In reference to some recent reporting concerning a possible future and current Council member, I would like inform the citizens of Chipley of a just a few problems with the current Council.
• They're not prepared for the meetings
• They have very little discussion on important issues
• They vote in the direction that the City Administrator wants
• They hide behind the bench and defer most questions to the City Administrator
The current grant for running the utilities south of the interstate was secured through the previous Council, but the current Council is taking credit for it. What they are not focusing on is the failing infrastructure, for which there are grants, the future of downtown, which is crumbling, and the current low morale of the employees.
Dawn Veit schooled the Council in available grants at last month's meeting, and not one member even acknowledged that the City is missing out on grant funding. A good Grant writer could pay for his/her salary 10 fold in a year.
Instead of giving land to the Dollar General, giving highly inflated prices for 3 acres of land to a church of which a Council member and Administrator are members (ethics violations?), and paying $8.63/hr for entry level jobs in Public Works, the Council needs to focus on current problems, then look to the future to prevent problems.
They need pay their employees more, and provide for more police, so that we have more than one officer on duty on a Saturday morning when a woman was attacked while walking in our downtown neighborhood.
They need to identify Code Enforcement violations and vigorously work Code Enforcement Codes to clean up the City so that property values will increase. They need to keep our Volunteer Fire Department safe and in good working order with Grants available for equipment.
The City is a business and should be run like one. Our City has one of the highest tax rates around, but yet the Council chooses to shoot off more than $20,000 in fireworks over a two year period instead of increasing the salaries of the current hard working employees. Public Works has been a revolving door over the past couple of years, and not one Council member has questioned why the starting salary is $8.63/hr.
The citizens of Chipley have a chance to start a change this next Tuesday. Get out and vote, get involved in the meetings, and hold the Council accountable for their actions and inactions.
Cheryl Gainer McCall
Former Council Member and Mayor Pro Tem