With such a loud and vicious Presidential race, in many ways it is a pleasant change to see a gentler tone in our local County Commissioner’s race. However, the race is lacking something that could be beneficial: real, concrete plans to help the county solve problems and continue some of the success it has seen. Here are 3 questions I would like to see the candidates address and why I believe they are important:
- Being as specific as you can be, what would you like to see done with the hospital money in both the short-term and the long term?
This has been the $3 million question over the last few years in the county, along with the money that the county will be receiving in the coming years. The current commissioners seem to be dragging their feet over the issue, and are still lacking a concrete plan to move forward with the money currently in the coffers, much less the money that will be coming in. The most recent, glaring example of this is the issues surrounding the creation of a separate board to control the money. It seems that so many commissioner meetings have been rehashing the same conversations surrounding the issue, but is anything being done to cement a long-term plan for that money and the money that will continue to come in?
2. Should the 0.5% sales tax roll off? If so, do you see a need for the revenue loss to be countered?
The tax roll-off is an interesting fiscal issue for the next few years in Clinton County. The county is in good financial shape, thanks in part to the sales tax that has been in place for just over a decade. The sales tax was originally set up for five years, but has since been extended by the commissioners. The current commissioners have said that they support this roll-off, as did many candidates at the forum. The candidates should be prepared to say whether or not they would replace this revenue stream or if they believe that the county does not need to replace it.
3. What are some specific ways you would address public health in Wilmington?
This could go hand-in-hand with the question of the hospital money. Many residents of Clinton County will remember the saga of the YMCA from just a few years ago. Part of the discussion around the YMCA was the idea that Wilmington needed a community recreation center of some type as a public health necessity. Obviously, this has not happened. Some candidates for commissioner have mentioned that they believe Wilmington should build a community center, but the conversation has not gained significant traction recently on a large scale.
Obviously, another side to the public health issue in Wilmington is the apparent rise in drug-related health issues, including death by overdose. This issue has people concerned throughout the country, and many are wondering how to best address the problem. Education and availability of after school programs for youth seem to be steps in right direction, and it would be exciting for Clinton County to be seen as a progressive force towards a healthy citizenry.
There are many more important points in the election that people would like to see covered, but these are issues where commissioners could come out with more specific plans. The candidates have certainly been working on some specific points for their campaigns, but when a campaign is so localized scale, I had hoped we would her more about specifics at this point.