Towns sets good example in SelmontPublished 9:33pm Wednesday, July 30, 2014
With every purchase in Dallas County, shoppers are supporting local government through established taxes.
In most cases, elected officials seem to be good stewards of taxpayer money, investing in worthwhile projects and ventures. Other times, it only takes collaboration to make significant change.
County commissioner Connel Towns is spending taxpayer money in some instances — fixing various problems with Old Montgomery Highway and paving a strip of road on Craig Field. Both are worthwhile projects and seem to have community support.
But in one, more important instance, Towns is working for his constituents without spending a dime.
Selmont’s quasi town council — officially named the Concerned Citizens Council — will meet for the first time Thursday.
Issues discussed will likely be the same as usual, trash, crime and perhaps a few points about Old Montgomery Highway.
Discussion is vital to improving a community. Though, Selmont, and every other city in America, doesn’t need an elected official to facilitate discussion.
The value of Towns’ work is that he actively pushed for the most prominent local, elected officials to attend the meetings and answer his constituents’ questions.
Another important fact is that the residents aren’t well-to-do and aloof from common problems. Rather than appointing a few notable local residents, Towns simply asked for anyone interested to sign a piece of paper. In the case of the Selmont council, it’s normal residents — retired, middle-class and lower-class — that will facilitate discussion.
It’s unclear what might come out of the council’s discussions, but at least Dallas County government has acknowledged a go-to group to gauge public opinion in Selmont. When the Concerned Citizens Council meets Thursday for its first, official time, it should be the beginning of a continuous, fruitful collaboration between local residents and elected officials.
From previous meetings, it seems the council will report pressing problems in the Selmont area to Towns. Towns, in turn, plans to take the residents’ concerns and present them to the commission and perhaps Selma City Council.
Local government officials may rub elbows with U.S. legislators and the governor to secure money, but an average person will likely be able to find common sense solutions for problems. Selmont consists of more than 2,000 people — sizeable for one concentratied area in Dallas County — but no population is too small, when considering needs of taxpayers.
Towns isn’t the only elected official — county or city — to set up a group of constituents. Though, others should use the Selmont formula.
— finding average residents, without bias to age, sex, gender, race or income, to continuously discuss important issues — as an model for ensuring that constituents needs are being met.