County citizens, say ‘no’ to unit system

Published 2:05 am Saturday, September 27, 2008

As Paul Harvey would say, “And now…the rest of the story.” The people of Covington County deserve better; the answer is not changing the system but fixing the system we have. It is not selling equipment and putting all of the county’s roads, dirt and paved, bridges and right of ways under the county engineer’s control. At present, his plate is completely full.

That is your answer, Mr. Newly Elected Commissioner, to let him do your job. The size of our county will not allow the unit system to work. Why? I’m glad you asked. Well, first you say sell equipment to get millions of dollars back into your budget, then the next thing will be, let’s lay off personnel we now don’t need. Who is going to make the decision on who will be laid off? The commissioners, commission chairperson who now under the unit system is the probate judge. I bet you did not know that, either. But this will not affect the tax base or the household income of our county where we receive a large percentage of our revenue. It will not affect our unemployment rate of the county, which as of Saturday’s paper is up in Covington County.

Let’s be honest with the taxpayers; tell the whole truth, not half truths. Now that we have downsized our equipment, let’s look at cost moving what equipment we have from the north district to the southern district to accomplish the jobs. You talk about other counties; look at our size and the amount of dirt roads we have compared to other counties. We are one of the largest in the state. The unit system takes the services of the commissioners away from the people and now they will place work orders for your needs and work to be done on your roads, dirt or paved, driveways, ditches and shoulders.

Oh yes, we know how efficient paperwork gets things accomplished and the job gets done. Who takes the blame for a road that’s not passable or a pipe that will not drain, or a driveway that is washed out and you can not leave home to go to Andalusia or Opp to conduct your business or go to your job.

Don’t call your commissioner or go to your local district yard; they will no longer exist as you once knew them. Now you call your county engineer office. Now your commissioner votes on issues, he can’t help you fix them. He now becomes a hands-off commissioner. That’s the new unit system at work.

I ask, if the unit system is our saving grace, then why did Conecuh County just vote and return to the modified system as we have it? Maybe the unit system did to them the very things I’ve stated. I think so. Well, truthfully, I know so.

Commissioners, here are some simple suggestions. Budget spending, write checks on what you have, not what you project you will have. Spend for the present, plan for the future; we cannot borrow ourselves out of debt. The county is not a business; you must balance the budget and spend what you have. And stop borrowing from Peter to pay Paul. Stop overspending on useless items, use good sound judgment. Listen and vote with the interest of all the people of Covington County at hard, and not special interest groups and people who want to control and present things in half truths.

Listen to the people — no unit system!

Larry Turman

Red Level

Editor’s note: In the example of Elmore County used in The Star News’s recent articles about the unit system, no county employee lost his or her job in the transition to the unit system.