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Not every county project has had money problems

September 19, 2008|By Kristin Aleshire

I'd like to thank Terry Headlee for the last in a great string of "glass half empty" columns. (Aug. 31 "Track will cost you if you don't take a stand.")

Of course, I understand that when writing based on merely "reading the headlines" of the paper one edits how he could come to so many conclusions he perceived to be correct.

So that there is no confusion on this specific matter, I agreed with him that spending an additional $800,000 to bring the North High Track to NCAA standards would not have been responsible fiscal management of limited public funds, nor would it have resolved the delay in providing a useful high school track.

In the event the Board of County Commissioners had been asked by the BOE to approve this transfer, my response would have been "no."

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My difference with Headlee is that he stereotypically presents as no more complex than what any reader can get from "reading the headlines" of those stories.

I guess it was a bit much to expect him to explore the facts surrounding each project during his parting shot.

One line I particularly enjoyed was: (in) "public-private partnerships ... taxpayers wind up picking up part of the tab."

Well, duh, as the term implies, in a public-private partnership, the public picks up part of the tab.

It must have been tough to Google headlines on the ice rink and courthouse, leaving the public with a few bits of inaccurate information and so easily dismissing them as bad examples.

I guess there was not enough space to bore the public with state requirements for the courthouse upgrades or to detail recent improvements at the rink under the Hagerstown Hockey Association.

If Headlee was truly writing out of care for how the taxpayer dollar was spent and how "terrific" the community is, maybe, just maybe. the average citizen would have enjoyed more details about any one of the countless public improvements that have occurred in his 22-year experience that make this place great.

Like the public private partnerships that have vastly expanded our infrastructure, or dedication of funds and land for the creation of worthy community causes, or even the fiscal leadership that positioned our local governments properly for rough economic times.

For every one thing that might have failed to work out exactly as it was planned, there were dozens of initiatives that successfully exceeded our expectations.

I look forward to new leadership at the paper measurably conveying the important difference in how the public receives both.

Kristin Aleshire is a Washington County Commissioner who lives in Hagerstown.

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