COMMENTARY: Fake crisis, real problems

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I received a few text messages and emails yesterday informing me new District 2 commissioner Corey Davenport was criticizing me on a local Facebook blog.

I don't read the propaganda machine for the Cannon County Republican Party and now, it appears, county government as well, but if what I am doing is causing Mr. Davenport to blow a gasket, then I know I must be doing a great job. Mr. Davenport has always been quick to denigrate, bully and try and intimidate those who don't walk in lockstep with him on issues.

That said, criticism goes with the job and we are all entitled to view things as we see them, so I'll just keeping expressing my thoughts. With respect to the county's solid waste situation, here's some more:

• If you're operating a full service gas station and suddenly switch over to self service, you're ripping off your customers if you keep charging them full services prices.

• There was not a mechanical crisis at the Cannon County Convenience Center on Sept. 1 which warranted the closing of the transfer station. The compactor could have been fixed and operations could have continued as they had been.

• There is not a fiscal crisis within the budget for Cannon County Solid Waste operations which warranted turning the convenience center into an inconvenience center for thousands of citizens and businesses overnight.

• It was an open secret around this county for a year or more that if those who were among the most vocal critics of the way the previous administration handled solid waste took over county government, they would downgrade the facility, cease serving as a transfer station for Town of Woodbury trucks and independent contractors who are paid to pick up trash in other districts, and would let go of the people working there and replace them with inmate labor.

• Change is inevitable and is often good, but punishing and inconveniencing people who just want their government to do what it promised them is not. The Cannon County Board of Commissioners passed a budget in August which funded Solid Waste through June 30 of next year with enough money to provide the services which were in place at that time.

• If not illegal, it is morally wrong for a government to change course on those it represents in mid-stream. When the budget was passed in August, county property tax payers who fund the Solid Waste operation were not informed the convenience center would stop accepting commercial trash. Homeowners, mainly in Woodbury but in other districts as well, were not told the only way the county would pay the cost of having their trash taken to the landfill and deposited there was if they it took the convenience center themselves.

• Now that changes have been forced upon them without letting them know what was going to happen in advance, those businesses and residents who are paying county property taxes through June 30 of next year will have to find other solutions for the removal of their garbage. During that time most of them will end up paying twice for the same service. Most will also pay more.

• Some who are not impacted by the changes will say that's just too bad, elections have consequences. They aren't fazed one bit by stiffing their fellow citizens as long as they get their way. The elderly and disabled, who have a hard enough time just getting their trash out to the curb, can just suck it up and haul it to the convenience center themselves if they don't want to pay more money.

• Thousands of people in Cannon County have their trash picked up for them each week. If that stops and people start taking their trash to the convenience center, the traffic in and out of Alexander Drive will increase by 200 to 400 cars, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., five days a week. I think that might create a real crisis.

• I told Woodbury vice-mayor Faye Northcutt Knox and County Executive Brent Bush last week when this long-planned, manufactured solid waste "crisis" came to a head, that the town should study its solid waste options, the county theirs, and move forward doing what it in the best interest of each. However, if they can help each other out, all the better.

• There will be a Solid Waste Workshop on Friday, September 28, 2018 at the Cannon County Senior Center at 11:30 a.m. It is my understanding both county and town officials will be participating. It's a great idea. It would have been nice to have had this workshop before the drastic measures were put into place at the convenience center, and before people were taxed for a service they won't receive.

But, even though the problems are very real, I guess this fake crisis was just too convenient for the Cannon County GOP to let, well, go to waste.

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