Andy Rogers: Vision for Brown County and Nashville

Brown County loses Andy Rogers.  Andy Rogers passed away July 19, 2018. His vision for accommodating tourism and not destroying the culture and “soul” of the county is being seriously challenged by the few that may want to exploit more tourism focused development.

“People say, ‘Well, we can’t change.’ But we can change and still retain some of the flavor of Brown County. We need people to live here. I’m in the tourist business but we don’t want to turn this town over to the tourists. You can go to Gatlinburg if you want to see what happens to a town that turns it all over to business. It’s not a town anymore—it’s a shopping center. We need people here. This town needs to be alive.” 

“We don’t need to be slick and highly commercial. We need to be more country. Country is what we sell…. We need to maintain that. Once you destroy that, it won’t come back.”

Brown County Memories – Andy Rogers Recalls, by Bill Weaver, Our Brown County

  • “He stands at the center of Nashville’s dogged attempt to satisfy a tourist industry while retaining its soul—the thing that people have lost in their own communities, the reason they come to visit in the first place. 
  •  So you can imagine my surprise when I discover that Rogers was not born in Brown County.”
A Competing Vision for Tourism

 Will this new vision retain and attract residents or will it result in Brown County being considered a fun place to visit but not to live?    

My Guest Column in the Democrat: A study of tourism and economic sustainability  Provides context regarding tourism-related jobs and wages. Note: The proponents of the government-owned Maple Leaf music venue project claimed that Maple Leaf “….  could be what it takes to turn things around economically for Brown County.”  This article was written to offer another perspective.  The county is funded primarily by income and property tax.  

The Maple Leaf Effect? – “The little town that never sleeps?”

GUEST OPINION: ‘Coming together is a beginning  The Maple Leaf Effect? and Working toward ‘a more perfect union’   Excerpts – Future scenarios can include the following:

Best case is that MLPAC exceeds all expectations. A worse case is that the venue does not meet expectations, requiring a decision as to the disposition of an underperforming venue.  

1. Status quo plus. The additional increase in year-round tourism from Big Woods/Hard Truth Hills (destination distillery) and the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC) are added to the tourism portfolio with some noticeable impacts on the culture of the county. This will include more events to promote entertainment, craft beer, wine and spirits tourism and additional traffic congestion. An increase in revenue from income and property taxes, the primary source of revenue for the county, might offset the increase in county infrastructure-related costs.

2. Transformative. The expectations for the MLPAC were identified as leading to an increase in year-round tourism that would result in an economic turnaround, more jobs, hotel(s) and restaurants. These changes could possibly include the transition of Snyder Farm as an extension of Salt Creek Plaza. The requirement to fill a 2,000-seat venue will likely lead to offering any entertainment option and attracting any demographic that will sell tickets and attract visitors. Shops in Nashville could transition to bars or other dining and entertainment options that will encourage visitors to stay longer and spend more money. Other areas along the State Road 46 corridor could transition to tourist-related businesses. A casino might fit into this scenario. Entertainment, craft beer, wine and spirits tourism become a major part of the Brown County “brand.” The cumulative effect of the changes may lead to Brown County being considered a nice place to visit but not to live.

3. Collaborative planning. Community conversations can help identify the best acceptable alternatives for tourism, community and economic development options. To quote Henry Ford, “Coming together is a beginning. Keeping together is progress. Working together is success.” Conversations can lead to strategies, strategies to plans, and good plans lead to results where everyone benefits — or at least accepts that a given initiative is beneficial overall. The collaborative approach can lead to the county being recognized as a “community of excellence,” which attracts more residents, businesses and families. An increase in families helps mitigate the decline in school enrollments and prevents school closures and consolidations.

Maple Leaf: Will “more money” be a recurring theme?   

Published in the July 25, 2018 edition of the Brown County Democrat.

The July 18, 2018 article in the Democrat, “New ‘Leaf’ Turned: Work begins on performing arts center,” provided the highlights from the groundbreaking ceremony for the Maple Leaf Performing Arts Center (MLPAC).

The same edition of the paper also included the article “Additional loan sought for Maple Leaf project.” The request for additional monies is because construction bids exceeded the project budget by $743,167. In addition to the new $200,000 loan, Convention Visitors Commission (CVC) Board member Mike Patrick suggested soliciting donations for $600,000. This amount would include covering the money needed to pave the parking lot. Another requirement that was recently identified by the Maple Leaf Management Group is the need to develop a strategic plan.

