If you have an interest in improving downtown or curbing crime, Scotland County officials say they can use your help.
At present, 10 county boards or committees have vacancies, representing more than 20 empty seats designated for the public.
Commissioner Joyce McDow brought up the vacancies following this week’s commissioners meeting at which a single applicant to the Laurinburg/Scotland County Planning and Zoning Board was appointed.
“We would love to get more people involved, and the application process is very simple,” McDow said.“We typically only have a single applicant, although if we had five, we would consider all five.”
Residents’ participation on the committees borders on historic lows, according to County Clerk Ann Kurtzman.
“I don’t believe we have ever had more vacancies,” said Kurtzman. “It has always been a challenge to get people to apply, especially to those boards with geographic restrictions.
Four of the 10 vacancies are restricted to residents of a certain township, while the Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Board requires that appointees be “affiliated with a downtown business.”
The longest standing vacancy is the seat of the county’s appointee to the Wagram/Scotland County Zoning Board of Adjustment, which has been unfilled since 2005.
While some level of knowledge or expertise in the subject addressed by the board to which applicants are applying is desirable, McDow said that “if you have an interest in helping out, as long as you meet the requirements, we welcome the application.”
“And if you don’t already know about the subject, maybe you want to learn something, and we would love to have you,” said McDow.
The application process for most of the boards is not very competitive, either.
“I wish is was a more competitive process, then we could invite some of the applicants to look at other boards, but we just don’t have very many people interested,” Kurtzman said.
For Internet users, the application process could not be simpler.
“We have the application on our website, and it can be filled out there and it comes right to me, then it is simply brought before the commissioners,” said Kurtzman. “It’s important to let more people know that there is a way to serve the community, and what you need more than anything else is the desire to help.”
Applications may be found online at scotlandcounty.org or picked up at the Scotland County Government Building located at 507 West Covington St. in Laurinburg.
Boards and committees with vacancies include:
Laurinburg Downtown Revitalization Board
Two county appointed seats, with one vacancy. The other seat will come to term in November. Appointees must be affiliated with a downtown business.
Laurinburg/Scotland County Drug and Crime Committee
Lumber River Council of Governments Scotland County Nursing Home Community Advisory Committee
Maxton/Scotland County Board of Adjustment and Appeals
One seat will become available this month. The appointee must reside in the Maxton extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Maxton/Scotland County Planning Board
One vacancy representing the only county appointee on the board. Appointee must reside in the Maxton extraterritorial jurisdiction.
Parks and Recreation Advisory Board
Two seats will soon be available — one in July and the other in August.
Scotland County Planning and Zoning Board
Three seats are available. One seat must be occupied by a representative of Laurel Hill.
Scotland County Tourism Development Authority
Three seats will become available this month.
Scotland County Zoning Board of Adjustment
Four vacancies. Two alternate seats are also vacant.
Wagram/Scotland County Zoning Board of Adjustment
One vacancy. The appointee must reside in the extraterritorial jurisdiction of Wagram.