Commission meeting, 2-27
It was a short agenda but a long meeting. Aaron Bosshardt introduced himself and announced that he is running to be our Representative in the next election for the State House of Representatives. The district he is running for is brand new. I didn’t get a chance to talk with him very much. But, he did take the time to come out and introduce himself, and that means a lot to me. The first major item on our agenda was our yearly auditor’s report. I’m very happy to say that Newberry’s financials are in excellent order. We got the highest rating from our auditor, and that’s great news! The first order of business for any government is good stewardship of its citizens’ money, and it looks like Newberry is doing that in a first rate manor. I did make a comment at the end of the meeting, though, about how many years we have used the same auditor. Conventional wisdom suggests using a different auditor every 3-5 years so that relationships don’t develop that would make it difficult for the auditor to give a negative report. I don’t think that that has ever happened, but I do think that it is time to get some fresh eyes on our books.
The bulk of our meeting was, once again, spent in a discussion of our noise ordinance. I wish I had more to say, but the truth is that we are still working on the revisions. Our legal department is trying very hard to get a draft of a new ordinance to us by the next meeting. When we have that draft, then, we can start the process of discussing what we like in that draft and what we don’t like in that draft. We will have two ‘readings’ of that ordinance. That means that residents will have two chances to read and make suggestions about that ordinance before the commission votes on it. We have a lot of things to consider within this issue, so it will be extremely important to hear from as many of you as possible.
We had a request from our Economic Development Committee at the last meeting to participate in a year-long fee forgiveness program that would create an incentive for businesses to develop downtown. All told, this would save small business between $6,500 and $10,000 if they agree to locate in our Transportation Enhancement Program Zone, which is basically from Rocky’s Place, on the East of town, out to SR 337, on the West of town. This program is specifically designed to help small business get up and running and to bring that business into the areas of town that we really want development to happen. I appreciate the EDC’s work on this, and I think it is a great idea. I’ve already had some inquiries, and I think this might generate some real development, which means jobs and opportunities!
I think those were the highlights. As always, leave me your comments!
How I’ve been spending my time:
Well, I couldn’t talk about the last couple of weeks without bragging on the NHS Girls’ Basketball team. They made it all the way to the State Championship and came up just short of the biggest comeback in history! They had a terrific season, and I know that everyone shares my pride in what they accomplished.
For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been posting about Triangle Park, which is right in front of Newberry’s work yard. It is coming along beautifully, and if you haven’t had a chance to go and spend some time there, it is definitely worth it. The playground equipment is truly awesome, and soon, there will be a quarter-mile paved path around the park, tables, grills, and lots of flowers! I’m excited to see what the finished product will look like.
We are headed into another election cycle here in Newberry, so you will probably start seeing the signs up on the roads and getting the visitors at your door asking for your vote. There are truly large issues on the horizon for Newberry, so it is really important that each of us take the time to talk to the incumbents and the candidates about how and what they see for Newberry’s future. I’ve had some people ask me who I’m endorsing, but I think, as a sitting Commissioner, it isn’t my place to endorse a candidate. It’s my job to work as hard as I can with whomever you see fit to put up on that dais with me. So, I won’t be publicly endorsing anyone. I will say that I believe in our sports tourism vision, that I want to be friendly to business to create jobs and revenue for the City so that we can reduce the taxes on our residents, and that I want to keep the development in our downtown area so our outlying areas can stay agricultural and rural. I encourage everyone to be as active as they can in this election so that we have a true mandate from you to work towards. You have to let us know what you want for Newberry. If I can facilitate any flow of information between or about the candidates, I will try to do so. The last election set a record turnout for Newberry of over 800 residents coming out to vote. I would certainly like to tell my students that we just keep getting more and more involved, so help me get the word out! March 9 is the last day to qualify to run for a seat on the City Commission.
Leave me your comments.