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      Worth County residents a no-show during public hearing

      The room seats 31 but not a single chair was filled during either of the two public hearings offered Thursday by the Worth County Board of Commissioners on the proposed budget.

      "Even though the decision has been made not to increase the tax millage rate, we were still hoping to get some input from various constituents about the budget," said District 1 Commissioner Joe Gaines.

      The road to the final proposal hasn't been easy after the board was split on whether or not to raise taxes to make up for the $1.7 million dollar deficit, but in the end the increase was voted out.

      "We can do some things that we can go through this next year without a tax increase and make things happen as well as we ever have in this county," said District 4 Commissioner Billy McDonald.

      In order to balance the budget, members had to make some important cuts to departments like Public Works, who will be awarded more than $350,000 less than they asked for to repair the many damaged roads from this year's stormy weather.

      "It's a lot of people still calling about certain issues but we'll try to do that, try to help the constituents as much as we can but they have to realize without this type of increase, it's going to be limited," said Gaines.

      The board was hoping to explain those struggles to the public on Thursday, but are still holding out hope that next week's final hearing will be different and they TMll get a chance to then. Members encourage residents to come and provide input and say it's their right as an American to take a stand and voice their opinion to those who are handling the taxpayer's money.

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