Their voices were heard, heeded

Published 7:33 pm Thursday, March 15, 2012

In this day and age when many people believe that government — local, state and federal — doesn’t listen to their concerns, the Washington City Council, at least on one matter, proved it did hear their concerns.

During its meeting Monday, the council gave the OK to restart the demolition of the Charlotte Street bridge. At a public hearing on Feb. 27, about one dozen people urged the city to demolish the bridge or replace its existing metal pipes with four 8-foot-by-8-foot box culverts to improve draining in the Jack’s Creek basin after major storms and hurricanes.

The mayor and council members not only heard those speakers’ concerns, they responded. That’s how it should be — responding to the public’s concerns. But keep in mind, the responses to those concerns may or may not be what the public sought.

“Mr. Chairman, I think the people spoke at the last meeting. We heard their concerns,” Councilman Ed Moultrie said to Mayor Archie Jennings just before he made the motion to proceed with demolishing the bridge.

“I just want to say as part of the discussion I think Councilman Moultrie is exactly right. We heard the public. … Again, I think it was a wise thing for the council to do to stop and get word from the public on how they felt about this issue,” Jennings said.

Whether or not one agrees with the decision made by the council, the council did the right thing in listening to people’s concerns about the matter. The decision should give homeowners and others who live by or near Jack’s Creek some measure of comfort the next time a major storm or a hurricane brings heavy rainfall to the city.