Decisions about the decision makers

Published 6:04 pm Friday, October 13, 2017

Less than a month from now is Election Day. There’s no presidential or congressional race. There’s been no wearying 18 months of campaigning that leaves voters more than ready to put a stop to the incessant phone calls and mailed campaign propaganda.

This is a much smaller election. Those who turn up to the polls on Nov. 7 will be voting for the people charged with running their towns’ local governments.

Many choose to sit out such elections. Voter turnout is historically abysmal. It shouldn’t be, however. These are the people who ultimately make decisions on issues that can have an immense impact on city residents.

For example, this year, the decision was made not to move forward with a proposal by the North Carolina Department of Transportation to widen of 15th Street in Washington. This was good news for property owners who would have lost land in the deal; not so good news for those nearby whose homes flood on a regular basis — the NCDOT plan included updating aging drainage infrastructure that is the root cause of the flooding.

Those elected to office are the people who have final say on whether structures are demolished due to neglect and if city taxes are raised. They are the ones who decide, every year during the budgeting process, where those tax dollars will go: who benefits and by how much. They have to do the work, and they are doing it on behalf of all residents.

The Oct. 19 issue of the Washington Daily News will include an Election Guide, a look at all the candidates in all Beaufort County municipals’ races this year. Take some time to read it. It’s important to know who you’re voting for.