from agriculture to light industrial.
§ Fiscal Court will hold a public hearing to receive input on its plan to close permanently the Who Da Thot It Bridge across Clear Creek in Shelbyville.
Yes, now it’s your turn, your opportunity to have a say.
You are, in fact, the boss of each of these decisions. The people who will vote on these matters all work for you, and in our Nirvana each would listen to what you have to say before making these decisions.
But the responsibility really lies with you: You have to show up and offer your thoughts.
Sadly, too often the words “public meeting” don’t really represent the forum they are designed to describe.
Our democratic process calls for all decisions to be made by the public, either through an individual’s vote or the proxy carried by that person’s elected representative. State law requires legislative bodies to hold public hearings on specific issues, so the public is duly notified of the possible decision and can be heard on that matter.
Usually, however, we have seen a vote cast by officials from a foundation of information that too often is based on campaign support or market research. Infrequently during a critical vote is the public’s opinion actually heard.
We don’t like that, and on these three issues, we implore you not to allow that to happen.
You are the boss. You have the clout.
You hire the individuals who make these decisions, and this is your opportunity to provide them with direction.
These are three important milestones for the future of Shelby County, precursors perhaps to future decisions that will have even greater impact.
Because of that you mustbe heard. You mustshow up, not acquiesce. You mustspeak for the public good. Too often, folks are quick to criticize decisions, but they generally expect someone us to show up and voice their opinions.
Don’t just mumble and grumble like so many armchair coaches and quarterbacks.
If you want to run the play, then go to the huddle and call it.
If you want the area around Red Orchard Park to be more complementary to the park, attend Fiscal Court’s meeting on this issue and let the magistrates hear from you. Some of your neighbors told Triple S what they think, and the measure only barely squeaked through for Fiscal Court’s consideration. Or maybe you like the idea of having a new industry/jobs come here and find the location fine. Say so.
If you are concerned about zoning along the bypass and whether the landscape there will be populated by horses, houses or heavy metal,then go to the public hearing with Triple S and stake your claim.
And, finally, if you like having access to downtown Shelbyville from the north without having to use the bypass, 7th Street or Boone Station, then let magistrates know that you believe the state should fix the old bridge as it said it would. After all, it’s your money that would pay for that repair. Or maybe you think the old bridge is dangerous and that the money would be wasted.
We have our opinions about the decisions that should be made on these issues, but you don’t have to listen to us any more than the officials do.
In fact, you don’t have to listen to anyone but your own soul in searching for the answer you believe is right for our county.
And our elected leaders only have to listen to you.
You’re the boss. Show up and show them.