Mark Marcoplos's blog
I am running for Orange County Commissioner in the Democratic primary for an at-large seat. My decades of experience with county issues, my forty-plus years living in Orange County beginning in 1971 when I came to attend UNC, and my service on key county boards and OWASA have prepared me to represent the diverse communities that share our county
In an unusual move, the county commissioners have invited comment on 2016 bond referendum—even though it’s not on the agenda.
Local governments across the state and country are struggling to meet basic needs in this era of tax breaks for the wealthy and austerity for the rest of us.
Here in Orange County, we have a variety of pressing needs from overdue school maintenance to the burgeoning senior population to general poverty and housing affordability. In response, the County Commissioners decided to put a bond referendum on the ballot in 2016.
In the discussions leading up to that decision, the needs of the school systems were justifiably a consensus priority since it would be foolish to forego needed maintenance on the school systems’ infrastructure. Yet, while most of the commissioners had also expressed support for other issues - most prominently affordable housing – they surprisingly voted with little public input to dedicate the bond solely to schools.
The issue of affordable housing is receiving more attention than at any time in recent history. We have a huge identified need. We have affordable housing providers who have a proven track record of delivering successful projects. The major missing ingredient is funds.
Last week I wanted to know what happened at a previous Orange County Commissioner meeting. When I went to the county web-site to read the minutes, the most recent minutes available were from almost two months ago.
I understand that county staff people may be over-burdened and that budgetary concerns have resulted in less staff than we used to have. However, it is essential for effective governance that citizens have timely access to the minutes of meetings.
So I decided to find out how we stacked up. In order of timeliness, here are the winners (municipalities selected more or less randomly).
If we truly believe that citizen involvement is a high priority, our county officials should demand that we have access to the minutes within two weeks of a meeting.
A side note – when I casually googled Forsyth County, I came up with Forsyth County, Georgia and their last available minutes are from 6/10/2014.
recycling issue has been under consideration by the commissioners for a full
year now. We are no closer to a clear resolution than we were last April.
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