We all need to get involved with local government meetings

St. Louis Park, Minnesota, is a city located in the congressional district of Democrat Rep. Omar. This city made some media news outlets because, in June, the city council eliminated the Pledge of Allegiance to the American Flag at their meetings.

At the July meeting, citizens came with flags and said they wanted the Pledge of Allegiance restored to the meetings. The council said they eliminated the Pledge of Allegiance because they did not want to offend non-citizens! Most likely, St. Louis Park citizens did not previously attend the council meetings to be informed of what their elected officials were doing.

When citizens are not involved in their government, the officials can do what they please — like what happened in St. Louis Park. We had this happen in Scotland County a number of years ago, the county commissions wanted Scotland County to be the home of a mega dump. The commissioners acted as if this was going to be a great thing for our county.

Many citizens started to attended meetings to object to or show favor of this mega dump. Fortunately, state legislators saved NC from these mega dumps in our state. This was the last time I personally saw the citizens of Scotland County really get involved with the county commissioners. I remember Waste Management scurried out of Scotland County and headed to Marlboro County.

Recently the city council voted for a new city hall. We were told this facility could be built without a tax increase. In the latest budget, city council introduced creative financing and came up with a “vehicle fee.” In my opinion, a “fee” is another word for “tax.”

The county commissioners recently passed a budget with no increase in the tax rate. I heard a commissioner say they thought the rate could go down one cent next year. Next year is an election year! Did you know this new budget included hiring four new county positions?

We heard the county is paying the schools $150,000 less than the year before. One commissioner agreed, but said based on lower school enrollment this coming year, the schools (per student) actually received an increase of, I believe, 9.4%! More creative financing?

When one attends meetings, one has the opportunity to get a sense of what is happening in the community and understand their government. We all need to get involved with our local governments so something extreme like we see in Minnesota does not happen here.

Jim Johnston