Posted Online: Jan. 22, 2013, 6:00 am

View from QCA: Board needs time to deal with issues

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By Steve Meersman

Recently the The Dispatch has taken the Rock Island County Board to task on numerous issues, demanding swift and concise answers to difficult questions.

This county board has every intention of addressing each and every one of these issues in a manner that prioritizes each issue in its importance to best serve the citizens of Rock Island County.

While the question of reducing the size of the board is important and will be addressed in a timely manner, the county is also facing financial matters that in my mind demand immediate attention.

We are facing the real possibility of no increase in our tax base in the next few years, all the while facing increasing costs and demands for service. The board has matters of Niabi Zoo, Hope Creek Care Center and aging buildings to deal with.

Asking, and in some cases demanding, action be taken immediately on the board size at this time by some board members when we have a whole table of issues to tackle is not the answer to the problem.

We need to take the time to make sure that each and everyone of the residents is represented in a fair and equitable way, and that can't be done in the first two months of any new administration. Regardless of what some board members may think.

There are those who think something is "fishy" about this courthouse issue. Let me assure everyone that is not the case. The referendum vote on the spring ballot only authorizes the Public Building Commission to sell the bonds to finance the building of a new facility, the cost, design and location will be decided by the elected county board members.

Let's not put the cart before the horse anymore; without public approval of the referendum letting the building commission engage in the sale of bonds, the county board can't even proceed with any design, location, or even engineering studies on our existing buildings.

The board faced possible legal action against it if a vote was not put to the public on this courthouse question and, following the advice of our states attorney, we agreed to put the matter before the public for a vote. Any idea of not putting this before the voters to decide has never even been discussed.

A decision that will affect the taxpayers of the county for many years in the future demands and deserves as much input as necessary to make an intelligent determination of needs and costs. The leadership of the board is taking an intelligent and logical approach to each and every issue.

Please give them and the entire board the time deal with them without the demand to provide an answer yesterday.
Steve Meersman is a Democrat represemtomg Rock Island County Board District 7.