At the groundbreaking, President of the County Commissioner Dave Anderson was quoted with stating the following: “No process was missed, not one thing was overlooked and I looked closely. It was done right.”  

This may be an accurate statement from a legal standpoint if not somewhat overstated. The county attorneys – Barnes and Thornburg did oversee the project to ensure compliance with appropriate laws and regulations.  Similar sentiments were expressed by Council President Keith Baker. Baker remarked that government officials performed their due diligence and he was complimentary of the Maple Leaf business plan — referred to on the Maple Leaf website as “The Plan.”

It’s unfortunate that both Anderson and Baker referenced opposition and obstacles to the project which could likely have been prevented through a more deliberate planning process, transparency and by conducting open meetings. Citizen input at public meetings would have helped to identify risks and may have also led to suggestions for other options other than a music venue. This information would have allowed the commissioners and council members to make more informed and balanced decisions.

A little history. Commissioner Diana Biddle led this project on behalf of the commissioners, Councilman Baker on behalf of the council and innkeeper Barry Herring on behalf of the CVC. Only the commissioners and council are authorized by law, to approve the funding for this venture.

Barnes and Thornburg, at the direction of Commissioner Biddle in July of 2017, designed a process for fast-tracking this project. The initial plan by the attorneys would have included public meetings and the active involvement of all affected government entities. The county Redevelopment Commission (RDC) volunteered to facilitate this process. The RDC was not asked to be involved in the fast-track process.

The fast-track process included a refusal by the commissioners and council to hold public meetings to solicit input from citizens on the desirability of this project. At the public meetings, which were held to approve zoning and funding, commissioners and council members declined to respond to written questions, many of which were provided in advance of the meetings.

The Maple Leaf project team included members with an inherent conflict of interest.  Doug Harden is credited with developing the idea for this project that he refers to as his ‘dream.”  Harden is identified as the designer and architect who has a direct financial interest in this project. The innkeepers who led this project will indirectly benefit from increased overnight stays in their respective establishments.  Individuals that served on the team to promote this project did not include anyone that identified expertise or experience in owning and managing a music venue.

Is a 2000-seat music venue feasible? Assuming that what worked in the past (the Little Opry) will work in the future is a significant risk. Given the conflict of interest, the lack of music venue experience among project leaders and the inexperience of commissioners and council in reviewing a “business plan” for what is generally considered a private sector venture, contracting for an independent feasibility study was needed to identify and manage the risks associated with the project. The council refused to delay the project to contract for the needed study.

The collateral for the Maple Leaf loan is future profits from the venue and revenue from the innkeeper’s tax.  Initially, profits were to be shared with the county.  A bank or other lender without collateral from tax revenue would require a private sector venture of this type to develop a more thorough business plan.  The requirements for business plans are available from the Small Business Administration. An example of a Music Theatre Business Plan is available at bplans.com.

Consequently, since the bank was not relying solely on a business plan to help assess the risks associated with this project, it was up to our commissioners and council to educate themselves to ensure they were performing their due diligence before voting to approve this project.

Citizens were not informed through an announcement in the Democrat of any public meetings where the business plan was to be reviewed and discussed by the commissioners and council before their vote to approve this project. Due diligence would have required several public meetings.

The decisions that have already been made by the Commissioners, Council and CVC will determine the success or failure of this government-owned music venue.  At this point, my suggestion for voters is to elect representatives that will oppose any future effort to transfer all or part of the $12.5 million or more Maple Leaf debt onto county taxpayers or use general funds to subsidize the venue in any way.

This project was sold as “too good to fail” – let’s hope that’s true.   The public and voters will determine if the decisions and process used to fast-track this project are in the best interests of all county citizens.

Changing the Government from the “Top” 

By Tim J. Clark

Politically within the United States, we are in the midst of what might be considered as an uncivil conflict. America has been divided into red states and blue states, with social media serving as the battleground. The casualties in this conflict include opportunity costs — the outcomes this country could have achieved had we been working together instead of battling each other. We need to make some changes if we want to improve this situation and ultimately the nation.

When most people think about making improvements at the national level of government, they consider the “top” as beginning with the President, the U.S. Congress, or a political party. However, by law, the “top” is “We the People,” according to the U.S. Constitution:

We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. [emphasis mine]

The vision for America is to work together toward achieving “a more perfect Union.” Working to achieve this aim must be led and supported by “We the People” and not by the red states, blue states, or “deep state” politicians and their respective interest groups. These groups add value by identifying the polarity on issues and offering nonpartisan solutions but can also be corrosive to a system that was designed to be continually improved.

