Some hard choices ahead

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By Ralph Damiani

The council is faced with two very important decisions right now. We think they are acting properly in regards to one but we have some serious questions about the other.

When County Administrator Max Baker announced his decision to retire, we thought we were told that there would be an honest, open process. And while it is still early, we are still waiting for that process.

All we have gotten is a closed meeting. And the legality of that is questionable – unless the council is talking about specific candidates they cannot close a meeting to discuss the position.

And since we have not seen any advertisement or announcements of application deadlines, we wonder how they can be talking about candidates.

Again, they cannot discuss the job in general terms in a closed-door session.

So we hope the promised openness is coming soon.

While we hate to bring up the previous county administrator, we hope this council has learned from the mistakes that council made in that hire.

We hope.

The second item is Trinity Place. While we believe – and have stated many times – that the county was not being honest with us about the status of the project, we hope that that deception is behind us.

Their stated purpose and recent efforts to gather public input is a very good step forward. We hope they listen.

What scares us is that the council seems to be seeking input on three possible scenarios – all regarding retail ventures for the site.

That would be a major mistake.

All possible options should be on the table. Everything from building some kind of educational facility, to a business venture site, to – yes – even putting the municipal site complex there should be considered.

We need real solutions, not hanging on to out-dated ideas that died years ago.

As sweet as the dream was, the Boyer concept is dead. Malls and the like are dying all over the country. There will not be one here.

But if you want more shopping, hopefully you will get it. It is important to note that Smith’s bought Mari-Mac. And we do not think they bought it to help out the previous owners.

There is our shopping. The county needs to move on.

No, the land where Trinity was to go is a critical piece of property for our future. If it is not developed properly we will all suffer.

We urge the council to take a hard look at all options and to continue to have an open and public process on this – and in all county matters.

If not, then we will all be the losers.