Response to Fred Swift’s column against county council

Here’s a recent letter to the editor I submitted to the Hamilton County Reporter. This letter appeared in their December 7, 2016, edition:

As a 20 year incumbent County Council member who was re-elected to another 4 year term, it appears to me there is a distinct bias against the County Council’s perspective in the repeated columns authored by Fred Swift.

Today’s version started off by stating “.. assuming County Commissioners and the County Council can reach agreement, no small task for our local government.”

This is absolutely slanted against the County Council in that he insinuates that it is the unreasonable obstacle to the plans of the County Commissioners; when instead we are asking basic questions and performing our fiduciary role involving taxpayers’ monies.

The County Council has only voted down ONE major project in 20 years. That should be viewed as a fantastic success rate and one which should be celebrated, rather than criticized. In fact, Hamilton County government, as a whole, not solely the Commissioners, have received repeated accolades and awards from outside groups for cooperative efforts.

In addition, Mr. Swift is astute in his observation that construction and engineering firms are eager for these projects to be approved: they have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars in campaign contributions to the County Commissioners who will make the decisions as to whom receives the County’s contracts.

But he is rather presumptuous with his outlook on tax rates and whether or not projects will be funded with bonds, cash reserves or a mixture of the two. Those decisions belong to the County Council and I am doubtful he has spoken with a majority to determine their point of view.

Finally, it is a fact that, without the cooperation of the County Council in granting the appropriations requested, the Commissioners could not award one single contract… not one.

Rick McKinney

Hamilton County Council, At-Large member