COLUMN: Be a part of something big

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By Shannon Brock

Have you ever felt like you were witnessing something big? That suddenly, even if in a small way, you were a part of something that was about to make a difference?
I had that feeling last week, and I hope many of you did, too, or will soon enough.
I had just walked outside the Taylorsville City Commission meeting, where, in almost a moment’s notice, a state senator and a representative from our congressman’s office had shown up to take part in the discussion about Taylorsville’s levee.
The levee commission was on the meeting agenda to speak and delivered its message to the second governing body in two days.
I can’t point out what exactly led to the feeling, but a loud, overbearing thought entered my mind: “I’m a part of something big.”
Granted, my part is to observe and spread the word, but I still have a part.
City and county residents, alike, we’re at a crossroads.
There are two ways this levee situation can shake out, and either one of them will mean big things — whether positive or negative — for this community.
Let’s look at option No. 1: We continue operating in the same fashion as we have the past five years. Nothing gets done, and when this new round of FEMA maps comes out, we’re not on it. And by not on it, I mean we are a flood zone — unprotected by our levee, not because it’s in bad shape, but because we failed to get it accredited.
Anyone with a mortgage is required to buy costly flood insurance. Property values go down. Economic development slows to a stop. No one is moving in, and everyone is in a rush to move out.
Most likely, because property values go down, our local taxing authorities begin to collect less money, but they can’t operate on less money, so taxes go up.
Faster than you can say, “I wish we’d gotten this accreditation,” Taylorsville will dry up.
But what if that doesn’t happen? What if, by some miracle, we find ourselves living out option No. 2: Over the course of the next few weeks, the levee commission, county and city realize the importance of the issue at hand. They band together and acquire the funding needed, most likely in loan form, to hire a firm to begin the accreditation inspection. Whatever deficiencies are found in the inspection are quickly remedied and FEMA — before it issues a new map — accredits our levee. And we live happily ever after.
It almost sounds like a fairytale, doesn’t it? And that’s what scares me.
Even fairytales have villains, and in this case, approaching an election year, all we can hope is that the villain of politics doesn’t rear its ugly head any more than it has to.
Let’s strive for option No. 2, even if it seems too good to be true.
Let’s attend public meetings and gather our information. Let’s pitch in with whatever skills we have, save this levee and save this community.
I’m a part of something big, and I’m inviting you to join me.