Here is Madison County’s government year in review:
1. One of 2013 council’s first agenda: Lisa Hobbs, Robin Wagner, John Bostic and Lisa Phillips vote to change start time of meetings from 7 p.m. to 5 p.m.
a: Convenient for council. b: By design, limits citizen attendance. c: Less transparency, no accountability.
2. Call back/rehire employees
3. Will not allow discussion to change start time back to 7 p.m.
a: Council mindset seems to be, we are in charge, it’s “we the government” not, “We the people.”
4. Announce coming vote to reinstate wheel tax.
a: Will allow $ 1.5 million earmarked for roads, part of a balanced budget by 2012 council, to be used for political wish list.
b: Commissioners office manager and sheriff deputy inform me, 76-year-old man, I cannot pass out leaflets opposing wheel tax on the Government Center square and I must go across the street.
c: After ACLU informs and reminds Madison County lawyer of First Amendments rights, I receive a letter stating I would not be arrested distributing the leaflets on Government Center square.
5. Lisa Hobbs, Robin Wagner, John Bostic and Lisa Phillips vote to reinstate wheel tax. David McCartney, Rick Gardner and Buddy Patterson vote against.
a: A tax increase, despite many citizens’ expressed opposition, signed petitions, and an estimated 40 percent of citizens being part time, no benefits, earn less then $18,000/yr, and 50 percent of a senior citizen community income less then $16,000 a year.
6. Starts so-called budget negations.
a: What I saw and heard.
b: Department head presents his/her budget
c: John Bostic “we are giving employees a 3 percent raise and request to cut your budget 10 percent.”
d: My thoughts; this is great, a much deserved raise and paying for it with budgets cuts.
e: Next department head’s reply to budget cut request, “I am giving a true budget, we need the money.”