Tip O’Neill, a former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, reinforced that all politics is local.” Therefore, the U.S. government can be improved starting from the local level of government.

If “We the People” can begin the transition to improve quality at the county level of government, we could demonstrate a successful approach that might inspire improvements at the state and national levels of government.

The goal at the county level would be a shared vision for the future — a plan that identifies what people want and do not want regarding economic and community development. This would be followed by action that results in outcomes that citizens would agree result in a “more perfect” county.

To achieve these results, we need more independent voters as well as a critical mass of quality leaders.

Independent Voters Are Needed

An “independent voter” is an individual who votes for the person they believe is the best candidate, regardless of any political party affiliation. The “best” representative is someone who can lead change that results in everyone benefitting or, at least not being any worse off in the long term.

I consider myself a political independent. To vote in the primaries in my home state of Indiana, you have to declare a party, so I registered as a Republican. However, I vote for the best candidate, regardless of political party affiliation. If there is not a good candidate for a position, I leave the selection blank to send a message to the parties to recruit better candidates.

Last year, 42% of Americans identified themselves as political independents, while 29% percent identified themselves as Democrats and 27% as Republicans, according to Gallup. In upcoming elections, we need more people to be independent voters. In other words, we need more people to elect individuals based on their ability to address issues and challenges rather on their political party affiliation.

Critical Mass of Quality Leaders Are Needed

While it is important to let your voice be heard by voting, elections only come every so often. That’s why we need more quality leaders.

I support the theory identified by W. Edwards Deming. His contributions for improving quality were recognized by U.S. News and World Report as one of the nine turning points in world history and by FORTUNE Magazine as among the greatest contributions to business history.

Deming believed that you need a critical mass of quality leaders to improve or transform an organization (e.g., group, community, country). Quality leaders are individuals who can apply and support the application of the better methods to improve processes and systems, resulting in outcomes where everyone gains, or at least are not any worse off in the long term.

The number of leaders needed can be calculated as the square root of an organization:

“In a small staff of 25, just 5 dedicated people who are committed to the improvement process and who work consistently will create a transformation. The same is true in a classroom. Think about getting a critical mass of students in a classroom. In a class of 30 students, the square root would be approximately 5.5. Since you can’t have half a child, round to 6. If you can get 6 students to commit and begin working with you and supporting your initiatives; you can transform the culture of the class.” — David Langford

As anthropologist Margaret Mead once said, “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.

An Example of What Is Possible

The challenges that local counties face can parallel the political polarity found at the national level. A political party can develop a monopoly on political power, which can be described as allowing a few people (along with ad-hoc project teams or interest groups) to dominate decision-making. Monopolies can lead to an abuse of power, which leads to less transparency, a lower quality of decision-making, and poorer results. It also leads to policies that benefit the few at the expense of the many.

Take, for example, the county in which I live: Brown County, Indiana. Around 15,000 people live in this small rural county. Residents appreciate its natural beauty, the rural environment, the friendly people, and our history as the “Artist Colony of the Midwest.” Key strengths include our community foundation, volunteers, and excellent schools.

Brown County has the highest concentration of forested land of any of Indiana’s 92 counties. Much of the county’s 312 square miles are state and federal lands or privately owned and not open to development. It is among the least populated county in Indiana, with a population density of just 48 people per square mile, compared with 182 statewide. The majority of employed citizens commute outside the county for work and tourism accounts for approximately 30% of jobs within the county, which contributes to a low to moderate income level.

Brown County has seen its share of challenges lately. The county government has recently implemented some policies that many residents view as being fiscally irresponsible, including:

  • Approval of a fast-track process to build a $12.5 million government-owned and government-managed music venue without providing citizens an opportunity to provide input on the desirability of the project, conducting an independent feasibility study, or reviewing the complete business plan before approving the project
  • A taxpayer-funded settlement for a township issue resulting from what some residents considered a hostile takeover of a volunteer fire department
  • A proposal to build a new $10 million courthouse without identifying the compelling need and analyzing other alternatives
  • Pushing through a $7.3 million wastewater treatment proposal without identifying the need or addressing the concerns and issues with people affected by the project

The critical mass needed to lead a transformation using methods that respect what citizens want (and do not want) regarding economic and community development is 112 (the approximate square root of 12,500 registered voters).

