Cooperation is key for progress

Published 12:34 pm Thursday, March 16, 2023

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At a recent Lowndes County Commission meeting, among other business, a plan to move forward with much-needed roadwork projects and a possible budgetary shortfall created by delinquent taxes owed by SABIC in Burkeville was discussed.

County Engineer David Butts presented commissioners with an estimate for road repair costs, a project already approved by commissioners. While some commissioners and citizens raised concerns over repair costs, others noted how long residents had waited for the improvements to be completed.

Intertwined with approving the expenditures is the looming possibility of a $2.8 budgetary shortfall, which would occur if the county is unable to collect taxes owed by SABIC, taxes which became delinquent at the end of 2022.

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Discussions came nearly to the point of being considered heated during the meeting, which sent the message that  all parties were not working toward common goals.

It is clear, to those acquainted with Lowndes County, its officials, business leaders, and residents, that all parties are working toward the same common goal – the good of the people.

Each one, in their own way, is working to make change for the better.

Around the streets of Hayneville, visitors can overhear conversations. From the perspective of some citizens, weary of feeling that needed change never comes, it can seem as if no one is working to address the wide gaps such as unrepaired roads, inadequate healthcare, stagnated economic growth, a declining population, and unusually low life expectancy.

And yet, there is movement.

The Alabama Department of Economic and Community Affairs (ADECA) is in the process of hosting broadband meetings in every Alabama county, with the purpose of assessing the needs and learning about initiatives already working to bring stable, affordable internet to every household.

Lowndes County held the second such meeting with 11 residents in attendance. This sounds like a low number, until one learns that Montgomery hosted the first meeting, with only six citizens coming to the table. And, in Butler County, the March 7 public session was canceled because no citizens cared enough to show up.

Lowndes County residents have needs, needs which must be addressed. But take heart. There is movement. People do care and are working to affect long and lasting change.

Cooperation is essential to progress. Elected officials, community organizations, and neighborhoods, must cooperate amongst themselves and within communities, before progress can be made.

We must have open conversations, amicably, to discover challenges and develop solutions. Let us not become shortsighted and thus delay the progress we so long for.