Changes will help county

Published 11:59 pm Friday, May 22, 2009

After six months in office and completion of my mandatory school, I have found out that political life moves a lot slower than the public sector. During this first half of our financial year, I find that we have been spending more money in the past years than we have been taking in. Our debt has increased $6 million in the past eight years.

We cannot continue on the same course that we have been on and that is why we must make the changes we have. I’ve always said that you do not need to make changes just for the sake of changing things, but when everything is going in the wrong direction, you had better change your direction.

All the decisions we have made are not necessarily popular, but we will never be able to make decisions that will make everybody happy. Positive changes which I think we have made are:

consolidating all county SouthernLinc services for a savings of approximately $5,000 per year.

Changing the rental fees for the USD office, which increased our revenue by $7,500 per year.

Started charging the water authority $900 per month for rent and utilities.

Canceling our contract for road department employees’ uniforms, a $15,300 savings.

Negotiating to eliminate our easement and operation at Point A Park, a potential $82,927 per year savings.

The arena is still one area we are trying to make the right decision. First, we are looking at leasing the arena to someone that would honor all of our bookings, or making changes in the operation of the arena by adding an independent board that would help evaluate the day-to-day operations and bring suggestions back to the commissioners. Another recent decision to split the E911 and EMA positions was made to save the county $16,000 to $24,000 per year.

Our biggest decision we have made is changing our county from the district system to the unit system which would save the county at least a quarter-million dollars the first year. Remember, the district system has lost $565,513.78 in the last six years.

Our entire staff at the county office continues to work hard and provide us with all the information needed to move our county forward. Our outside crew continues their hard work, never knowing how these changes will affect them. Please try to give them an encouraging word when you see them.

If we will apply ourselves and the people will join in and help us make the right decisions, we can move our county forward.

I take my position as county commissioners seriously and promise to be honest and work for Covington County to the best of my ability. Please feel free to call or contact me at any time.

David Ellis is a member of the Covington County Commission. He lives in Opp.