A better place to live and work

Published 5:32 pm Thursday, July 19, 2018

I was told that the salary for the Mayor of West Point was not even enough to pay for his job related expenses. It leads me to wonder why would anybody seek this position?  You would have to incur much inconvenience, the ire of some of the voters, settle petty claims against the city and staff and have to listen to citizens’ ridiculous complaints.

As an example, speaking of complaints, some of the West Point citizens object to the length of time to wait for the train to clear the tracks downtown. They insist that the train should be restricted to 50 railcars rather than the 150 that are normally in tow. That way the waiting time will be reduced. This seems ridiculous as the total time needed to clear the tracks would be nearly the same.  And cities have no control of the operation of the railroad as CSX owns the right-of- way.

In LaFayette, the Mayor and Council have considered extending a road through the cemetery for access to the new city park. The current public access road runs through a neighborhood of homes and the residents object to the traffic. They have a point as the road is narrow with no turn around room when the park is closed. Regardless of the decision, there is no way to please all of the voters. You can bet that half of them will be dissatisfied. 

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So I got NOSY and checked with the local town halls to find out what the tax payers pay the elected officials. The annual salaries are as follows—

› West Point: Mayor, $5,100; City Council, $3,000

› Lanett: Mayor, $4,200; City Council, $2,400

› LaFayette: Mayor, $10,620; City Council, $7,620

› Valley: Mayor, $12,000; City Council, $9,600

Recently an unnamed source opened a Facebook page entitled VALLEY. This person/s made jokes about the city officials and criticized the City for not mowing the grass along Highway 29, among other issues. One of the complaints was that the river was filthy. As most of the waste in the Chattahoochee comes from upstream cities such as Atlanta, it confounds me that Valley officials are responsible for the alleged waste in the river.

Every day I hear complaints about the remnants of the Old Lanett Cotton Mill.  Admittedly it is an eye sore and has been that way for the past 10 Years plus. It is private property owned by Roy Grainger who purchased the property by bid. Due to changes in market, Roy has been delayed in disposing of the salvage materials such as the heart pine and land bricks as well. Again, the Lanett electorate must listen to all the complaints although they have no authority over the site.

To me to serve as one these local elected officials is not worth the pay. It is one thing to serve a term, but when the term is expired, the candidate has to go through all of the election process again.  I remember in the last Mayor election in West Point, the candidates spent a boatload of money on advertising and sponsoring events.

When you figure in the time spent in these capacities and consider the headaches these positions entail, it seems that elected officials are truly seeking to serve their community rather than to try and pad their wallets and pocketbooks.  And that is not even considering the personal money and time spent in seeking election and re-election!  Local elected officials in small towns are truly public servants, striving to make our communities a better place to live and work.  Let us ponder and see how we can do the same.  Just complaining won’t solve any problems.