OPINION: So Far There Is Only Talk

KEVIN HALPERN, Courier Co-Editor

While sitting in the drive-thru lane of a local fast food restaurant recently waiting for my food, I saw Mark VanZant walk out from inside and head toward his vehicle.

It spurred one of those "that's funny" moments in me.

I found it funny, or perhaps odd, that I would see VanZant at that moment, because I had been thinking about him just a few hours earlier.

I had been pondering the many things which are often talked about doing in Cannon County, but don't seem to get done, for one reason or the other.

A few years ago VanZant walked into the Courier office and told me about the need for and his desire to have a local animal shelter. During the course of the conversation, he even stated that county commission was going to fund the building of one, they just didn't know it yet.

Well, here we are almost two years later, and it doesn't look like there will be one anytime soon.

Oh, it's not like an effort wasn't made. After being presented by VanZant with a petition containing the signatures of over 1,600 citizens, the commission formed a committee to study the matter. One was done, but that's as far as it went.

There is still no animal shelter, but based on the number of calls local law enforcement officers are dispatched to every week in regard to stray animals, the problem and need still exits.

But that's just one unresolved issue that has been discussed and debated in recent years, with little or no action taken.

•  Back last fall there was considerable uproar over the location of a rock quarry on John Bragg Hwy., across from Parsley's Market. It was brought forth that one reason a rock quarry was able to be established at that location is because the county has no land use policies or zoning ordinances.

Citizens once again went before the county commission wanting something done to address that situation. The matter was turned over to the county's planning commission. Since then the planning commission has met only a few times, and little progress is being made. It appears it will be a long time before action, if any, is taken. There will likely be more instances of businesses locating where many people don't think they should, though, in the future.

• Concern among residents of some communities about the possibility that their school may be closed brings to mind the Middle School Study. Scores of forums were held. Facts were presented on both sides of the issue. Then the idea was deferred, presumably to be brought up again at a later time. So far, that time has not come, and once again the issue is on the back-burner. However, a good portion of the populace thinks having a middle school would benefit the county in many ways.

• More recently there was talk of the county establishing a Central System of Accounting, Budgeting and Purchasing. The state's Comptroller's Office has recommended the county establish one for years. At the request of the Cannon Courier, the Comptroller, Justin Wilson, wrote a column outlining the reasons why. We ran it on the front page.

The commission discussed it at a meeting a few months back, but took no action. It is not known when, or if, it will be back on the agenda, but the County Audit Committee is doing a study.

It is good that all of these issues, and others, are talked about. That's part of the process of moving Cannon County forward. Only time will tell if action is taken on any of them.