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Citizens may not realize it, but they can act now and have an impact on Carroll County’s future.
This impact will reach 20 years into the future, as that’s the duration of the period covered by the new comprehensive plan.
People have trickled out in dribs and drabs to related countywide and community meetings held around Carroll that started last winter. Eight, 10, 30 folks at a time showed up to speak on a variety of planning issues.
The best meeting in many ways was one in which citizens said what they wanted to happen in Fancy Gap. Participants at that meeting had opposing views in some cases, but they talked about them openly, shared opinions and came to an understanding at the end.
Fancy Gap citizens invested themselves in the process, because they are invested in the community.
They care what happens there, and they wanted to do what they could to steer the community the way they believe it should go.
The rest of the communities in Carroll should be more like Fancy Gap.
With the next 20 years at stake, this is no time to be passive-aggressive.
Officials are practically begging folks to attend meetings and share thoughts about the positive things happening in the county, and their concerns.
Ronald Newman, who works on planning and development in the county, said that 347 people answered questions on a survey — that’s maybe more than 1 percent of Carroll’s total population. Those aren’t overwhelming numbers, but they are certainly better than none.
People are funny — at times, they complain about the fact that only six people on the county board of supervisors make decisions about ordinances in the locality.
(Never mind that they are duly elected representatives of the public.)
Folks are willing to show up at county meetings and accuse elected officials of ignoring the will of a majority of the people.
But given the chance to participate directly and make decisions for themselves, lots of folks just seem to get real shy and stay away.
Here’s the opportunity to exercise the democratic will of the people.
Citizens who pass it up, do so at the peril of not having their voice counted, of not having their concerns heard.
There will be no one to blame but themselves.