Continue improvement effortsPublished 8:02pm Tuesday, January 1, 2013
With a new year under way, perhaps Beaufort County residents will see some welcome changes as 2013 plays out.
Perhaps there will be more and improved cooperation between Beaufort County government and the seven municipal governments — Aurora, Bath, Belhaven, Chocowinity, Pantego, Washington and Washington Park — in the coming months. County Manager Randall Woodruff, relatively new to the job, has shown he’s willing to work with his municipal counterparts in the county. Improved cooperation between the county and its municipalities cannot help but result in better government at the county and municipality levels.
In the past, cooperation between the county and its municipalities has not been all it could have been.
Several years ago, Belhaven and the county were at odds over providing sewer service to the Belhaven area. For years, Washington and the county have been at odds over what the city calls lack of funding from the county to help operate Brown Library and recreations programs that many county residents who live outside the city use and enjoy.
City taxpayers and officials have long bemoaned the fact that the majority of people using the library, participating in city recreation programs and using city parks and sports facilities are county residents who live outside the city but don’t pay for those parks and facilities. County residents who live outside the city contend they do help pay for those facilities by shopping in the city, thereby generating sales-tax revenue for the city.
Differences and disputes between counties and their municipalities are nothing new, and they will not go away. But as long as those counties and municipalities steadily work to resolve those differences and disputes, expect progress and improve relations to be made.
When possible, counties and municipalities should work to eliminate duplication of services and purchase materials together to save money — taxpayers’ money.
Last year, there was evidence that the relationship between the county and its municipalities were beginning to improve. This new year provides an opportunity for that improvement will continue.
The county leadership and the leadership in the county’s municipalities must work together to make sure cooperation among them continues to get better.