Are you listening to us?
Published 12:15 pm Friday, May 6, 2016
Following are the comments I delivered during the public comment period at the Charlotte County Board of Supervisors budget meeting held on April 19. If you would like copies of supporting documents, email me and I will get them to you.
I don’t believe the supervisors listen to what I have to say. If you agree with these remarks, please contact your supervisor, come to a meeting and make yourself heard. These are your tax dollars!
“What stirred me into action a few months ago in how business was conducted was Terry Ramsey’s article (‘A back room lunch with the supervisors’) on supervisors having lunch, at the taxpayers’ expense, and the appearance that county business was being conducted out of the public’s view.
A fine, respected citizen, Mrs. Ludy Collie, wrote articles and came to speak to you about this also. Did you listen? No, you have once again budgeted $1,500 for your meeting meals in the coming year’s budget.
But you are appropriating much more for eating, hidden under ‘Travel and Education’ expenses. The budget for those accounts is as follows: $8,500 for board of supervisors and $5,500 for county administrator’s office.
Let me give you just three examples of ‘Travel and Education’ expenditures in November and December.
On Dec. 15 at 7:39 p.m., three people ate steak at Bistro’s in Lynchburg to the tune of $86.91 and gave a $25 tip, totaling $111.91.
On Nov. 17 $400 was spent on barbecue for 20 people. I fought through a series of emails for more information on who attended and, at best, I have a vague answer.
In November, three supervisors attended a conference at the Homestead Resort to the tune of $287.73 per person for each night they were there.
These are only three examples. Much more was spent in these months as well as every other month. But with these three examples in mind, I reread the minutes to find out what knowledge was gained from these expenditures. How did these expenditures help us Charlotte County citizens? No information, if it exists, is in the minutes.
So, to the citizens gathered here tonight I say this: Do you think this is correct? I think your children and grandchildren are being robbed. Your children and grandchildren will pay for the misspending and mismanagement of these supervisors. The supervisors get $500 a month salary, full health, dental, vision and life insurance, travel expenses and eat well. Meanwhile, those precious children sit in crumbling schools.
To the board of supervisors, I say, this is enough. Mr. (Royal) Freeman is new to this board. To you, I say, please speak up and make yourself heard if you disagree with what is happening. Thank you to Mr. Garland Hamlett — you are the only one I have heard question any spending. By the way, I want to inform the citizens that Mr. Freeman and Mr. Garland Hamlett are the only supervisors not joining in eating lunches at the taxpayers’ expense.
To the rest of the supervisors and Mr. (R.B.) Clark, I say: Shame on you!”
Kay Pierantoni is a guest columnist and a Wylliesburg resident. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.