Disappointed with local politicians
October 23, 2012
To the Editor:
I moved to Washington County from Texas with my husband seven years ago.
Now, Texas politicians have always had a very unsavory reputation, and I was hoping things would be better here in Iowa. But after watching how my friends and neighbors in Richmond have been treated by their county government, I have to say that, except for Supervisor Ron Bennett, I am very, very disappointed!
The whole Richmond sewer project was wrong from the start. The county’s association with RUSS was started with the most minimal public notice — and it was well under way before the people of Richmond ever leaned about it.
Since 2007, our county board of supervisors has been continuously sinking money into an unnecessary multimillion-dollar project — which has always been an irresponsible and risky thing to do.
There are a lot of things completely beyond the control of any county government that could make the whole project impossible. Our county supervisors have been pouring money into a black hole without first making sure that they had what they needed to complete the project. They still don’t have what they need, and it is very unlikely they ever will.
This morning, in what looks like an act of desperation, some of our supervisors, who are still determined to push this boondoggle through, approved an amended 28E agreement with RUSS. Just two weeks before the voters have their say, these supervisors are throwing thousands of additional dollars down a black hole, thereby showing their contempt for democracy and the will of the citizens they are supposed to represent.
In addition, exaggerated scare tactics about a tax increase are being used to blame the people of Richmond for the supervisors’ reckless behavior. This is certainly not an appeal to our better angels. Even as they call on people’s basest instincts, anyone with half a brain and a modicum of decency should not be taken in by this cheap ploy.
Furthermore, ordinary taxpayers know that there is no such thing as “free money.”
In any case, how can anybody stand by and watch their fellow citizens being treated so unjustly?
What really bothers me is that this amended agreement has a new provision wherein if a poor person isn’t able to pay RUSS’s high user fees, a lien is placed on their home and the fee is collected as taxes. That means their home could be sold for nonpayment of taxes and the family put out on the street.
After all that has gone on, is there anybody in this county who believes that some of our present county supervisors wouldn’t really do it?
The county has clearly gone down a wrong road, and it is time to cut our losses and stop throwing good money after bad. We need some new supervisors who will work with us, and not against us. Then residents of Richmond can get to work solving their problems in a rational way.