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LETTER: 'Appaled' at local government

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After moving to Taylorsville less than three years ago, I have had my eyes opened wide to the way our local government operates. Like many of you, I was not an active participant in politics, short of browsing The Courier Journal to see where each candidate stood on the issues so that I could make a somewhat-informed choice on election day.
However, since moving here, it has become very clear to me how important it is to know who our officials are and to know where they really stand on the issues. I’m not just talking about campaign speeches. I’m talking about watching them at work and seeing how they vote on issues that affect all of us.
After attending a few meetings, both at Planning and Zoning and at City Hall, I have been appalled at the lack of informed decisions that these representatives are making and, worse, the decisions they are making with full knowledge, that represent their own agendas, without consideration of the voters who put them in office and what is in the best interest of their city.
Let me give you some recent examples. Within six months of moving to Old South Plantation, my neighbors and I were informed that our developer, Anthony Travis, was planning to build government-subsidized, low-income housing in our neighborhood. Several of our surrounding neighbors and candidates for the upcoming election showed up at a street meeting to support opposition to this project. We didn’t know it had already been in the works for two years. We were not able to stop the first development. However, I did take note of the candidates who showed up at the street meeting to support us and voted for a couple of them. I have had no regrets about that decision for reasons I will disclose shortly.
A year ago, we were notified that Mr. Travis was petitioning to get a letter of support from the City of Taylorsville in order to expand the low-income housing development. Since zoning laws had changed, the letter was vital to the outcome of his project. Because of the outcry from the citizens of Taylorsville, the letter of support was not issued.
Fast forward to May 18, when I received a call informing me that a Fiscal Court meeting scheduled for May 21 would determine if Spencer County would pass a retro-zoning proposal (which could allow Mr. Travis to build his government-subsidized housing without our approval).
The preliminary vote had been 5-1, with Bill Karrer being the only one opposed. I contacted as many neighbors as possible and asked that they call our magistrate, Mike Moody, to voice their thoughts and concerns. The final vote was 3-3, which made the issue, in that venue, “dead in the water.” Hobert Judd challenged Mike at the meeting concerning his change of vote. Mike told Mr. Judd that his constituents didn’t want it. He also reminded Mr. Judd that those needing the zoning could go through other channels to get their individual requests addressed.
Bill Karrer and Mike Moody are two of our representatives that supported us at our street meeting two years ago. I voted for both of them and am glad that I did. The other magistrate that supported us with his vote was Woodie Cheek. (Editor’s note: Cheek since changed his mind and another vote was taken The measure passed 4-2.)
On June 5, our elected commissioners were to vote on the retro-zoning proposal. Mr. Travis spoke at the meeting and reiterated his desire to build more low-income housing but said he couldn’t do so without the support of Mayor Don Pay and Judge Bill Karrer, who both opposed his request for letter of support and the retro-zoning proposal. Many of us called our commissioners to voice our opposition to the retro-zoning. I personally spoke with one commissioner who assured me support. However, when the vote was taken, the commission voted for the “retro-zoning.” The only one opposed (other than Mayor Pay, who was out of town due to a family illness and did not vote) was Beverly Ingram.
I, as well as many others, would love to see this city grow in a positive direction to its greatest potential. There are ways to do that without taking away the small town charm, which compelled many of us to leave larger, crime-infested cities to move here.
That said, I don’t wish for anyone to miss the point of this letter to the editor. It is to voice loudly the importance of being involved in your government processes because they affect you — if not today, likely, tomorrow.
As citizens of Taylorsville, we should not be satisfied with the status-quo and the “good-old-boys” mentality that has infilitrated our governing entities. Many of you voted for a name, rather than looking at the true character, integrity and reputation of the individuals you have put in office. Many of us have had to fight those same elected officials in order to preserve the value of our homes, our safety and our peace of mind.
This fall, we have an opportunity to make needed changes in our governing bodies.
Please take your vote seriously. One informed vote can make a significant difference. Your vote matters.
Joyce D. Nalley
Taylorsville