Recently, the Carroll County Times ran one article and one editorial questioning legal expenses incurred by the board of commissioners for several issues. My comments address two of the issues: outside legal payments for opening prayers and the incinerator, a.k.a. waste to energy.
The headline for the article at bottom of the front page on Sept. 1 read "Nearly $180,000 paid for commissioners' legal battles." You have to read all the way to the last paragraph on page A8 to find out that the legal fees reduced the exit cost for getting out of the incinerator project from $3 million to $1 million. It seems to me the headline should have read "County saves millions in exiting costly incinerator contract." However, the Times may not have been aware that had the county stayed in the contract, county taxpayers would have paid approximately $100 million more over the 30-year contract to incinerate trash. Also, the county landfill would have been depleted faster because the residual ash would have been buried there. Sometimes spending a little saves a lot.
On Sept. 3, the Times editorial "Scrutinize legal expenses" complained that the "jury is split on whether it was an effective use of taxpayer dollars to push for the right to ignore our religious diversity and open their meetings only with Christian prayers."
Let's look at what the Times left out. The lawsuit was brought by a person claiming to be a Catholic and another person who is on the Democratic Central Committee. Neither of these individuals attend board meetings on a regular basis. These two people precipitated the lawsuit as they sued to prevent our commissioners from praying to the God they worship. The board defended itself in court but was forced, initially, by court order to suspend praying to Jesus Christ. The federal judge issued an injunction, even though there was a case in the Supreme Court dealing with this very subject. To the judge's credit, he removed his injunction after the Supreme Court ruled in favor of allowing government officials to pray to any deity, including Jesus Christ.
Our commissioners pray for God to bless the decisions they make on behalf of the county taxpayers. Our Constitution provides that right. In my opinion, the board took proper legal action concerning the prayer lawsuit and exiting the incinerator project.