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I like to see democracy in action. I know that’s weird, but it’s true.
Democracy was in action Monday night at the Williamstown City Council meeting.
Discussion, which lasted over an hour, centered on which company should be hired to do a preliminary engineering study for the city’s water treatment plant.
Four engineering firms submitted proposals.
A committee of Mayor Rick Skinner, Glenn Caldwell, the former mayor who is now a councilman and Brian Gatewood, the city’s water superintendent, disagreed on which firm should be selected. The committee did not make a recommendation to council, which is what prompted the discussion.
While listening to the merits of how much concrete a project might need or how much dirt might have to be moved or even how many change orders are acceptable once a project gets started does not rank at the top of my list in fun things to do on a Monday night when my University of Kentucky Wildcats are playing for a national title at 9:20 p.m., the discussion was a good example of democracy.
City and county leaders have a tough job of balancing the needs of the community and yet being fiscally responsible with our money. I say, our money because the money that is used to finance things such as a new city building, aquatic center, water or sewer plant or even the fire and police departments, comes from the taxpayers in the form of our taxes and our utility payments.
Yes, I know that this is a simplification of the financing process but you get the idea.
Each council member, the mayor and Gatewood, were given a chance to be heard. At the end of the discussion, council decided the right thing to do was invite the engineering firms to a meeting on April 17 so they could make a presentation and then the council could vote on selecting one of them to move the project forward.
It was a good night as far as council meetings go because there was discussion and thought-provoking comments and those are good things. Too often, government meetings follow an agenda with little to no discussion about any of the items on there.
Talk is good. It means people, be it council members or the public, have a chance to weigh in on a subject.
Grant County residents have another opportunity to see democracy in action tonight (Thursday, April 5) at a “Know Your Candidates” Forum sponsored by the Grant County News and the Grant County Chamber of Commerce.
All candidates were sent a packet of information via certified mail notifying them of the event and outlining the rules and deadlines. If any candidate failed to return their information by the deadline, then they will not be allowed to participate tonight.
The News and chamber have co-sponsored these events in the past in an attempt to give the voting public a chance to hear first-hand from candidates. The forum will begin at 7 p.m. at Williamstown High School.
The forum will be taped by Williamstown Cable and shown at several dates prior to the May 22 election. Watch the Grant County News for dates and times.
The News and chamber will also sponsor another forum this fall for winners in the primary, as well as candidates for city council races.
Democracy in action is a neat thing to watch.
(Jamie Baker-Nantz is the editor of the Grant County News. She can be reached at 824-3343 or email@example.com.)