June 24, 2016

Guest Column: Not all government is non-functional


By JACK SHEA

Much has been put forth in the media citing polls that Americans believe that our government in Washington, D.C., is non-functional.  Confidence in Congress is near the bottom of the scale.  This has been true for both Democrat and Republican majorities in Congress.

It appears that the majority of our people believe that those elected have not fulfilled the hopes and aspirations of the voters. Our government should work together and respond to their needs and to the promises made by the candidates.

Unlike on the national scene, here in Dare County, your Board of Commissioners has, to date, put forth many actions which will lead to positive results. These have resulted because the board members elected by both political parties have been working well together.

The following is a partial listing of the accomplishments to date:

  • This board held the first ever Town Hall meeting.  These were held to learn what our citizens considered important to them. The board responded to each and in most cases, took appropriate actions.
  • This board invited the public to attend the budget workshop as part of the promised openness and accountability.
  • This board took a strong united stand against those in Raleigh who wanted to take the sales tax funds from tourist revenue and distribute it throughout the state. This was despite the fact that much of this revenue was the result of monies spent locally to attract tourists to our area and provide the services to sustain tourism. This threat would have devastated our local economy.
  • This Board initiated and agreed to fund a creative program for proactive dredging of Oregon and Hatteras inlets together with state and federal partners. These inlets are a vital economic channel for both local and regional interests.  A funding source was created for this dredging.
  • This board formed a Consolidation Committee consisting of elected officials and staff from the county and the six municipalities. This committee was created to explore possible ways to work together and save taxpayers money.
  • This board approved an economic diversification strategic plan for Dare County in concert with N.C. State University’s Office of Outreach and Engagement. This program will not only include diversification but will also involve optimizing the existing pillars of our economy namely tourism, fishing and construction.
  • This board, working with the Board of Education, provided an additional $400,000 for teachers salaries.
  • During this board’s tenure to date, money has been put back into the general fund and our deficit in the insurance fund and our bond rating by major rating organizations has been increased from AA to AA+.  This improvement in our rating will lower the interest cost for future issued bonds. These accomplishments have been achieved without cutting services or raising County taxes.

In summary, an objective individual reviewing the above listing of what this board has accomplished to date would have little doubt that this elected board has functioned well.

(Jack Shea is a Dare County commissioner.)


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