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Editorial: Focus on the basics

Perhaps our Board of County Commissioners knew exactly what it was doing Tuesday when it adopted the budget for the coming fiscal year, then immediately created a $500,000 shortfall by not voting to increase the water and sewer rates as was included in that budget.

More likely, the misstep is just the latest illustration of the struggles the commissioners have had trying to complete the basic tasks of their job as they focus their priorities instead on issues of little or no meaning to the county.

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The lack of focus on basic infrastructure needs has been a common complaint against this board. Cuts to staffing and services, neglect of basic repairs and maintenance and other issues have raised community concerns throughout their term. Meanwhile, they have wasted time and money on such meaningless issues as putting on a summit for climate change deniers, even as shore properties in our own state are seeing the impact of rising water; passing a resolution declaring English as our official language, even though we still have to abide by state and federal laws concerning accommodations for non-English speaking residents and visitors; passing a resolution saying they oppose new gun laws, even though we still have to abide by state and federal gun regulations whether they like them or not; and fighting in court for their personal right to ignore the religious diversity in our community by opening their meetings with prayers aimed at one religion, essentially advocating a theocracy in Carroll, even as they wrap themselves in the Constitution, a document that guarantees the rights of everyone, not just a select few.

The board's latest action, like other missteps throughout their term, have left staff scrambling to try and figure out how to fix the mistake. Tom Rio, the county's department of public works administrator, said he didn't think the commissioners understood the repercussions of not having money to pay for maintenance and improvement of the water and sewer system.

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Perhaps they are aware, and just aren't saying what their intentions are. That wouldn't be a surprise. Secrecy, after all, and violations of the state's Open Meetings Act, have also been hallmarks of this board.

More likely, though, it is just another example of how, even after almost four years, this board still cannot grasp the basic functions of its job.

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