While we have not reached the critical mass of quality leaders yet, our network includes individuals who have opposite political positions regarding national policies but support basic governance principles. We are putting any left-wing/right-wing biases aside and working together to achieve “a more perfect county.”

The Independent Voters of Brown County IN website and Facebook page includes non-partisan suggestions for addressing our local challenges. The intent is to identify principles that could provide common ground and a strategy for improvement. A local  Facebook group was also created to share information and discuss “matters that matter” to the citizens of Brown County.

How You Can Help

Legendary National Football League coach Vince Lombardi remarked that “Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence.” A more perfect county and country requires that citizens identify their vision for “more perfect.” The next step is to work together to apply methods to continually improve the processes and systems that will lead to “catching excellence.”

If you support the concept that national-level change can be led from the “top” (“We the People”) and want to provide moral support, go to our Independent Voters of Brown County IN Facebook page and “Like” us.  A few thousand “Likes” will provide some positive feedback. It will also help reinforce that it’s a small world and that local efforts can have wide-scale impacts.

Economic Development Strategic Plan – Links to References

Michael Hicks, an economist at Ball State University concluded that  “today’s economic development policy ought simply to focus on making life better for residents who have chosen to remain.”   In his article “Most Indiana counties should stop pursuing economic growth“, he reinforces that “80 or more Indiana counties are in absolute or relative decline.”

The challenge for Brown County is to assess the opportunities as well as challenges within the county and region to identify the best approaches for the county.

Technical requirements for the economic development strategic planning grant.

A “plan” is a written account of the intended future course of action (scheme) aimed at achieving the specific goal (s) or objective (s) within a specific timeframe. It explains in detail what needs to be done, when, how, and by whom.

Summary – Taxes and Trends – Presented to the Joint Meeting of Council and Commissions, June 4, 2018.   June 4 DLZ Commissioner and Council Joint Meeting

Brown County Comprehensive Plan 2012 and the Draft of the 1993 Plan

Stats Indiana Brown County Population Projections

South Central Indiana –  United Way 2-1-1 Resource Database.

County Financial Decision Support Model – IU Support

Brown County Hometown Collaborative Initiative (HCI). Sponsored by Office of Community and Rural Affairs, Ball State, and Purdue University.

Choose Brown County – Redevelopment Commission (RDC) Website

Massachusets Institute of Technology – LIVING WAGE Calculation for Brown County, Indiana 

Indiana Economic Development Corporation – Average and Project Wage – 2006 – 2017.

 Regional Opportunity Initiative (ROI). The mission of Regional Opportunity Initiatives, Inc. (ROI) is to support regional development opportunities in the 11 counties of Southwest Central Indiana.

Affordable Homes

More Facts

Econ Development Strategic Plan – Timeline

Background: The county received a $40K grant to create an economic development strategic plan. Thomas P. Miller and associates were selected as the contractor.  The RDC will be conducting 8 community meetings in Sept and Oct to solicit input from the public.

In support of the meetings, the RDC will develop a presentation that will provide baseline information on the economic status of the county.

August 9, 2018, RDC Meeting.  We discussed the initial draft of the community presentation.  Jim Kemp, President of the RDC, doing a great job getting input from all the various government groups in collecting the data and the overall economic situation of the county.  We are working to have the final presentation done by the end of the month. The rough outline of the presentation below:

  • The Why – Community Vitality Indicators (CVI) identify a declining tax base
  • The Strategy – Planning Grant
  • The Facts –  Trends – Revenue, Debt, Taxes
  • Decisions that will have to be made – What do need, What do we want and What do we not want?
  • About our County – Townships, Population, Demographics, Housing …
  • About our Neighbors – Info on the surrounding counties
  • About Our Community – Government, Schools, Businesses, Non-Profits
  • Our Way Ahead? Document the input from the public. Our contractor reviews the economic data, assimilates the input provided by the citizens, identifies options that are then presented and discussed at public meetings.  The final plan has to be approved by the commissioners at a public meeting.

July 16, 2018, Initial Draft – Timeline

  • Develop a plan for public meetings – by August 31.
  • Conduct public meetings (8) in September/October.
  • Public meeting are also required during development of the plan. This provides citizens with feedback regarding how their input is being addressed.

July 13, 2018Economic Development Strategic Plan – Links to References.   Provides context on history, economics, current and past studies, et.al.

  • The Plan will represent the voice of the citizens, e.g., what people want and do not want. 

THE START

July 12, 2018. Brown County Democrat Facebook.

  • Tonight, the Brown County Redevelopment Commission discussed organizing a series of meetings to gather ideas on what Brown Countians need in order to help them continue living here. The commission is getting a grant to start forming an economic plan, and they decided that a “grassroots” approach is essential as the first step — asking residents what they want first, rather than asking community leaders first. No meeting dates have been set yet; they may be in September or October. More info to come as we receive it.
  • Democrat Facebook Comments
  • Brown County Matters – Facebook Comments

July 12, 2018.  RDC Meeting.

  • I volunteered to help support this project. With respect to full disclosure, I was a member of the RDC in 2016-2017.   I was involved with helping to put together the application and selecting the contractor – Thomas P. Miller and Associates.
  • Background
    • The grant administrator was selected in Feb/Mar of 2017.
    • We had to conduct a countywide income survey that began around May and ended in September 2017. The survey determined that we qualified for the federal grants through the Office of Community and Rural Affairs (OCRA).
    • The application for the economic development strategic planning grant was ready in Dec/Jan but delayed due to the Van Buren issue.

 

Brown County Matters – Meet and Greet – June 30, 2018

Brown County Matters Facebook Group.  Great seeing everyone today!   I enjoyed the discussions and meeting the new people in the group.  Some of my takeaways from the meeting include the following.

There are at least four separate areas (independent and interdependent) that would be involved in making the kinds of changes that will lead to needed improvements.

  1.  Identifying issues and challenges (BROWN COUNTY MATTERS),
  2.  Addressing issues and supporting changes (CANDIDATES for elective offices),
  3.  Identifying and selecting the best candidates (VOTERS) and
  4.  Providing OVERSIGHT (various groups) to help assess if a change is resulting in improvement.

BROWN COUNTY MATTERS.  We have a focus on community and government-related issues and decisions that are being made (or not made) that affect all county citizens. Topics have included spending, debt, budgets, lack of planning, septic ordinance, Maple Leaf, CVC oversight, Bean Blossom Sewer Proposal, and economic development to name a few.

CANDIDATES for Elective Office.  When issues are identified that require needed action, then we need elected representatives and their appointees to boards and commissions to LISTEN and UNDERSTAND  and then support the changes that will lead to improvement.

VOTERS.  In addition to any political platform of a respective political party (Democrat, Republican, et.al), the Independent Voters of Brown County IN site that I administer is non-partisan and includes suggestions for basic governance “Principles that can be considered when selecting and voting for a candidate. These principles include support for Transparency, Fiscal Management, Planning, Assessment, Continuous Learning, and Collaboration

An “Independent Voter” is an individual that votes for the best candidate regardless of any political party affiliation.The criteria for the “best” representative is someone that can lead change that results in everyone benefitting or at least, not being any worse off.

The site also identifies an Example of a County Decision-Making Process that if applied, could help prevent issues and lead to better decisions and results.

CITIZEN OVERSIGHT of Government Operations. The State Board of Accounts provides audits and reviews of government operations.

In addition to Brown County Matters, the  League of Women Voters of Brown County also supports oversight.  The local league has a New category of membership referred to as “Friends of LWVBC.” This category was created for those that support county initiatives but are opposed to one or more positions taken by the national headquarters.

In 2017, local league published their Fiscal Management Study of the County that includes  “positions” that support improved fiscal management.   The next step will be to provide a strategy to monitor and assess the results of improvement efforts.

County Council Meeting – June 18, 2018

Meeting notes – Tim J. Clark

Context:  Summary of the County’s Economic (Debt and Taxes) Situation June 4 DLZ Commissioner and Council Joint Meeting

“2 Minute Limit”  President of the council limited citizen input and questions to 2 minutes only.  It was an unnecessary limitation and a subtle abuse of power.  Lack of transparency, due diligence, and planning lead to questions and concerns. Effective leadership and planning builds trust and would help lead to action that results in everyone benefitting or at least, not being any worse off.

The solution?  Comprehensive planning to identify what citizens want and do not want in terms of economic and community development.  This leads to trust and a consensus regarding the change that is supported by the citizenry.

The status quo? A few people along with adhoc project teams, dominate decision-making in the county.   The desire to maintain power is among the reason for the historical and cultural resistance to any kind of strategic and comprehensive planning.  Some examples of consequences?

A way ahead?  Vote for positive change in 2018 and 2020.  I suggest a non-partisan platform and principles at Independent Voters of Brown County IN.  If you have suggestions for improvements to the platform, let me know.

 MEETING MINUTES

2 Million Dollar Increase in Debt.

Council approved borrowing 2 million vs 3 and opted for “paying it off” in 3 years vs. 2. This adds another $1.00 on a home valued at 100,000 vs $6.00. On a $300,000 home, the tax increase would be $3.58 vs $30.00.  The additional interest charge on a 3 years loan vs 2 is $34,000.

This decision “not” to borrow the extra 1 million was supported or recommended by the county’s financial advisors (Umbaugh and Associates) because there was no specific plan for how the money would be spent and when.  Previous speculation was that the 1 million would be related to the courthouse project.  There should be a “plan” for any money that is borrowed to include the identification of the need.

The initial reasoning for borrowing the extra 1 million was to take advantage of low-interest rates and avoid paying approximately 50K in fees for borrowing 1 million (if ever needed). The 50K seems excessive but it was confirmed that these fees were normal.

Also, if the intent of the council is to always “renew” a 2 million or more loan to fund projects, this should be identified in their financial strategy and plans.

Transfer of Funds to the Regional Sewer District (RSD) Board

The Council approved the transfer of funds of $270K to the RSD Board. Councilman Dave Critser identified how the money would be spent.

Curious — how much money has been spent over the past 16 plus years on this project?  How many plans have been developed?  What have been the barriers?  Why is this time different?  Why wouldn’t these questions be discussed prior to providing the $270K?

The President of the RSD stated that they signed an agreement with the Town regarding territories at their last meeting.  This statement was disputed.  The agreement was subject to a review by Barnes and Thornburg. Barnes and Thornburg reviewed the agreement (do not know when) and made minor changes.

It appears the council did not review the agreement prior to the approval by the RSD Board and Town.   The town manager – Scott Rudd was asked about their past policy of linking annexation to sewer service and both he and Commissioner Biddle stated that the rules governing annexations are stricter now than in the past and that the town has no interest in annexing unless it was requested by residents of the affected areas.

RSD Board Appointment

The council appoints 3 members to the sewer board and the commissioners appoint 2.

The council did appoint a new member to the RSD board – Clint Studebaker who is a retired environmental engineer with experience in wastewater treatment plants.  He may be a  good addition to the RSD Board.

I suggested that the council have the county attorneys review the statutes that govern the RSD board so that our elected representatives are aware of what the sewer boards (county, town, Helmsburg, Gnaw Bone) can and cannot do.  For instance, can these boards charge residents for services not provided to subsidize their budgets and spending?

The previous president of the RSD stated that the Board had the power to sign agreements and contracts without needing council or commissioner approval.  Since these people are appointed by the commissioners and council, then wouldn’t it be prudent prior to any appointments, for our elected representative to identify their requirements and expectations for their respective appointees?

You can delegate authority but not the responsibility. Along with the Commissioners and Council, all appointees to any Board or  Commission should have a basic awareness and understanding of the statutes that govern their actions.

Compelling need and plan?

Three members of the previous RSD Board resigned stating they had no support for identifying the need for sewers.  Article – Brown County Democrat – Majority of sewer board members resign, 5/17/2017. To quote:

  •  “ President Evan Werling, Secretary Nina Leggett and Treasurer Terri Schultz all submitted their resignations after Werling gave a nearly hourlong talk on “what the truth is about what’s been going on.”  His presentation touched on a lack of documentation about the need for the sewer project, which has been in the works for more than 14 years; problems in the sewer project engineering report which a previous sewer board commissioned with county money; lack of health department cooperation in trying to obtain a “boots on the ground” survey of septic system failures in the Bean Blossom area to show sewer need; and name-calling which Leggett said she received at a health board meeting last fall.”

Why don’t “we” have a county-wide wastewater treatment plan?   Policy and actions taken in conjunction with the Bean Blossom project can have impacts on all county residents

The RSD Board will be presenting “their “Plan at their meeting on June 19. 2018 at 6:00 P.M. County Office Building.

And finally, the auditor discussed the Local Income Tax (LIT) Certified Shares – “Levy Freeze for 2018 and 2019.  I do not understand the issue.  “It appears” this can lead to an increase in income tax.   Plan on learning more.  The government seems to have their own language.

Maple Leaf Ground Breaking Celebration – July 10.  Hope the pictures turn out well.